Which publication is it?

Why is the publication relevant for Architecture?

Why is this publiction relevant for you, personally?

Volume

Contributor

Title

N°4

The Site Magazine

The London Review of Books, Volume 40 Number 11, The Tower by Andrew O’Hagan

title

The London Review of Books, Volume 40 Number 11, The Tower by Andrew O’Hagan

editors

Mary-Kay Wilmers

publisher

London Review of Books, Nicholas Spice

year

2018

pages

40

0260-9592

This Tower highlights the opportunity we as architects in publishing have to rethink how the review serves our discipline. As it turns out architecture is a tricky thing to review: if the public wants to read about contemporary architecture they are generally forced to do it in one of two ways: through objectification (think of Dezeen’s sensational and inhumane approach of showcasing projects) or consumption (think of Architectural Digest’s lifestyle-driven offering of design to the mega rich). 

In almost every other creative discipline the review has stayed relevant because of its ability to reinforce zeitgeist, connecting contemporary culture with intellectual ideology. In many cases, this means aligning what the kids on the street are doing with what an educated elite are concerned with. However, this “elevation” of culture is exactly where the review fails architecture. Contemporary architecture is already offered to an urban elite, and what we need to do is bring it back to the streets, focusing on representation.

“The Tower” shows us how valuable a shift in publishing in architecture could be. This review would have been just as valuable and just as scandalous had it been published before the fire occurred. I am hopeful that reviews of this nature — ones that highlight lived experiences and individual stories — if written more regularly, could support an awareness that begins to reduce the inequality, oppression, and tragedy, that can be exacerbated by the built environment. 

The Tower has been a precedent for thinking about news ways to offer an architectural review to our readers. In 2015, we renamed our publication; it went from On Site review to The Site Magazine in an effort to redress the role of architecture in cultural discussion, de-emphasizing the expert opinion put forth in the conventional review and elevating new voices with alternative perspectives on the built environment. We believe that the public can be better served by publishing in architecture when it highlights story telling: narratives that put people first, but cast architecture in vital supporting roles, allow the built environment to be appropriated by characters from all parts of the city and the all walks of life. 

N°4

TRANS Magazine

Hochparterre.Wettbewerbe Series

title

Hochparterre.Wettbewerbe Series

editors

Marcel Bächtiger & Ivo Bösch

publisher

Hochparterre AG

year

pages

Having architecture competitions is a democratic gift. It is important that one acknowledges this circumstance and Hochparterre.Wettbewerbe does this by publishing a broad range of unbuilt competition entries. Projects that did not get built, but about which one can think, discuss and learn. Maybe some see it as a magazine filled with projects that did not make the cut. But in our eyes it is an important mirror to the contemporary production. Something worth presenting.

Why does one publish architecture that is already built in any other media? Isn’t it already present enough? The question how media in general can contribute to architectural practice and to its reflection is of importance. Buildings are solid, our thoughts are not. Therefore architecture should stand more on its own and the idea, the thought, the process on the journey should be more present in print.

N°4

Planphase

Pamphlet Architecture #1-20

title

Pamphlet Architecture #1-20

editors

various

publisher

Steven Holl & William Stout 1978-1985, Princeton Architectural Press since 1985

year

1978 - ongoing

pages

varies

9781568981260 (PA 1-10) / 9781616890162 (PA 11-20) collected issues reprint

“All magazines are slaves to a way of thinking and as a result they despise thought. They all have the serious defect of being edited by several people.“ This Eno Dailor quote starts a short introduction by Steven Holl for the reprint-collection of Pamphlet Architecture 1-10, published in 1998. Rooted in fan-zine-, skater- and punk-counterculture, Pamphlet Architecture did the exact opposite of most American, architecture-related publications around the end of the 1970s: In contrast to let’s say Progressive Architecture with its affinity towards postmodernism, Pamphlet Architecture had a clear position in favor of modernism. Elite Oppositions, published by the IAUS was hard to get in and considered to be “locked up” by the editorial board. PA did not want to be an “editorial board thing” at all and so, in 1978, young architects Steven Holl and Mark Mack as well as architectural book store owner William Stout decided to produce a periodical based on only one rule: stay with the 7x8.5 inches format. Each issue was (and still is) edited by only one author, given full graphical and textual responsibility. As a result of this very clear concept, a number of highly conceptual and radical publications, often by then emerging architects, was developed over the years. Pamphlet Architecture has been the starting point for a number of research projects, later to be reused to develop built projects, or to introduce young architects to a bigger audience. Steven Holl’s catalogues of rural and urban house types (PA 9, 1983) was the basis for his own early, small, vernacular project designs. Pamphlet Architecture 8 - Planetary Architecture, was the first time Zaha Hadid’s designs, produced between 1977 and 81, where ever published in one complete collection, and PA 5: Alphabetical City, from 1980, a catalogue of buildings with floor plans resembling letters of the alphabet, might be a direct predecessor of the numerous publications dedicated to analyzing building typologies, like Christ & Gantenbein’s Typology series. Pamphlet Architecture can be considered to be the simplest possible kind of magazine, with, at the same time, some of the most influential issues in the context of architectural publications.

I guess what we at Planphase admire most about Pamphlet Architecture is its clear concept and simple production. Planphase has always been work-in-progress. We started very very basic and before No 5, every issue has been completely different to the previous ones. We tried out a number of concepts also in organizing and editing the magazine, but what continued throughout every issue, was the freedom we have given to the contributors. In a sort of Pamphlet-light spirit, we solely agreed on very few given elements like titles, the representation of both, emerging and established architectural practices and an open call for contributions. Ideally we could select from a number of contributors, according to their proposal, and give them complete freedom to choose format (e.g. essay, interview, photographic series etc.) and content. For me personally, Pamphlet Architecture was very interesting due to its background in the zine culture. The zine concept gives me the opportunity to simply “publish” without too much thought and organization. This quick and easy way of production often functions as a starting point for more complex works, in a way like Holl experienced it after working on PA 9 Rural and Urban House Types in 1982. Eventually, it is also this issue that interests me the most because Holl’s fundamental categorization of American house types - a cataloging more into folk-titles rather than historical terms - has been of great help and usage for another project I co-author, which focusses on architecture of the so-called American Century.

N°4

Delphi

Junkspace*, in The Harvard Guide to Shopping by Rem Koolhaas

title

Junkspace*, in The Harvard Guide to Shopping by Rem Koolhaas

editors

Chuihua Judy Chung

publisher

Taschen, Köln

year

2001

pages

408-422

978-3822860472

Junkspace is the debris of modernization and the end of Enlightenment. As a product of the encounter of escalator and air-conditioning (and possibly every invention that enables expansion) Junkspace is the territory of low expectations - seamlessness and infinite: A low-grade purgatory. With this essay Koolhaas for the first time formulates concerns whereas in earlier texts he remained positive, an opportunistic admirer of everything modern so to say. Junkspace however is a vitriolic critic of contemporary developments which confronts us with the question of whether we really have nothing better to do in our cities than to indulge in shopping. Junkspace is not only a text about architecture nor one about the city but in its core about our lives we live in the cities and its suburbs. It is a sociological record of our market-oriented conditioning, a study on the human condition at the beginning of the 21st Century – an unconditional analysis of today.

We will no longer look for a meaning in a book; we will ask – what does it function with, in connection with what does it or doesn’t it transmit intensities, into which other multiplicities are its own introduced and metamorphosed, with which other bodies without organs is its own made to converge? A book only exists by virtue of what is outside it. (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, “Rhizome”, in I&C, no 8, 1981, p.50)

This very understanding of a book was present when we founded Delphi and decided on the linking logic of its periodicity. The actual relevance of Junkspace (and presumably every) text lies in its context and not in its peculiar content. A text is always receiver and transmitter at the same time. Accordingly we investigate on this short essay by means of what is outside of it, bushwhacking through ramifications this text is wrapped up in: A network of sources, influences and reactions which are history and prediction at the same time. It is in all these connections where its relevance lies.

N°3

Albert Ferré

CIRCO

title

CIRCO

editors

publisher

CIRCO MRT coop, founded in 1993 by Luis Moreno Mansilla, Luis Rojo, and Emilio Tuñón

year

1993 to 2014

pages

One essay printed in black-and-white on two-to-four A4 sheets, folded in half and stapled

CIRCO is conceived as a space of reflection, conversation, and play around architecture as an intellectual field, and about how it relates to our time. It invites engaged minds to contribute, enacting a sort of exchange of letters among subscribers/authors. Each contribution to CIRCO is selected for its contemporary relevance. It can be original or a reprint, it can be recently created or recovered from an archive.

The CCA—and its publishing program as one of the tools it deploys—deals with urgent issues in contemporary society through the lens of architecture. As CIRCO, it seeks to establish conversations with other people who are working on and thinking about similar things. We are interested in the CIRCO publication and conversation model—nimble and modest, informal and witty.

N°3

Erica Overmeer

Hotel Palenque, Insert in Parkett, no. 43, pp. 117–133

title

Hotel Palenque, Insert in Parkett, no. 43, pp. 117–133

editors

publisher

Parkett

year

1995

pages

16

3907509935 / 3-907509-93-5

Based on a transcription of Robert Smithson's commentary and the reproduction of the slides from a lecture he gave at the University of Utah in 1972, this presentation was published for the first time in its entirety as a so-called ‘Insert’ for the Swiss art magazine Parkett in 1995.

The pictures for this presentation were taken in 1969 while Smithson was traveling in the Mexican peninsula of Yucatan. In an area dense with remnants of ancient Mayan culture and architecture, Smithson instead choose to focus on a different kind of spatial narrative. While staying in a dilapidated hotel by the name of ‘Hotel Palenque’ he turns his attention instead to his immediate surroundings. After its initial publication in Parkett ‘Hotel Palenque’ has since known several incarnations. Most notably is its recent release as a simple paperback by the Mexican publisher Alias – an independent editorial project by the Mexican artist Damien Ortega, in 2011. ‘Hotel Palenque’ is published here for the first time as an independent publication without further contextualization. Alias is also the first publisher to give the text and the images the same importance and let the images speak for themselves giving each image a single page, thirty-one in total. The publication also comes with a separately printed enlarged copy of a hand-drawn map of the site, taken from Smithson's notebook – that folds into the book. Initially presented as a talk for the architecture students of the University of Utah, it was a subversion of what was considered or understood as a talk about architecture. Smithson offered a complete shift of perspective and deviation of the narrative of what constitutes contemporary space. Smithson documented and provided nothing short of a different view of the world.

At the time I first encountered the publication of ‘Hotel Palenque’ it was a revelation. ‘Hotel Palenque’ touched at and oscillated between everything I knew, everything I was interested in, and everything I was looking at – and at the same time never had seen before. Yet I had no real clue what ‘Hotel Palenque’ was about. At the time I didn’t yet understand the format of the so-called ’Insert'. Also the images were minuscule and completely embedded in the text. And there was no emphasis on the quality of the images either. Yet the images were the only thing I saw. I completely got it. It was mesmerizing. It was beautiful! I felt that I could see what he was seeing but still did not really understand what he was looking at exactly. The space itself remained intangible, ephemeral and elusive. Everything oscillated between what I thought I was seeing, and that what actually was there to be seen in the images themselves. The space he related to eventually materialized from a place somewhere between the images as such and my subjective perception of those images. Yet it is exactly this interplay of perception, presentation, and representation, and the irritation of not understanding what this was about, that is to me still today, part of the undiminished and enduring appeal of ‘Hotel Palenque’ as an observation – and ultimately as a publication.

N°3

Carlo Menon and Sophie Dars from ACCATTONE

Terrazzo #1–10

title

Terrazzo #1–10

editors

Barbara Radice

publisher

Rizzoli

year

1988–1995

pages

~120 pp

0-8478-5520-1 (issue 1, Fall 1988)

Yes, why? Terrazzo does not belong to the stream of magazines and journals that have shaped architecture in the 20th century. Few architects or historians, we believe, would acknowledge its influence on architectural thinking and practice. Despite its large format and its sophisticated use of different kinds of paper to present high-quality documents, despite the line-up of renowned contributors from Europe, the US and Japan, the magazine remains in a niche. It is retroguard, because it doesn’t aim to demonstrate, or take a stance within architecture discourse of the early 1990s. Unlike Daidalos or ANY, it doesn’t carry a theoretical agenda. Like a balcony, it is detached from the crowd, yet it invites to observe, speculate and appreciate the world around.

The title insists on this position, as it plays with the ambiguity between the Italian (terrazzo means balcony) and the English meaning (the building material made of chips of precious and less precious stones, captured in concrete and polished). This second meaning is also a fitting analogy for the content: a non-thematic assemblage of varied contributions with no link whatsoever with one another, which nonetheless, altogether, communicate a tint.

So, why should one delve into this magazine? We believe that reading Terrazzo reconnects with the pleasure of inhabiting the world, visiting distant and closer places. Contents draw together mankind’s atavistic, incessant activity of transforming the environment with the more recent technological shifts in design culture. In a couple of pages it jumps from digital design (early CAD drawings and video-games, postmodern tables and office organisational diagrams) to a world-wide, anthropologic journey through kitchens and walls devised by Ettore Sottsass’s recurrent ‘Travel Notes’.

Terrazzo was on our desk in 2009, when we started to work on what will later become Accattone. We didn’t want to publish a magazine in which critics write essays on somebody else’s work, like Log, AA Files, OASE or Candide. Instead, we wanted to produce a magazine out of our encounters with artists, architects and other practitioners, based on the documents that they collect or produce at all stages of their work. (In times of a generalized suspicion against images and glossy pages, considered as seductive, insidious and complicit with the mainstream, the challenge for us would then be to present these documents without making a showcase, using what we then came to define as ‘critical editorial devices’). Terrazzo’s deliberate approach of avoiding dogmatic and academic positions in favour of the pleasure of discovery reflects our conception of the magazine as a journey: in its motives and methods, Accattone is a form of ‘learning-by-publishing’ in which we explore and question the contributors’ practice as much as we challenge our own understanding of architecture and its place in the world.

N°3

Olaf Grawert

Shaping Things 

title

Shaping Things 

editors

publisher

MIT Press, Cambridge 

year

2005

pages

149

9780262693264

The book describes a vision for how the world could turn: neither a dystopia nor an utopia, Sterling speculates about the technosocial transformation of our (built) environment under the paradigm of sustainability- „if it fails the world will become unthinkable, if it works the world will become unimaginable.“ 

I think architecture (both theory and praxis) have to speculate more and use the knowledge we gained (consequences of the free market and the commodification of space) to make proposals for the future instead of delivering to market needs.

Honestly, because after reading I thought: I wanna be an explorer (and architect) and produce knowledge that is multilayered, fun and/or exiting, accessible...in order to change something. I rarely had this with books (but films) - a call for Science Fiction in architecture so to say.

N°3

Cédric Libert

Objets Immanents

title

Objets Immanents

editors

publisher

BLACKWHITERAINBOW

year

pages

It is a book made with students in 2016 from material of their own work. Important as millennial generation case study, questions & interests. Important as for its narrative: « infrastructure without architects » being a keyword. Young generations calling architecture into question in its deepest roots and ethos.

It is personal if not say even intimate as a tool of/for pedagogy and how to engage with the idea of a shared present and future. Needless to say or sometimes important to remember that pedagogical research work is ultimate way to adresse scope of environmental issues: « man on earth » beyond the realm of architecture.

N°3

AG Architektur in Gebrauch

Die Aussichten der Menschheit 1965-1985, by R. Buckminster Fuller in the Projekte und Modelle Series

title

Die Aussichten der Menschheit 1965-1985, by R. Buckminster Fuller in the Projekte und Modelle Series

editors

Christian Chruxin, Joachim Krausse

publisher

Edition Voltaire Frankfurt am Main und Berlin

year

1968

pages

It is a publication series that is conceived as a tool of knowledge. 

The main title of series makes clear that it deals with projects and models, and publishes “works that have the character of a design or model dealing with a form of projection. The material is chosen based on its potential to direct to new forms of associations, ‘projections’ and, in a way discoveries, and not on the base of categories, disciplines, or historical movements. The published works are often just fragments, and in their fragmentary state they are conceptually charged, like in sketches, notes, plans of things that aren’t yet realized, and perhaps can never be. These are all works that formulate trends, tendencies, frameworks, and programs. […] for this reason the series also considers historical texts that in their occupation with the future in the past are relevant for the operation of projection in the present. This program for the publication series requires a form of edition that can publish different types of works: from the text of a lecture to a photographic essay.” (From the text explaining the series by Chruxin and Krausse, translated from the German by the author)

Each number of the series contains also an index system with a contextualization expanding on selected terms extracted from the published work, the main original “text”. This index grows for each number, making a useful connection between the different issues. The series, the way it is designed and the content become an all encompassing instrument of discovery and open association, a true thinking in systems, and a tool to explore operations and things.

Not without humor, the editors’ prologue to the series is highly propositional, speaks worlds about its approach to the notions of time, and functions like a true piece of concrete poetry:

“Project and models of the present for the future. Projects and models of the past for the future. Project and models of the future for the future. Project and models of the present for the past. Projects and models of the past for the past. Projects and models of the future for the past. Projects and models of the present for the present. Projects and models of the past for the present. Projects and models of the future for the present. Projects of the present for the models of the future. Projects of the past for the models of the future. Projects of the future for the models of the future. Projects of the present for the models of the past. Projects of the past for the models of the past. Projects of the future for the models of the past. Projects of the present for the models of the present. Projects of the past for the models of the present. Projects of the future for the models of the present. Models of the present for the projects of the future. Models of the past for the projects of the future. Models of the future for the projects of the future.  Models of the present for the projects of the past. Models of the past for the projects of the past. Models of the future for the projects of the past. Models of the present for the projects of the present. Models of the past for the projects of the present. Models of the future for the projects of the present.” 

(translation from the German by the author)

This book series is relevant to Silvan Linden and me because it represents an effective model of how do research in architecture. When we started our own publication Projekte und Modelle was a constant reference, because it takes an original text, an artifact, as the beginning of a question and an array of reflections and associations, in a combination of earnestness, humor, and self-irony. 

The index part from Projekte und Modelle was in approach and format not only inspiring but also a useful conceptual tool, as it showed us that the freer the search and associations, the higher the accuracy and precision. One could say that Projekte und Modelle carries a deeply constructivist approach, as it literally reassembles times and worlds. (Obviously we love this.)

For instance, in Projekte und Modelle 1 the structure is very simple: the main text is the first translation in German of “The Prospect for Humanity” (“Die Aussichten der Menschheit 1965-1985”) by R. Buckminster Fuller, but this text is not just published, declared important and done with that; in fact instead of an introduction commenting this text as often the case in translated texts, the text is presented raw, uncommented, without perfunctory parts; in this way it acquires a new power, like a tool, to set a process of discovery in motion and open to unexpected knowledge. This process from text to tool, is aided and empowered by the index part which follows immediately after Fuller’s text, operating in a constant feed-back loop as one goes back and forth from the original text to the index and ideally is invited to continue the process of insight. This all works so smoothly because of the integral combination of the publishing concept with the gestalt of the book, it becomes second nature. 

We realized through Projekte und Modelle that the act of publishing is not about executing a routine, but it becomes a personal enterprise of discovery. Especially the first number, was a fundamental reference in our own publication series AG Architektur in Gebrauch. It’s not about publishing a piece of architecture, even though AG deals each time with an architectural structure, instead the editorial process evolves around the item in question. It is the starting point. The project becomes “text” assembling an array of critical aspects. 

The approach towards time in Projekte und Modelle is also important, as our approach is to explore the (eco-logical) notion of transformation in architecture, as things are never finished, as matter and use always change. Therefore we observe each architectural example from the present, but also reading it like a text grown out of layers of time, searching for the most meaningful transformations in feed-back loops with the conditions of the users, the context, the form and spatial quality of the building, and its reception at the time it was built.

N°2

Charlotte Truwant & Dries Rodet

Tropenhaus

title

Tropenhaus

architects

Unknown

location

Spalengraben 8, Basel

year

1967

The Tropenhaus is not Basel’s most iconic building but everyone who visited the building will remember that particular spatial experience. The greenhouse questions the capacity of architecture to be more than a beautiful object. It challenges the perception of architecture, and shows that space can also be defined by temperature, humidity, sound, ... instead of 4 walls. The Tropenhaus is a spatial machine.

Our architectural curiosity is shifting towards the idea of the milieu, whereby a building is defining a set of conditions that change the user’s perception of space and its context. The Tropenhaus highlights one of the many possible topics milieu deals with. And it does it in a very convincing way.

N°2

Andreas Ruby

Brauerei Warteck

title

Brauerei Warteck

architects

Baubüro in situ, et alias (renovation)

location

Burgweg 7-15, Basel

year

1993-94

Ein grossartiges Beispiel für eine erfolgreiche Konversion eines leerstehenden Industriebaus in ein Kulturzentrum mit grossartigen öffentlichen Freiräumen, als Ergebnis einer intensiven Verhandlung zwischen Künstlern (die den Raum zunächst besetzt hatten), dem Eigentümer (Warteck Invest) und der Stadt, die nach langem Konflikt eine gute Lösung für alle fanden.

N°2

Caspar Schärer and Dominique Salathé

Wohnhäuser Hammerstrasse

title

Wohnhäuser Hammerstrasse

architects

Diener + Diener

location

Hammerstrasse, Bläsiring, Efringerstrasse, Basel

year

1978–81

Caspar Schärer: The apartment complex marks the beginning of the "return to the city" in the early 1980s; Basel was then a vibrant laboratory for both urban development and architecture; the plot where the apartment complex was built was an industrial estate before; the generation of Roger Diener, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron entered the stage and started its massive influence on everything architectural in Basel for the coming forty years; Diener + Diener worked with the typology of the perimeter block and added a contemporary interpretation to it; important for the significance of the project are in particular the smaller atelier units in the courtyard and the opening of the block with a public alley.


Dominique Salathé: The residential development on the site of a former industrial site is an important contribution of the younger Swiss architecture to urban planning and housing typology. Because of his involvement in the field of tension between the city of the 19th century and modern housing as well as the neighborhood of housing and small industry as an urban form, the project is still exemplary. The challenge of typological and constructive issues is shaped by the economics of housing construction and continues to be up-to-date.

Caspar Schärer: Although it is today already almost forty years of age, the apartment complex appears still quite fresh to me; it has a certain monomentality I like (especially the rounded glassy corner), but on the other hand it is just decent communal housing; so it's not the ambition of something like Karl-Marx-Hof in Vienna where working-class proud is celebrated, but it represents the importance of inner-city living; then I really like the informality of the backyard space; it has a nice balance between intended design, letting-go and the acquisition of the inhabitants and the city itself.


Dominique Salathé: I discover the building again and again and have lived there for a short time. The residential development has opened up a world for me. The precise way of setting the volume, the integration into the existing urban context, the complexity of the contextual references, but also the typological clarity of the ground plan organization has shaped my understanding of architecture. The building has linked me to a whole world through its references. About the windows and entrances with the work of Aldo Rossi, about the brick and the color with the smell of Dutch Modernism and with a construction detail, a small 'clin d'oeil' with the project of Hannes Meyer for the Petersschule. This own mixture of poetry and pragmatics, of eloquence and silence fascinates me to this day.

N°1

Christophe Girot

The Course of Landscape Architecture

title

The Course of Landscape Architecture

editors

Christoiphe Girot

publisher

Thames and Hudson

year

2017

pages

352

9780500342978

The book is relevant for architecture because of the long standing relationship between the two fields which is explicitely explored in this work.

The Book is the result of more than 10 years of research in the evolution of Western landscapes and fills an important gap in the field of architectural

education.

N°1

Irina Davidovici

Essays in Architectural Criticism: Modern Architecture and Historical Change.

title

Essays in Architectural Criticism: Modern Architecture and Historical Change.

editors

Alan Colquhoun

publisher

Oppositions Books, The MIT Press

year

1981

pages

216

978-0262530637

This collection of essay explores issues of perennial significance in the ideological framework of architecture (type, form, realism, historicism, historicity, meaning etc.). Written by a practicing architect working through questions brought up in design, fifty years later Colquhoun’s essays retain an almost theoretical validity. They build up a rigorous argument for architecture as an intellectual construct, putting its ambiguities and dichotomies into sharp relief, while refusing to advance simplistic or appeasing solutions.

British architect Tony Fretton introduced me to Alan Colquhoun, first in (this) book form, then in person a few years later. Essays is for me a reference book, in which I keep looking up any number of seemingly disconnected themes, like one looks up the meaning of words in a dictionary. It is also a model of critical writing in the essay genre. Colquhoun articulates sophisticated ideas precisely and concisely, demonstrating a cold passion for language as well as for architecture’s intellectual history.

N°1

Florian Sauter

Thermal Delight in Architecture

title

Thermal Delight in Architecture

editors

Lisa Heschong

publisher

The MIT Press

year

1979

pages

94

9780262580397

Arguing against a neutral mechanically controlled architectural environment, this book reasserts the significance of the “thermal sense.” Enforcing a primitive encounter with our surroundings, it emphasizes that “we should not use technology to distance ourselves from the natural world; rather we should strive for a more intimate, even symbiotic, relationship with natural forces.” The hearth fire, the sauna, the Roman and Japanese baths, and the Islamic garden are discussed as archetypes of thermal

delight. Addressing the vernacular and elemental – earth, water, air and fire are prosaically embraced to describe an authentic architectural experience that is not insulated by the cocoon of modern comfort, but where weather matters, and is brought to poetic presence through its thoughtful domestication.

As a builder I am forced to interact with the natural elements: they invigorate my built structures, co-determine my experiential reality, and act as guiding principles in the process of realization: While the earth targets the foundations, the roof shields from water, the openings control the flow of air, and the
walls protect from the gleaming sun. To engage with them means to return to an atavistic sense of rootedness, and as Thermal Delight in Architecture shows, they indicate not a style, but a way of thinking: With elemental “fourthought” one ought to encompass both their inherent dangers and their possibilities of architecturalized revelation.


N°1

Sonja Hildebrand

Lessons for Students in Architecture

title

Lessons for Students in Architecture

editors

Herman Hertzberger

publisher

Uitgeverij 010

year

1991

pages

272

9064505624

There are two categories of reasons for which this book is relevant for architecture.The first category concerns its topics, which  are widely recognized as fundamental for architecture. Hertzberger in his „Lessons“ deals with questions of how private and public spaces are created by architecture, and especially, how thresholds are defined and how both types of space mesh and change their character through usage. This last issue relates to the second category of reasons, which concern Hertzberger’s approach to architecture, his concept of what architecture is, and his respective design strategy: Hertzberger’s concept of architecture is based on the consideration that one can’t study the built environment without considering the people who life in it and who use it. He acknowledges that people, almost as a rule, tend to modify those built environments, whether it be their private dwelling or the public space. In his design strategy he tries to respond to this finding in various ways, amongst others by creating situations in which usages observed elsewhere can unfold in one way or the other, or by handing over „half-products“ to the dwellers.

Firstly this book is relevant for me because of the simple fact that it is a book, will say a material object. Yet, secondly, and more specifically, it means a lot to me because of its attitude, if I may say so. Its makers did not care about a particularly refined design of the book. This matches with Hertzberger’s interest in the ordinary day life of common people and how the architect can learn from observing them. I am not against exceptional buildings and I think that exceptional situations should belong to our lives. But the concept of the exceptional implies that it relates to a rare situation. Or, in other words: I believe that’s not a good idea to live ones life in a kind of permanent state of emergency. As for architecture I am therefore convinced that what we need most is to make every effort in favour of the everyday life. Hertzberger in his book makes us aware of its richness and its potential for an architecture, that might be able to deal with problems of identity in a more and more faceted and also fragmented world. One can work for the excellence of the everyday life.

N°1

Jørg Himmelreich

Encyclopedias in general

title

Encyclopedias in general

editors

-

publisher

-

year

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As much as I like architecture theory and history and would like to believe that architecture has a high degree of autonomy, I strongly believe that it is a discipline that has to house all aspects of human culture. So how do we as architects learn about that? What aspect do we focus on? Bluntly said: We need to understand everything and be interested in everything. Next to gaining a knowledge of the discipline of architecture itself, it is necessary to establish a broad knowledge in the sense of a studium generale.


The encyclopedia is the first „scientific“ book I read. And it‘s also the first book that gave me a insights into the architecture discourse. The tableaus about styles in architecture have been an important reason why I decided to study architecture.


N°1

ALICE

All About Space, Volume 2: House 1 Catalogue

title

All About Space, Volume 2: House 1 Catalogue

editors

Dieter Dietz, Matthias Michel and Daniel Zamarbide

publisher

Park Books

year

2017

pages

456

978-3-03860-038-1

All About Space investigates writing and publishing as a form of architectural practice. Its challenge lies in finding ways to articulate questions of Space within the pages of a book, by oscillating continuously between fact and fiction. Its relevance lies in its presentation of three possible ways of publishing architecture. Its Theory Catalogue approaches architecture as theoretical enquiry; its Construction Catalogue (inspired by the ‚Sets‘ structure of the legendary Whole Earth Catalogue) presents, in a heterogeneous and factual manner, the concrete outcomes of spatial enquiry - drawings,
models, buildings; and the Inhabitation Catalogue deals with the afterlife of architecture - architecture as inhabited by characters and fictions that appropriate its spaces beyond original intentions. One could say that each stage represents one facet of the architectural project. All exist together within the pages of All About Space, but also in tension with one another. All three parts are linked by a narrative
about an individual who confronts himself with society; an allegory for the making of HOUSE 1 and the community that was formed through its construction.

All About Space is on the one hand a fiction; on the other, an educational device; and on the other again, a record for posterity of student work past. For the ALICE Laboratory First Year Program at EPFL, and for all the students involved in constructing the HOUSE 1 project explored within its pages, it is a memorial. For those who might pick up the book knowing nothing about the project, it is a tumble down the rabbit hole, an enquiry into the possibilities and limits of the architectural project. For
future students and teachers of ALICE, it is an invaluable education device - a means of recording ways of thinking and practicing that can be adapted to future teaching endeavours. It encapsulates ALICE‘s teaching goals and provides ongoing physical evidence of a structure and a community now since dispersed.