All posts by Katherine Isham

New Books at the Architecture & Planning Library: Tradition and Modern Design

This week we have many inspiring and intriguing new books at the Architecture & Planning Library. Fall is a time of transition, which might be why I was drawn to books about reworking traditional design and materials to create something modern. These are some of my favorites from the New Books table:

Here, there, everywhere edited by Renny Ramakers and Agata Jaworska is a compilation of 16 projects by design company Droog  in locations ranging from the Canadian Arctic to the deserts of Dubai.  The book includes realistic and purely imaginative projects that address economic, social, and ecological issues at a local level.  Content includes essays, conversations and talks accompanied by photos and illustrations.

Holz = Wood: best of Detail edited by Christian Schittich discusses theory and knowledge about the use of wood as a modern construction material. This book contains thirty case studies of interior and exterior construction projects using wood as the primary design element. Projects are beautifully documented with photographs, floor plans, and cross section drawings.

Village Textures edited by András Palffy documents the concepts and designs of an international study-group on the development of historical village structures in Eastern Austria. Participants planned the addition of thirty housing units for seven sites to test strategies to counter urban sprawl in villages. Photographs and information about the villages are followed by multiple models and site plans.

*Clicking the title of any book in this post will link you directly to the library catalog.

New Books at the Architecture & Planning Library: Identity and Interior Design

Interior design is based on expectations and aspirations of how the inhabitants of a space will live and behave.  In this way interior design not only reflects the lifestyle of the inhabitants, it can be used to project personality traits the inhabitants wish to convey. Several new books at the Architecture & Planning Library this week focus on the fascinating intersection of interior design with personal identity.

Biography, Identity and the Modern Interior edited by Anne Massey and Penny Sparke is a collection of essays that consider the historical insights that can be gleaned from investigating the lives of individuals, groups, and interiors. The authors use case studies to explore the history of the interior as a site in which everyday life is experienced and the ways in which architects and interior designers draw on personal and collective histories in their practice.

 

Bachelors of a Different Sort: Queer Aesthetics, Material Culture and the Modern Interior by John Potvin examines the ambivalent and uncomfortable position bachelors have held in society by considering the complicated relationships between the modern queer bachelor and interior design, material culture, and aesthetics in Britain between 1885 and 1957. The author discusses the interiors of Lord Ronald Gower, Alfred Taylor, Oscar Wilde, Charles Shannon and Charles Ricketts, Edward Perry Warren and John Marshall, Sir Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines, Noël Coward and Cecil Beaton.

Ron Arad: Another Twist in the Plot with text by Anatxu Zabalbeascoa is the catalog from a 2013 exhibition of the work of architect and designer Ron Arad, that includes photographs and sketches of some of his most iconic works as well as several mock-ups and architectural projects. Arad considers himself to be a self-taught designer with an approach to form and structure based on freedom from tradition and convention.  ‘The principle is that everything should be based on something that didn’t exist before’, says Arad.

 

*Click the title of any book in this post to link directly to the library catalog.

New Books at the Architecture & Planning Library: System Structures, Engineering, and Construction

To paraphrase Larry Speck’s address at the opening of the exhibit “To Know a Building” at the Architecture and Planning Library reading room last week: A great building doesn’t just spring complete from the mind of the architect; it’s creation depends on the collaboration and work of a great team  that includes engineers, construction teams, building managers and clients. Some interesting new books at the Architecture & Planning Library this week focus on this collaborative process of the realization of architectural design.

Architectural System Structures: Integrating design complexity in industrialised construction by Kasper Sánchez Vibaek proposes a system structure in architectural design based on the use of flexible constituent elements (determined by what the current and future building industry is capable of producing) to make decisions about the assemblage of a building.

Collaborations in Architecture and Engineering by Clare Olsen and Sinéad Mac Namara focuses on team-building and problem solving between architects and engineers. The authors, an architect and an engineer with extensive teaching experience, use case studies to discuss architect and engineer collaborations that show how to solve real-world problems and engage creatively with technological challenges.

1 Angel Square by Len Grant documents the construction process of an iconic new building in Manchester, England. The author includes interviews with the project team (clients, architects, engineers, and builders) along side photographs documenting the process from the archeological dig of the site before construction began, to the completed stucture in use.

*Clicking the title of any book in this post will link you directly to the library catalog.

New books this week: rebuilding, reuse, and preservation

My favorites this week from the new books table at the Architecture & Planning Library address issues of the modern urban environment: rebuilding after disaster, repurposing vacant structures, and preserving heritage as an important part of inner-city development.

New Orleans Under Reconstruction: The Crisis of Planning edited by Carol McMichael Reese, Michael Sorkin, and Anthony Fontenot gathers a wide array  of work addressing the devastation of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina and the subsequet debates over planning and design to rebuild the city. The writers, architects, planners, historians, and activists who contributed to this project are searching for ways to create environmentally sustainable, economically robust, and socially equitable urban environments for the future. This book includes materials on planning, reconstruction of private and public housing and the cultural landscape, urban analysis, and flood mitigation.

Vacancy Studies: Experiments & Strategic Interventions in Architecture with Editors-in-Chief  Ronald Rietveld and Erik Rietveld presents the “strategic Interventions” design approach in the newly established field of vacancy studies, which grew out of the “Vacant NL” exhibition for the Dutch pavilion at the 2010 Venice Architecture Bienale.  This approach focusing on creative temporary use of existing structures addresses the relatively new dynamic created by massive scale vacancy of structures in the Netherlands. The book also covers the  Studio Vacant NL program at the Sandberg Instituut designed to train specialists in the temporay use of vacant buildings and sites.

Heritage as an Asset for Inner-City Development: An Urban Manager’s Guide Book edited by Jen-Paul Corten, Ellen Guerts, Paul Meurs, and Remco Vermeulen is a product of the Course on Urban Heritage Strategies organized by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.  This book examines the challenges of cultural heritage preservation in urban environments and presents case studies of six cities: Recife, Paramaribo, Pretoria, Accra, Moscow, Pulicat, Jaffna, and Surabaya.

*Clicking the title of any book in this post will link you directly to the library catalog.

New Books at the Architecture and Planning Library 9/23/14

We’ve got so many great new books this week, it was hard to choose! Here are three I didn’t want to put down:

The Air From Other Planets: A Brief History of Architecture to Come by Sean Lally is an intriguing discussion of the future of architecture as the design of energy. In the introduction Lally asks “Instead of thinking of architecture as a mass of inert and ossified energy–even stone and steel were not always solid masses–standing as walls in opposition to their surroundings and carving out interior space, why not look to intensify those very energy systems we know are capable of creating microclimates and distinct ecosystems so as to make them architectural materials in themselves?” (p14).  This book is a great read for anybody interested in interactive design.

Superkilen: A Project by Big, Topotek 1, Superflex edited by Barbara Steiner takes the reader through the design and construction of the multi award winning one kilometer long urban space located in an ethnically diverse neighborhood of Denmark. This book includes interviews with architects and residents, plans, maps, drawings, photographs, and an index of objects used in the project. Superkilin is sure expand your perception of the possibilities of public spaces.

Spa-De: Space and Design 19 published by Artpower is a fun source of inspiration for your next design project.  This book covers design projects from Europe, North America, and Australia completed in 2011 and 2012. Projects are presented in three sections: “Lighting Graphics,”  “Elaborately Designed Food Shops,”  and “World Spatial Design.” The beautiful large color photographs, site plans and elevations are described in Japanese and English.  Some of my favorite projects from the book are pictured below.

*Clicking the title of any book in this post will link you directly to the library catalog.

New Books This Week at the Architecture and Planning Library

When you visit the Architecture & Planning Library be sure to check out the New Books table immediately to the right of the circulation desk.  There is always an interesting mix of books guaranteed to provide  inspiration and information for your next project.  Here are some of my favorites this week:

R. Buckminster Fuller: World Man edited by Daniel Lopez-Perez contains the original typescript of “World Man,” the Princeton University School of Architecture Kassler Lecture Series Inaugural Address delivered in 1966 by R. Buckminster Fuller, accompanied by photos, notes, clippings, and blueprints. Fuller was arguably one of one of the most prescient and influential architectural theorists of the twentieth century and this book  documents some of his creative output at a very interesting point in his career. (Extra points to the editors for use of a nice variety of archival materials!)

Culture, Architecture and Nature: An Ecological Design Retrospective by Sim Van der Ryn is a collection of Van der Ryn’s essays and addresses from the last fifty years arranged by decade, which  allows the reader to understand the progression of his design philosophies as well as key concepts in the field of ecological design. The book is also beautifully illustrated with a selection of Van der Ryn’s paintings.

Kinetic Architecture: Designs for Active Envelopes by Russell Fortmeyer examines new developments in architectural facades that respond to the flow of energy that affects the comfort of people within a building. Dynamic facades from twenty-four recent projects in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia are beautifully documented with photographs, site plans, elevations and sections.

in full COLOUR

Looking for some design inspiration or perhaps an exciting summer read?  Check out  in full COLOUR: Recent Buildings and Interiors with projects selected by Dirk Meyerhöfer. This book documents a wide variety of projects where use of color, either of colored surfaces, colored light, or both, has a transformative effect on the built environment. These projects illustrate the remarkable power of color in architecture to define and organize space, and to create an emotional response.  Perception of color is both personal and social; the colors we see are a result of our brain processing physical stimuli from our eyes through the filter of our cultural experience, which means each person’s experience of color is unique. This might make a less daring designer hesitate, but as the projects in this book illustrate, the bold use of color activates and energizes the built environment. In the introduction Meyerhöfer says “through the warmth or coolness of a given colour…or through the choice of several, interrelated colour families, a building can be endowed with a ‘soul.'” If this seems like a stretch, choose the image below that most appeals to you. Now try to imagine the space with only neutral colors, or with entirely different colors. How does your experience, or your feelings about the space  change?

Vertical Gardens

The arrival of spring compelled me to dive into the Architecture & Planning Library stacks this week looking for some greenery. I leafed through several lovely books about gardens in Europe, the United States, and Japan, spent some time with works on topiary, and then I found Vertical Gardens.  As an avowed urbanite I am very interested in the greening of city spaces, so I was delighted to find this book with its focus on the utilization of “vegetal vigor” on the vertical plane.  The expense of horizontal space in cities often precludes the development of the gardens and green spaces that so greatly improve quality of life for city dwellers, but the designers featured in this book have found ingenious ways to work with limited horizontal space in interior and exterior design, public and private space, and in a wide variety of built environments. My favorites are the designs that incorporate flora into the facade of a building, blurring the distinction between artificial and natural, interior and exterior space, and dynamic and static.  I would love to spend time in any of these spaces, wouldn’t you?

Vertical Gardens includes an introduction by Jacques Leenhardt which briefly discusses the history of gardens and architecture, vegetation in an urban context, and aesthetics of vertical gardens, short essays by Anna Lambertini, and large color photographs by Mario Ciampi. Celebrate National Landscape Architecture Month by exploring the Architecture & Planning Library’s collection!

Fin-de-Siècle Architecture: Modernismo

Fin-de-Siècle Architecture = Seikimatsu Kenchiku by Riichi Miyake with photos by Tahara Keiichi is a beautiful oversize six volume set documenting architectural and ornamental styles from the end of the nineteenth century and beginning decades of the twentieth century. Each volume contains fantastic large color photographs of exteriors and interiors plus architectural sketches and renderings, elevations, details, and city plans.  Volume 2 Modernismo and Architectural Millennium documents buildings from the Catalan Modernismo movement in Barcelona which was synchronous to several design movements in other countries (Art Nouveau, Liberty, and Modern style in England and France, Jugendstyl in Germany, Sezessionstyl in Austria, Floreale and Liberty in Italy, and Modernisme in Spain) that were influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and Gothic revivalism, with the additional influence of the Moorish design prevalent in Spain. These design influences combined with Catalan nationalists’ desire to create a distinct national identity from Spain, bourgeois patronage with ample money and construction industry resources, and available land within the city of Barcelona produced one of the most vibrant and distinctive styles of architecture in history. The architects’ use of curved lines, vegetal and organic motifs, asymmetry, and dynamic shapes embellished with a fantastic combination of decorative ironwork, glazed tile, stone, exposed brick, colored glass, sgrafitto, wood, and marble created a rich mosaic of shifting shapes, textures, and colors unlike any other built environment in the world. You may not be familiar with the term “Modernismo”, but you know the style when you see it. 

Three of the most important architects of the Modernismo style are Lluis Domènech i Montaner, whose work incorporates many Moorish elements (Casa dels Tres Dragons, Hospital de Santa Creu i de Sant Pau, Palau de la Música Catalana), Joseph Puig i Cadafalch, whose buildings are heavily influenced by medieval style (els Quatre Gats, Casa Marti, Casa Terrades), and Antoni Gaudi, whose works incorporate fantastic organic forms inspired by nature (Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, La Sagrada Familia). Also of note are Joseph Maria Jujol, who collaborated with Gaudi on several of his most famous buildings, and Enrique Nieto, whose work as the city architect of Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North America, created the only large concentration of Modernismo style structures outside of Spain.

The six volumes of Fin-de-Siècle Architecture = Seikimatsu Kenchiku (V.1 Art Nouveau and Japonisme, V.2 Modernismo and Architectural Millennium, V.3 Stile Liberty and Orientalism, V.4 The Influence of Secessions, V.5 Arts and Crafts and the Garden City, and V.6 The Rise of National Romanticism) are available for use in the Architecture and Planning Library. Volume 2 contains images of the Palau de la Mùsica Catalan, which inspired the Charles Moore columns at the entrance to the Architecture and Planning Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of concrete: Le Béton en Représentation

Beauty is probably not the first word that comes to mind when people think of concrete,but one look through photographs in Le Béton en Representation:La Mémoire Photographique de l’Enterprise Hennebique 1890-1930 is enough to make you fall in love with the material. Francoise Hennebique’s “ferro-concrete”, a system of steel reinforced concrete patented in 1892 as Béton Armé, helped popularize the use of concrete in Europe and the near east.  In addition to establishing his own company, Hennebique cannily used a network of agents to license the use of his patented system to firms constructing their own designs with the amazing results that between 1892 and 1902 over 7,000 structures were built using the system Hennebique.

You might think, that is all very interesting, but this book is in French and I can’t read it.  Why would I check this out?  Check it out for the amazing, inspiring photographs! The commercial photographers who documented these buildings may have only been interested in creating realistic images to use in advertising and promotional materials, but these images are so beautiful! Photography captures the prismatic surfaces and stark lines of concrete silos, bunkers, and staircases and transforms bland industrial structures into stunning modernist compositions.  The fine tonal gradations of concrete are captured so exquisitely by the medium of black and white photography, the hard shell metamorphoses into a sensual surface, almost suggestive of human skin.

To be inspired by more images like these , Le Béton en Représentation can be found in the library catalog here.