Reinstating the Relevance of Academic Journals: trans magazin

Courtesy of trans magazine

trans magazin, a semi-annual published by the Department of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETHZ, seeks to address “issues in architecture and urban development from a variety of perspectives.” Managed by an independent student editorial team since 1997, the publication studies and discusses humanities, politics, philosophy and the arts. It is “a platform for interdisciplinary discourse” packaged in a beautifully printed, weighty periodical.

The Draftery: Dispelling the Belief That Architectural Drawing is Dead

Fig. 03. Image Courtesy of

The Draftery, a printed platform to “discuss the role of architectural today”, brings together a fascinating collection of images and words in a publication on three distinct platforms. Figures, Captions and Archive facilitate a multi-disciplinary conversation about how drawings are made and their role in the built environment. Now approaching their third anniversary, how far have they come and where is the project headed?

January 2013 saw the re-launch of The Draftery and the total reconstruction of the project. Their crisp publications now have a strong editorial thread which compliments the carefully curated collections of architectural drawings. Seeking to “demonstrate that drawing, more than mere representation, is a method of acting in the world”, good drawings provide a moment of visual solice in a fast paced profession. 

BI’s First Print Edition Released – FREE: Architecture on the Loose

Courtesy of

BI is a publication focused on the exchanges between architecture and its wider cultural context; it consists of short extemporaneous texts with longer studied pieces from a multitude of perspectives. The following is an excerpt from its latest (and first print) edition, FREE, written by the editors-in-chief E. Sean Bailey and Erandi de Silva.

There is implicit conflict in the word ‘free’. While culturally we celebrate the infinite opportunities afforded by the ‘freedom to’, the term also alludes to emancipation, a break from a captive state, or a ‘freedom from’. ‘Free’ is, at its core, an architectural concept. Architecture is a discipline directly engaged with shaping enclosure, of erecting and toppling barriers or—more explicitly—of extending and limiting ‘freedoms’.

The Architecture of Pompidou Metz: An Excerpt from “The Architecture of Art Museums – A Decade of Design: 2000 – 2010″

© Didier Boy De La Tour

In honor of International Museum Day, we’re taking a look back at the 21st century’s most exciting museums. The following is an excerpt from the recently released book, The Architecture of Art Museums – A Decade of Design: 2000 – 2010 (Routledge) by Ronnie Self, a Houston-based architect. Each chapter of the book provides technical, comprehensive coverage of a particular influential art museum. In total, eighteen of the most important art museums of the early twenty-first century - including works from Tadao Ando, Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA, Steven Holl, and many other high-profile architects - are explored. The following is a condensed version of the chapter detailing Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines’ 2010 classic, Centre Pompidou-Metz.

The Pompidou Center – was a first experiment in French cultural decentralization. In the late 1990’s, with the prospect of closing Piano and Roger’s building in Paris for renovations, the question arose of how to maintain some of the 60,000 works in the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art available for public viewing. A concept of “hors les murs” or “beyond the walls” was developed to exhibit works in other French cities. The temporary closing of the Pompidou Center – Paris spurred reflections on ways to present the national collection to a wider audience in general. Eventually a second Pompidou Center in another French city was imagined.

Big Ideas, Small Buildings: Some of Architecture’s Best, Tiny Projects

Suzuko Yamada, Pillar House, Tokyo, Japan. Image © Iwan Baan/TASCHEN

This post was originally published in The Architectural Review as “Size Doesn’t Matter: Big Ideas for Small Buildings.

Taschen’s latest volume draws together the architectural underdogs that, despite their minute, whimsical forms, are setting bold new trends for design.

When economies falter and construction halts, what happens to architecture? Rather than indulgent, personal projects, the need for small and perfectly formed spaces is becoming an economic necessity, pushing designers to go further with less. In their new volume Small: Architecture Now!, Taschen have drawn together the teahouses, cabins, saunas and dollhouses that set the trends for the small, sensitive and sustainable, with designers ranging from Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban to emerging young practices.

“Every Building is a Social Critique” – Polshek Describes His Oeuvre in Latest Book

Polshek’s memorable for the Rose Center for Earth and Space (2000) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Image Courtesy of Timothy Hursley

While architects don’t always see the connection between politics, social constructs, and architecture, considers the three indivisible. In an interview on Metropolis Magazine about his newly released book Build, Memory, he describes how this belief launched his career 65 years ago. To learn more about Polshek’s approach to architecture and the publication, click here.

The Society of Architectural Historians Selects 6 for Publication Awards

Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light/ Corinne Bélier, Barry Bergdoll, and Marc Le Coeur, eds.

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has chosen to honor six of the “most distinguished publications” released in the last two years with their prestigious Publication Awards. The annual prize awards publications in architectural history, urban history, landscape history, preservation, and architectural exhibition catalogs, as well as the best article published in the Journal of the by an emerging scholar. View all the winners, after the break…

Open Letters / Harvard Graduate School of Design

Courtesy of Open Letters

Launched in September 2013 by students at the Harvard Graduate School of , Open Letters is a print experiment that tests the epistolary form as a device for generating conversations about architecture and design. The project stems from an earnest curiosity about what people have to say to each other about architecture, landscapes, cities, ideas, history, practice, experience and learning. 

New issues are released every other Friday, each presenting one open letter, i.e. a letter addressed to a particular party, but intended for publication, about any topic relating to the design disciplines. Past correspondents have written to mentors, chairs, trees, mystical creatures, those in need of advice and to NCARB. All issues can be read online.

PLAT 4.0 Call for Submissions

PLAT Journal invites content for its forthcoming issueMassAt once a spatial and social practice, architecture produces mass: an accumulation that, given momentum, projects a social attitude. Mass is assertive—whether through a tactful manipulation of scale, an astute engagement of its context, or a specific formal legibility, it speaks plainly but with conviction.

Taking as its site the point of exchange between a form and its constituency, this issue of PLAT Journal will investigate how notions of mass come to the fore of contemporary architectural practice.

Mass is pop with agency. Fast and loose, high and low, how does a form take on mass culture through its presence in an urban fabric? What is its agenda?

Mass has the capacity to define a collective. How do architectural projects articulate a plurality in a way that’s relevant to today?

Mass gains coherence through the magnetism of its parts: local attractions have global repercussions. What’s next? How does its impact extend beyond its envelope?

PLAT 4.0 welcomes projects, abstracts, , visual media, narratives, manifestos, and conversations that engage the notion of mass in the discourse and production of architecture today. Please submit an abstract and (if applicable) images by January 1, 2014 to curator@PLATJournal.com. Click here for more information.

Submissions should be in American English and formatted in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style, with all sources clearly documented. Images should be a JPEG, 2 MB or smaller. Authors should have high-resolution, publication-quality images available if selected. All authors must have rights or permissions for all images submitted before final publication. Any questions should be sent to editor@platjournal.com.

PLAT is an independent architectural journal published by students at the Rice School of Architecture. Its purpose is to shift architectural discourse by stimulating new relationships between design, production, and theory. It operates by interweaving student, faculty, and professional work into an open and evolving dialogue that progresses from issue to issue. Curating worldwide submissions in two annual issues, PLAT serves as a projective catalyst for architectural discourse.

The Library: A World History

© Will Pryce

Written by James WP Campbell and featuring stunning photography by Will Pryce, “The Library: A World History” (published by Thames & Hudson 2013) explores the evolution of libraries in different cultures and throughout the ages. It investigates how technical innovations as well as changing cultural attitudes have shaped the designs of libraries from the tablet storehouses of ancient Mesopotamia to today’s multi-functional media centres.

Read on for some insights from the book and more of its beautiful photography

MAS CONTEXT #18: IMPROBABLE

#18: IMPROBABLE; Cover Design by Stephane Massa-Bidal

It is safe to say that architects and planners have always been among those striving for utopian ideals through physical space.  Just look at the 20th century, when designers converged around the idea of creating new cities for lives that embraced new technologies.  We had the Futurists who were obsessed with automobiles, speed and factory cities.  We had CIAM and Team 10 who collectively and individually developed the modernist ideals for housing and urban planning.  We had Archigram that developed conceptual creations for cities that walked, were inflatable, and could be packed and unpacked in locations all over the world.  We had Superstudio, an architecture firm that developed renowned conceptual works of the “total urbanization” of architecture.

As impractical and experimental as some of these proposals were, they initiated a conversation, not only about the physical space that they presented, but the social implications of their designs.  The latest issue of MAS CONTEXT, Improbable, tackles these “unlikely futures envisioned in the past that never became present” and explores how, to various degrees, these impossible and improbable agendas projects came to fruition.   Join as after the break for a closer look at the new issue.

BUILDING: Louis I. Kahn at Roosevelt Island / Barney Kulok

In September 2011 Barney Kulok  was granted special permission to create photographs at the construction site of Louis I. Kahnʼs Four Freedoms Park in New York City, commissioned in 1970 as a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The last Kahn completed before his untimely death in 1974, Four Freedoms Park became widely regarded as one of the great unbuilt masterpieces of twentieth-century architecture. Almost forty years after having been commissioned, it is finally being completed this year, as originally intended. 

LE CORBUSIER REDRAWN: The Houses / Steven Park

(1887-1965) was the most significant architect of the twentieth century. Every architecture student examines the Swiss master’s work. Yet, all too frequently, they rely on reproductions of faded drawings of uneven size and quality. Redrawn presents the only collection of consistently rendered original drawings (at 1:200 scale) of all twenty-six of ’s residential works. Using the original drawings from the Foundation’s digital archives, architect Steven Park has beautifully redrawn 130 perspectival sections, as well as plans, sections, and elevations of exterior forms and interior spaces.

Adaptation: Architecture, Technology, and The City / INABA

Adaptation Publication via

Adaptation: Architecture, Technology and the City is a publication that is a result of the collaboration between INABA and Free that brings interviews and art works into a conversation about the advancement of digital and its place in the built environment. The publication is a fascinating study into the dialogue between technological advancements in transportation and communications and the tangible environment with which is inextricably linked.

Encounters 2 – Architectural Essays / Juhani Pallasmaa

Architecture is fundamentally existential in its very essence, and it arises from existential experience and wisdom rather than intellectualized and formalized theories. We can only prepare ourselves for our work in architecture by developing a distinct sensitivity and awareness for architectural phenomena.” With these declarative words, Finnish architect, educator and critic resounds the call of his 2005 volume, Encounters: Architectural , in this second volume of , Encounters 2.

Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park Detroit

Lafayette Park, an affordable middle-class residential area in downtown Detroit, is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig in the world. Today, it is one of Detroit’s most racially integrated and economically stable neighborhoods, although it is surrounded by evidence of a city in financial distress. Through interviews with and by residents; reproductions of archival material; and new photographs by Karin Jobst, Vasco Roma, and Corine Vermeulen, and previously unpublished photographs by documentary filmmaker Janine Debanné, Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies examines the way that Lafayette Park residents confront and interact with this unique modernist environment.

Eduardo Souto de Moura Sketchbook No.76

Sketchbook No. 76 is the reproduction of a sketchbook of the renowned Portuguese architect and last year’s Pritzker Prize laureate, Eduardo Souto de Moura. The sketchbook was in use between September 2011 and January 2012 and records first ideas, fleeting sketches, studies, and spontaneous jottings that offer a starting point for every project but also function as a working resource. One can quite litterally experience the architectural process and how developing existing ideas are further developed in different variants. Sketchbook No. 76 is a homage to the medium of and manifests that this working method remains an essential element of the creative process.

Bijoy JAIN-Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award 2012

Rakennustieto is publishing now for the seventh time a monograph on the work of the architect awarded the international Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award. The 2012 winner is Indian architect Bijoy Jain, who together with his office Studio Mumbai Architects combine excellently traditional craftwork and architecture using meagre resources.