All posts filed under: Book review

The Eyes of the Skin: Pallasmaa

this piece of literature attempts to highlight the importance of sensory experience in architecture

Office US Atlas

OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, was conceived as a working architecture office that explored the ways in which U.S. architectural practice has influenced the discipline around the world over the past 100 years. OfficeUS Atlas is a new book that compiles and interprets the research assembled in the exhibition’s OfficeUS Repository, an archive of nearly 1,000 projects produced by U.S. offices abroad between 1914-2014. The publication is the second in the four-volume OfficeUS book series, following Office US Agenda,  published last year. A massive, 1,232-page compendium, Atlas is structured around a highly organized mix of firm profiles, project data, press records, and infographics that detail the transformations of the U.S. architectural office and its international impact over the past century. At the U.S. Pavilion, the Repository was presented as a system of 1,000 binders that lined the walls of the installation. Rather than preserve this material as an unchanging collection of data, the editors wanted Atlas to bring it to life and expand on the goals of the exhibition—to present an untold …

Modernism Rediscovered: Julius Shulman

TASCHEN’s Modernism Rediscovered brought to light for the first time some 300 forgotten architectural masterpieces, drawn from photographer Julius Shulman’s personal archives. Paying tribute to houses and buildings that had slipped from public view, Shulman’s stunning photographs uncovered a rarely seen side of California Modernism. This extensive volume brings hundreds more architectural gems into the spotlight. The photographs, most of which are published here for the first time in a book, depict buildings by Albert Frey, Louis Kahn, John Lautner, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, and more, as well as the work of many lesser known architects. Not just restricted to the West Coast this time, the images were taken all across the United States as well as in Mexico, Israel, and Hong Kong. Widely considered the greatest architectural photographer of our time, Julius Shulman has once again opened his archives so that we may rediscover the world’s hidden Modernist treasures. The buildings burned in our memories, which to us represent the spirit of the fifties and sixties architectural design, were …

Carlo Scarpa

In Robert McCarter’s Carlo Scarpa monograph, Austrian architect Peter Noever tells an astonishing tale. In 1974, he and Scarpa toured the Adolf Loos made American Bar in Vienna. The moment they entered Scarpa started evaluating the space. He ordered champagne for the ladies…… who were present and a measuring tape for himself. Scarpa then continued to measure everything down to the exact millimeter. When completed he announced the space to be of “singular spiritual and emotional quality.” This is precisely how I envision McCarter analyze the work of the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa—measuring tape in hand.  In this substantial volume, McCarter leads us by the hand through Scarpa’s achievements. He gives us a survey that is both vast, and in the spirit of Scarpa, meticulously detailed. Carlo Scarpa is a mystery. He has never achieved the iconic status in this country reserved for Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, or Louis Kahn, yet Scarpa was revered by all of them. McCarter’s comprehensive tome has the capacity to change this. With over 350 drawings, photos and plans …

Archi-Graphic

Are you a trivia whiz who knows his Alto from his Ando? Which bespectacled architect set the trend, nay stereotype, for round eyewear across the profession? Whose eyebrows are on fleek? The Distinguishing Features Game, is one of more than 60 infographics featured in Archi-Graphic, a book from publisher Laurence King. Author Frank Jacobus, an associate professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, dreamed it up as part of his goal to bring data visualization to his field—along with a much-needed dose of levity. “I love the humor in the book and that’s part of what we’re after,” Jacobus says. “There’s a tendency to take things too seriously in architecture. We’re trying to make things a bit lighter. Part of my interest is in data visualization and I thought, what a great way to bring architecture to a bigger audience.” Jacobus sketched out all of the infographics and worked with a group of about 20 architecture students to research and digitize them. The whole process took about a year and …

Beyond Bawa

All too often, the architecture books you see on other people’s coffee tables allow you to wallow self-indulgently in the pure sensuousness of the pictures, and the thinly worded script might as well not exist. Don’t get me wrong. I like to immerse just as much as the next man, but this is something Robson does not allow you to do. This is not to say the pictures in the book are bad. On the contrary they are extremely beautiful – and beautifully laid out – but they are very much a supporting act to Robson’s detailed analysis of where modern Sri Lankan architecture came from, and where it seems to be going. As you would expect, Geoffrey Bawa is presented in a big way. But Robson does something far more complicated here than just list Bawa’s achievements: he traces the bloodlines of Bawa’s architectural descendants all over Monsoon Asia, defined by him as stretching from India’s Malabar coast in the west to Irian Jaya in the east, right across the Indian Ocean. Descendants there …