Tag Archives: books

Feature Friday: Summer Reading List – The Manifestos

This week’s Feature Friday recognizes one of my favorite opportunities of a three-month break (for those of us students, at least): summer reading! Though many of us do a LOT of reading during the school year as well, summer reading allows us to pick out books that interest us specifically, even from the fiction section. *gasp!*

Though none of the following are fiction, I thought I would share my summer reading list with you all, as each book is available here at the Architecture & Planning Library. I’ve made it a goal to read at least four of the most influential manifestos written by four equally influential architects – manifestos that are still incredibly vital to architectural theory and education today. And thus, I give to you: The Manifestos – a reading list!

Kindergarden Chats and Other Writings by Louis Sullivan, NA 2560 S82 1979

Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier, NA 2520 L3613 1986

Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture by Robert Venturi, NA 2760 V46 1977

Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaus, NA 735 N5 K66

I’ve chosen the above four for several reasons:

  • In both the architectural and art history courses I’ve taken throughout my undergraduate and graduate education, I’ve come across references to these manifestos, and have only really read excerpts or passages from each to facilitate discussion. I’ve always been interested in reading the full manifestos, down to each chapter and each paragraph, with aims to weave together the main points I’ve read into a cohesive whole.
  • After working with the Karl Kamrath Collection for special collections last fall, books by most of these architects surfaced, especially Louis Sullivan, whom Kamrath had admired. Seeing these books in the collection of another successful architect solidified their importance in acting as a foundation for an architectural education.
  • This fall, I am taking Theory of Architecture with Professor Larry Speck, and I know the above titles are on his reading list. I admit it – I’m taking an opportunity to get ahead! Let’s be honest – you can never really take a break from learning if you truly love what it is you’re studying.

In addition to the above, I’ve amassed a few more that make a great addition to any reading list:

Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, NA 735 L3 V4 1977
In The Cause of Architecture, essays by Frank Lloyd Wright, NA 737 W7 D37
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, NA 9108 J3
The Architecture of the City by Aldo Rossi, NA 9031 R6713

Happy reading!

This #FeatureFriday was curated by Stephanie Phillips, a graduate student in the School of Architecture and a Graduate Student Assistant for the Architecture & Planning Library.  Much of her work involves coordinating with several interdisciplinary staff to promote events, exhibits, and new material of interest to all users of the library.

Oversized Books are an Overdose of Awesome

This semester, we’ve started directing the spotlight towards some features of the Architecture & Planning Library that we think are awesome, especially our array of journal subscriptions and New Books table. Today, we have another addition to add to our lineup: our oversized books shelf!

Located just to the right of the New Books table and circulation desk, our oversized books shelf is hard to miss, especially if you’re heading into the stacks to find that book on Paul Cret for your research paper. These books are too large to fit snugly in our normal stack arrangements, and often, they are some of the most interesting and comprehensive!

Currently featured on the top shelf for easy reading is The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture. Phaidon is a publishing giant known for creating textbooks that are just as beautiful as they are informative, and this atlas is no exception. Its 834 pages measure out at a whopping 21″ x 17″ and contain over 5,000 stunning color images and architectural drawings of some of the most outstanding work done across the world since 1998. Think of this monolith as hundreds of modern architectural periodicals bound together – without the advertisements and agendas. Works of contemporary giants are featured amongst up-and-coming architects in various countries, and projects range from the smallest of houses to prominent airports, art galleries, and office buildings.

This resource is truly unparalleled by any alternative atlas or journal. I often find myself wandering over to the oversized books shelf just to page through the imagery and drawings as a reminder of why architecture is such an inspiring field to be a part of.

Even better? There’s another oversized book shelf in our Reading Room. Yet another one of our not-so-hidden gems in our library, I hope you find yourself frequenting our oversized books shelves in the future!

Call Number: -F- NA 687 P43 2004

Wait – a Library Isn’t Just a Library?

Many students perceive a library solely as place to read, study, or perform research for their school-assigned projects. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I shared this sentiment; I rarely encountered projects in my specific courses that required me to do extensive research, and so the stacks that surrounded me while I studied and wrote papers went largely unnoticed.

Now, as a first-year UT graduate student and Graduate Research Assistant at the Architecture & Planning Library, I feel like I am getting a second opportunity to explore the riches that lie within the walls of a library. In some ways, I almost feel like many of the undergraduates using the library for the first time: in awe and slightly overwhelmed at the sheer amount of information that’s accessible. How had I never come across or searched on my own for a goldmine like this before?

My first stop in my exploratory journey to better familiarize myself with the Architecture & Planning Library was only a few feet to the right of the circulation desk: the New Books table. This table is full of recently published, newly purchased books, which are updated on most Tuesdays. Martha, the Architecture and Planning Librarian (if you haven’t met her before, absolutely seek her out – she’s an amazing resource!), instructed me to pick out whatever looked interesting. As I sifted through books ranging from The Collected Letters of A. W. N. Pugin to Europe’s Changing Geography, I settled upon a clean, white, modern-looking hardcover, whose spine was simply adorned with the word “Architecture” in pale blue text.

I had ended up selecting volume one of four in a series entitled Meuser Architekten / Building and Projects 1995-2010, written by the principals of Mueser Architekten, a comprehensive design firm based in Berlin, Germany, with work done across the world.  Volume one focuses on Architecture, as expected; the other three encompass Interior Design, Diplomatic Missions, and Exhibitions/Signage.

Meuser Architekten / Building and Projects 1995-2010 - DOM Publishers

Mueser Architekten: Architecture offers valuable insights into the philosophy and influences behind the firm’s modern design practice in Europe and Asia, focusing on three topics: urban construction, prefabrication, and conservation. In addition to summaries, photographs, and drawings of both their built and conceptual work, the Mueser principals preface each topic with beautifully arranged and thoughtful essays commenting on how they perceive their world, all while bringing in personal anecdotes and discourse from other experts in the field. Their written work touches on hot topics such as new construction materials, sustainability, the goals of modern architecture practice, conservation rationales and their morality, and more – and keep in mind, this is just volume one of four!

Architecture is a fascinating profession in the sense that it’s a career of continuous learning. Being versed in architectural history is imperative to its practice, yet history is also being written as we speak by today’s practitioners. Year after year, the field of architecture and design is always full of new interpretations, goals, conditions, perceptions of beauty and form; it’s never a static field, and that is certainly part of its draw.

It’s incredible how insight into professional practice and theory can influence your own design thinking and standards. Bold claims on new or controversial topics can help you develop your own personal design ethos, which has the potential to define you throughout your entire career. Mueser Architekten’s volume set offers up such claims, and whether or not you agree with all of them (I certainly didn’t!), they stimulate thinking through articulate and conversational writing. For example:

Truly modern construction methods must address the deficits of previous generations of builders and continue to spin the thread of history rather than scheming to come up with sensational architectural gimmicks. There is more at stake than who gets to appear on the covers of glossy magazines. (V.1, p. 42)

Clear claims such as these are found woven into each essay, and all of them made me consider both specific trends as well as the bigger picture of modern architecture as it’s practiced today. And to think, my total mind journey started just by picking up a book on a table that I’d never seen before – who would have thought?

As a newcomer to this library and university, my advice to all users of the Architecture & Planning Library is to explore beyond its preconceived boundaries. Bored with your assigned reading or struggling to make headway on your paper? Head to the New Books table or even the stacks. Pick out something that catches your eye. It just may end up being a source of inspiration.

Interested in reading the title discussed above?
Meuser Architekten GmbH. Meuser Architekten: Buildings and Projects 1995-2010. Berlin: DOM Publishers, 2011.
Here is the Library of Congress Call Number: NA 200 M48 2011 (click on the link to check its availability status)

For a list of recent Architecture & Planning Library arrivals over the past few weeks, please visit our Recent Arrivals feed.

The Art of The Plasterer

Bankart, George P. The Art of the Plasterer: An Account of the Decorative Development of the Craft. Scribners: New York, 1909.

Collection: Ayres & Ayres, Architects

George Bankart’s The Art of the Plasterer is an Arts and Crafts era volume that resurrects the plasterer’s craft as not simply a mechanical practice but also an artistic endeavor in possession of a unique historical trajectory. This attempt to document the history of plasterwork as a decorative art is perhaps the first, organizing content by plaster type and material along a temporal register that recognizes first antiquity, then the renaissance and then, English traditions of plasterwork. Though somewhat obtuse in its imagining, the tome coalesces a wealth of material, including photographs and detailed renderings, to form a comprehensive investigation of plasterwork as both a craft and decorative product. The resulting narrative inserts this ancient practice into a specific lineage of design.

Call number: -Q- 729.5 B225A c.2

Monuments Historique de France

Roussel, Joules. Monuments Historiques de France. Ensembles d’Architectura, Détails Décoratifs, Documents, d’après les Archives du Ministère de l’Instruction Publique et des Beaux-arts. 3 Vols. Paris: A. Guérinet, [n.d.].

Assembled by the French Ministère de l’Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts, Monuments Historiques de France is a three volume series containing over 200 19th- and 20th-century photographs that document French monumental architecture from the Roman Empire to the 18th century. A range of building types are represented including public works, cathedrals, palaces and other domestic architecture. These volumes are organized chronologically and provide high-quality photographs capturing exterior, interior, and detailed views of some of France’s most renowned architectural spaces. A product of the neoimperialist era, a small section of photographs also documents Algerian architecture, though these plates are strangle absent from the volumes available in the Architecture & Planning Library special collection.

Library of Congress call numbers: NA 1041 R63 V. 1, V.2, V3

A little wonder from the library of O’Neil Ford

Last week, Joe Sosa, gift processor at the Architecture & Planning Library, came to my office to share a wonderful find.  Joe has been processing books from the library of O’Neil Ford, which came to us as part of his collection donated to the Alexander Architectural Archive.  He starts by searching our catalog for existing copies in our collections so in many cases he is the first one to look closely at donations.  He regularly sees interesting material and once in a while he comes across a jewel like this:

Chinese and Gothic architecture properly ornamented : being twenty new plans and elevations on twelve copper plates containing a great variety of magnificent buildings accurately described ; as also, several of a smaller kind elegantly design’d, with all necessary offices, of great strenght, early construction, and graceful appearance. The whole carefully calculated by the great squares; with instructions to workmen, etc. in several pages of letter-press. intended as an improvement of what has been published of that sort.

This delightful book came in what can be described as a regular preservation nightmare: a homemade cardboard binder (very likely acidic) with a faded photocopy taped on.

Chinese and Gothic Archtecture Properly Ornamented

Inside, we found a pocket for the circulation card.

Pocket for library card

Chinese and Gothic architecture properly ornamented was written in 1752 by William Halfpenny and his son John. William Halfpenny was an English architect, carpenter and author of early pattern books as well as other manuals on construction such as The Art of Sound Building, Demonstrated in Geometrical Problems.

Title page

These are page 6 and 7: “Plate II – The Ground and Chamber Plan, with the Elevation (drawn to double their Scale) for a Design to a House 67 Feet in Front.” As all designs in this book, it includes dimensions for each room ans well as some instructions and estimate of the cost, in this case, 2475£.

Plate II

This book is a great example of an early pattern book as well as 18th Century Chinoiserie.  Gothic? Well, in my opinion, this looks more Palladian influenced but it has made me curious as to why Halfpenny would refer to these designs as Gothic. That is one of the details that makes this book peculiar and fascinating.

Then and Now: The Library of the School of Architecture

Throughout its 100-year history, the Architecture & Planning Library has been an integral part of the School of Architecture, providing services and collections for information and inspiration.  In tandem with the School, the library has grown and changed to meet the needs of its users—students, faculty, scholars, and the community.

A new exhibit – Then and Now: The Library of the School of Architecture – gives an overview of the library’s history as it developed from a faculty collection, to an established library in 1912, and then how it moved along with the School to its new locations.  Featured are interesting examples of how services and collections have expanded and stories about how people have contributed to their library and archive.

Artifacts from the Alexander Architectural Archive
Photographed by Parker Doelling

The exhibition – on view in Architecture & Planning Library Reading Room in Battle Hall through March, 2011 – is being held in conjunction with the School of Architecture’s centennial celebration 100: Traces & Trajectories exhibition.

Producing a centennial exhibit is a momentous occasion.  The challenge proves that some things never change: it reflects the efforts of an expert staff, dedicated students, the tireless hours of our volunteers, including co-curator Sarah Cleary.

All items on exhibit are from the vast collections of the Architecture and Planning Library and its Alexander Architectural Archive, as well as images courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Visit the Flickr slideshow to enjoy more images from the exhibition.

Beth Dodd is Head Librarian for the Architecture & Planning Library at The University of Texas at Austin.

Special Collections at the Architecture & Planning Library
Photographed by Parker Doelling

Florence sketchbook of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910

The Architecture & Planning Library recently acquired a limited edition facsimile of the Florence sketchbook of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910, the manuscript sketchbook by Frank Lloyd Wright which served as the maquette or layout for the famous Wasmuth portfolio of 1910 entitled Ausgeführte Bauten Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright [Studies and Executed Buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright].

This sketchbook has never been published before.  Therefore, it will be a very important addition to our collections and will greatly complement our holdings of several editions of the Wasmuth portfolio.  To learn more about these and other Frank Lloyd Wright materials in our collections read Kathryn Pierce’s entry in Shelflife@Texas.

Florence Sketchbook of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910
Florence Sketchbook of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910

Special Collections – Summer 2010

During the 2010 summer session, the Architecture and Planning Library has initiated a number of projects that will provide greater access to the content located in the library’s special collections. Supported by the John Green Taylor Endowment and through the generous service of volunteers, these projects will promote special collections use by enhancing collection records and marketing its contents.

Graduate students from a number of disciplines are currently working to index individual collections, generate more comprehensive provenance notes, and develop web content that facilitates collection navigation. These projects are part of an ongoing effort to expose the rich and diverse materials held in the library’s special collections.

With over 20,000 volumes, special collections comprise almost 1/5th of the library’s holdings and function as an invaluable resource for scholars in the disciplines of architecture, art and architectural history, landscape architecture, community and regional planning, building technology and construction science.

Sustainable Architecture In Vorarlberg

Sustainable Architecture in VoralbergSustainable Architecture in Vorarlberg by Ulrich Dangel

Earth Day is celebrating its 40th anniversary on April 22, 2010. This once-a-year event galvanizes millions of individuals across the world to help make the planet a cleaner, more sustainable, place to live.

Architects play a crucial role in this effort, helping to solve such issues as urban sprawl and density, environmental impact of building projects, energy performance of buildings, affordable housing, social equity and sustainable technology.

In his book, Sustainable Architecture in Vorarlberg, Ulrich Dangel, assistant professor of architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, discusses the regional building style in Vorarlberg, an Austrian city known for its sustainable construction methods that have culminated into a model for architecture worldwide.

Dangel will have a book signing from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, May 6 at Domy Books located at 913 East Ceasar Chavez, Austin, Texas.

By Amy Crossette, Director Public Affairs for School of Architecture, School of Information.

This book is available at the Architecture & Planning Library.