June 12 Book Talk @NYPL

On Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30pm, I’ll be giving a book talk on NYC Walks: Guide to New Architecture at the Mid-Manhattan Library. As you might know, the actual Mid-Manhattan Library is being renovated by Mecanoo and will open next year, so my talk will be taking place at the library’s temporary location inside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Library at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The event is free, but be sure to register via this link.

Details on the June 12 event from NYPL’s website:

Take a 21st century walking tour of the newest buildings in New York City.

NYC Walks is a portable, easy-to-use architectural guide that showcases the most exciting new buildings in New York. Choose between ten 1- to 3-mile walks that extend from Columbia University through lower Manhattan and across to Brooklyn and Queens. John Hill highlights over 150 buildings as well as popular attractions like the High Line and Lincoln Center, and vibrant neighborhoods including Williamsburg and the Bowery. Maps and photographs make this a compelling and useful guide for visitors, architecture buffs, and New Yorkers alike.

FIRST COME, FIRST SEATED
Registration does not guarantee admission. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A stand by line will form 30 minutes before the program.

The Program Room opens at 6 PM.

Why Old Places Matter

Why Old Places Matter: How Historic Places Affect Our Identity and Well-Being
Thompson M. Mayes
Rowman & Littlefield, September 2018

Hardcover | 8-3/4 x 11-1/4 inches | 168 pages | 74 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1538117682 | $45.00

Publisher Description:

Why Old Places Matter is the only book that explores the reasons that old places matter to people. Although people often feel very deeply about the old places of their lives, they don’t have the words to express why. This book brings these ideas together in evocative language and with illustrative images for a broad audience.

The book reveals the fundamentally important yet under-recognized role old places play in our lives. While many people feel a deep-seated connection to old places — from those who love old houses, to the millions of tourists who are drawn to historic cities, to the pilgrims who flock to ancient sites throughout the world — few can articulate why. The book explores these deep attachments people have with old places –the feelings of belonging, continuity, stability, identity and memory, as well as the more traditional reasons that old places have been deemed by society to be important, such as history, national identity, and architecture.

This book will be appealing to anyone who has ever loved an old place. But more importantly, it will be an useful resource to articulate why old places are meaningful to people and their communities. This book will help people understand that the feeling many have for old places is supported by a wide variety of fields, and that the continued existence of these old places is good. It will give people the words and phrases to understand and express why old places matter.

dDAB Commentary:

A couple weeks ago I went on a press tour of the TWA Hotel, a restoration and reuse of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport. The new hotel uses the old terminal as a lobby with lounge, restaurant, and shops, and it features two new wings with hotel rooms that flank the 1962 building. It is a masterful restoration, courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle, and one that seems like an no-brainer; who, after all, would not want to see Saarinen’s building given a second life? But before it was landmarked by NYC in 1994, the terminal was far from beloved by the people who used it. The terminal was basically obsolete the moment it opened, having been designed for small supersonics rather than large wide-body jets; travelers were greeted by a terminal unable to accommodate the crowds and long lines. The terminal closed in 2001, was mothballed by the Port Authority, and was eventually transformed into a hotel 18 years later — a preservation success story.

I’m bringing up the TWA Hotel in the context of Why Old Places Matter because one thought kept entering my mind when considering the saving and reusing of Saarinen’s building, regardless of the fact it was functionally deficient: it was built. The fact it existed meant its reuse had to be considered — in my mind at least. Its beauty made its preservation an obvious fact, but I think that just about any well-built building deserves to be saved, or at least have its reuse seriously considered. There are various reasons for this thought: reusing old buildings is sustainable, it maintains scale and historical continuity, and it gives architects a canvas against which new architecture can be designed. In the case of Lubrano Ciavarra Architects, who designed the curved wings of the TWA Hotel, they created a neutral backdrop for Saarinen’s bird-like creation. Whatever the case, I think the most interesting parts of cities — even airports — arise from the juxtaposition of old and new.

Why Old Places Matter by Thompson Mayes, vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, does an excellent job in defining and explaining more than a dozen reasons for preserving old buildings, be it a centuries-old house or a 50-year-old airline terminal. It consists of fourteen short essays between six and ten pages, each one arguing why old places matter: memory, beauty, history, architecture, sustainability, and so forth. Some of the arguments that batted around my head in regards to TWA were reiterated by Mayes. Such is the strength of his book: Although he references articles, books, and interviews that address the preservation of places, his book puts those words together into an accessible package that should aid people in understanding the value of preservation and explaining it to others. I could see it being used by people — citizens, not necessarily professionals — who want to protect this or that building or landscape but need help in articulating the why. Born from a six-month stay at the American Academy in Rome, Why Old Places Matter might be aimed at protecting old American places but its lessons are universal.

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Author Bio:

Thompson McCord Mayes, vice president and senior counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has spent his professional career preserving old places. In 2013, Tom was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize in Historic Preservation by the American Academy in Rome, and subsequently spent a six-month residency in Rome as a Fellow of the Academy. The essays that are collected in this publication came about as a result of that experience.

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The Nature of Design

The Nature of Design: Principles, Processes, and the Purview of the Architect
M. Scott Lockard
ORO Editions, May 2017

Paperback | 9-3/4 x 11-1/2 inches | 272 pages | English | ISBN: 978-1939621429 | $39.95

Publisher Description:

In this insightful, irreverent, and beautiful exposition of the design process, one of the world’s most prolific practitioners proposes an absolutely clear distinction between Design and Art.

Lockard asserts that the design profession itself accepts and often promotes a misleading definition of design, and here challenges professionals, their clients, and students of design to examine the fundamental nature of the discipline.

Conversational yet uncompromising in its message—illustrated throughout by hundreds of actual design drawings from real-world projects of all types demonstrating Lockard’s highly effective and versatile process—the book’s overarching principles will find application in all fields of design.

The Nature of Design also offers compelling insight into today’s biggest challenges for the field of design: the co-opting of the process by bureaucratic and industry forces, the disconnection of academia from practice, and the very real difficulties facing designers that encourage brain drain to related fields.

dDAB Commentary:

Today the AIA Conference on Architecture gets underway in Las Vegas. While I’m not attending the annual event hosted by the American Institute of Architects, I’ve been to many of them in the past, including last year’s in New York City. One thing the Conferences do, among many other things, is reorient my writing (as least temporarily) on this blog and at World-Architects from an emphasis on big names and high-profile commissions to more run-of-the-mill projects by the majority of the profession: architects who don’t get the exposure of the Bjarke Ingelses and Daniel Libeskinds. AIA does draw some big names, but most of the Conference — presenters and attendees, both — is made up of relatively unknown architects who design, detail, and manage building projects. I’m thinking of these experiences now because M. Scott Lockard wants, with The Nature of Design, to reorient architects away from heroic starchitecture and toward improving the design process of architects interested in pleasing their clients.

Lockard spells out his position early and consistently throughout the book. It boils down to two points: “The designer’s job is to serve the client,” and “Design is not art.” This is architecture as a service profession, one that serves the client: the person or company who owns the land, develops the program, takes the financial risks, and pays the architect. Those interested in architecture in service of society or of the environment need to look elsewhere. Furthermore, those interested in architectural aesthetics or, more accurately, architecture as a functional art, will probably find the book lacking. A look at the spreads below gives a clear indication of the types of designs — done by Lockard with and for various architecture firms— that permeate the book.

Lockard argues for a particular way of designing — one based on a clear prepare-propose-evaluate-repeat process and the use of analogies (stories) rather than a reliance on forms or effects — across seven chapters, ranging from the nature of design and designers to the process of design, style, and the profession. His conversational, sometimes humorous yet occasionally arrogant writing is accompanied by abundant illustrations: drawings and renderings that tend to number a few to a page. Though I can’t help but wonder if Lockard’s argument is aided or hindered by these images. They exhibit a skilled, consistent hand that goes along with the consistent voice of the text, but after a while the aerial renderings punctuated by spotlights and perspectival scenes populated by dozens of people (there is a clear focus on hospitality and entertainment typologies in his work) blur together. Furthermore, in most chapters the images are separate from rather than aligned with the text; an intentional integration (which happens in the process chapter) would have helped strengthen Lockard’s argument. Instead, the images distract from Lockard’s text, signaling the outcome of the design process before any architect interested in his approach has been able to digest it.

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Author Bio:

In more than three decades of architectural practice, M. Scott Lockard—the son of revered architectural educator W. Kirby Lockard—has had a hand in the design of projects of nearly every scale and type, in all phases of design, and on every continent. Beyond his own practice, Lockard has collaborated with more than seventy-five design firms, and thus has a unique and extremely realistic perspective on the practice of design today. His design and architecture firm, Lockard Creative, is located in Kentfield, California, just north of San Francisco.

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New Chinese Architecture

New Chinese Architecture: Twenty Women Building the Future
Austin Williams, Zhang Xin (Foreword)
Thames & Hudson, May 2019

Hardcover | 9 x 9-3/4 inches | 256 pages | 370+ illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-0500343388 | $45.00

Publisher Description:

Over the past decade, China’s new generation of female architects have proven themselves to be talented, confident, innovative, and successful on the world stage. Engaging with traditions and international trends, as well as posing entirely new architectural ideas, their projects reveal China to be a place full of creative possibility.

This book explores the work of twenty leading female architects living and working in China today. Together they represent a mix of creative talents who are having a significant influence on the national scene. Featuring detailed profiles of each architect, this book showcases over fifty of their key projects across China, from small- to large-scale, residential to commercial, and urban to rural developments, many never before published. With a foreword by business magnate Zhang Xin, one of China’s most celebrated female entrepreneurs, New Chinese Architecture offers unique insights into how architects are adapting and responding to the rapidly evolving social and political changes impacting life in the most populous country on Earth.

dDAB Commentary:

Though not Chinese, one woman is missing from this book of “women building the future” in China: Zaha Hadid. She designed no less than six buildings for China, four of them (Guangzhou Opera House, Galaxy SOHO and Sky SOHO, and Jockey Club Innovation Tower) completed before she died in 2016. Hadid’s impact on China was great in her lifetime and continues now and into the future, as projects she designed are realized posthumously. Hadid was actually supposed to write the foreword for New Chinese Architecture, which points to her importance for women architects in China and to the years that Austin Williams and his team put into researching and documenting the work of twenty of them. Although, in the words of Eva Jiřičná, who is quoted in the book’s introduction, the greatest tribute to Hadid would be to “eliminate the practice of talking about female architects” (my emphasis), the book’s focus on women architects (happenstance, per the author) draws attention to firms that don’t get as much press or recognition as others, and to women that are overshadowed by their male peers.

The twenty architects are presented in alphabetical order (from Di Shaohua to Zhao Zhao) with “articles taken from interviews” and documentation of two or more projects. The articles trace the architects’ paths toward architecture and heading their own firms, and discuss their points of view on architecture and design. The profile I flipped to first upon receiving the book was Lu Wenyu’s, known to most people as the other half of Wang Shu’s Amateur Architecture Studio. A pull quote — “I prefer privacy” — illuminates how she was fine with not being acknowledged by the Pritzker Prize jury; Wang Shu, also her husband, has lost his privacy since the Pritzker in 2012. Though only a couple pages of text is provided, it’s great to read about her past and her contributions to the joint practice. The same thing can be said about the other 19 architects in this important collection of impressive buildings.

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Author Bio:

Austin Williams is a senior lecturer in professional practice at the Kingston School of Art, London and an honorary research fellow at XJTLU in China. He is the director of the Future Cities Project, and the China correspondent for the Architectural Review.

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Balkrishna Doshi

Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People
Jolanthe Kugler, Khushnu Panthaki Hoof, Meike Wolfschlag (Editors)
Vitra Design Museum & Wüstenrot Foundation, May 2019

Hardcover | 10 x 12 inches | 400 pages | English | ISBN: 978-3945852316 | $85.00

Publisher Description:

The 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Balkrishna Doshi is one of India’s most influential architects, renowned for his harmonious designs that merge the formal language of classical modernism with Indian building traditions and local craft skills. Always designed with a sensitivity to the social, environmental and economic conditions of a given commission or site, Doshi’s architecture honors the past while at the same time accommodating the rapidly changing conditions and needs of modern India. Doshi has designed more than 100 buildings—educational and cultural institutions, public buildings, private residences and low-income housing projects among them—and has taught scores of students over the course of his 60-year career, a career distinguished by a sense of responsibility and dedication to the country and communities he has served.

Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People presents the first comprehensive survey of this groundbreaking architect’s oeuvre in over 20 years. With a complete overview of all of Doshi’s projects, it provides insights into the inspiration behind his work and the background to his projects through essays written by outstanding experts in the field. The richly illustrated book is further supplemented by an interview with the architect, an illustrated biography and new photographs that document the impressive timeliness of the Indian master’s buildings.

dDAB Commentary:

Last year, when Balkrishna Doshi won the Pritzker Architecture Prize and I was slated to write a piece on a few of his buildings on World-Architects, I ventured to the New York Public Library to look at a couple monographs on the Indian architect. James Steele’s Rethinking Modernism for the Developing World: The Complete Architecture of Balkrishna Doshi and William J. R. Curtis’s Balkrishna Doshi: An Architecture for India are both excellent books, but they are hard to find and are therefore expensive to buy. I’m fortunate enough to have the excellent research collection at NYPL, but for those who want to own a monograph on the now 91-year-old architect they now have a third option: the equally excellent Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People. A companion to the exhibition of the same name (at the Vitra Design Museum until September 8, 2019, and then traveling to Munich), the large-format book presents nearly thirty selected projects spanning six decades, nine essays, an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, four visual portfolios, and a thorough archive with timeline, catalog of complete works, and bibliography.

Given the timing of the book and exhibition, it’s easy to think that the Vitra Design Museum was jumping on the Pritzker bandwagon. Yet the museum directors clarify in their foreword that the exhibition was in the works before the Pritzker announcement; in fact it’s an extension of Doshi exhibitions in New Delhi in 2014 and Shanghai three years later. Architecture for the People was curated by Khushnu Panthaki Hoof of the Vāstu Shilpā Foundation, one half of Doshi’s studio in Ahmedabad that is better known as Sangath. Hoof penned the descriptions for the 28 projects that make up the bulk of the book. Her words are accompanied by photographs (both archival and recent) and drawings that alone make the book worth its cover price. These projects include Aranya, CEPT, and Sangath (the “3 masterpieces” I wrote about), as well as the Indian Institute of Management, Amdavad Ni Gufa, and other projects that have circulated widely in print and online since Doshi’s Pritzker win. But this section also includes a few “myths” by Doshi: texts the architect wrote to help in the creative process.

The projects, essays (including ones by Kenneth Frampton and Juhani Pallasmaa), portfolios and other content add up to a book that is beautiful from linen cover to linen cover. Each time I pick it up I’m surprised at how light it is. This stems from the paper selection: thick, matte pages for the bulk of the book and a lighter, newsprint for the back matter. On these papers the color photos and drawings don’t pop as much as they would on glossy pages, but that seems fitting for Doshi, whose architecture exhibits an earthiness rather than a modern polish. An odd touch is the layout of the text, in which the last line of each paragraph is centered on the justified text (see spreads below). For me this took some getting used to; when skipping around the text, rather than reading it in order, I would confuse these lines as the first of a paragraph instead of the last. Yet these visual and textual details are minor quibbles in a most welcome and intelligent survey of an architect worthy of the Pritzker accolade and a traveling retrospective.

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Author Bio:

Balkrishna Doshi began his architecture studies in 1947 before working with Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. He founded his own practice, Vastu Shilpa Consultants, in 1956, combining the lessons he learned from this earlier generation of architects with an understanding of Indian architectural traditions. In 2018, Doshi became the first-ever Indian winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

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Holiday Week + Astoria Talk & Walk

Today is Memorial Day, so I’ve decided to take the week off, not just today; regular posts will resume on Monday, June 3. One thing I’ll be doing this week is researching and finalizing a new walking tour of Astoria and Long Island City, Queens, that will take place on Sunday, June 2, as part of a book talk I’ll be giving at my neighborhood bookstore, Astoria Bookshop. The walk will immediately follow the talk and go from the bookstore (31-29 31st Street) to MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue). We will wind our way around parts of the Astoria, Dutch Kills, and Hunters Point neighborhoods, looking at new buildings and learning about the rezonings that have reshaped the area. Info about that event is below, on my Walking Tours page, and on the Astoria Bookshop website.

Astoria Bookshop
Sunday, June 2: 1pm
John Hill on NYC Walks: Guide to New Architecture
Join local Astoria author John Hill for a discussion of his book, NYC Walks: Guide to New Architecture, followed by a walking tour of Astoria and Long Island City, from Astoria Bookshop to MoMA PS1, looking at recent buildings of note as well as discussing the building boom in LIC.

Future Systems

Future Systems
Marcus Field
Phaidon, October 2000

Hardcover | 10 x 11-3/4 inches | 208 pages | English | ISBN: 9780714838311 | $X.00

Publisher Description:

Examines the continuing development of Future Systems, considered by many to be one of the most inspirational practices working today. The book features 30 recent projects, including at least eight built works, and designs for products and furniture, and also a glossary of projects from 1958-92. The recent and current building included in the text are the Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground, a yellow pontoon bridge at Canary Wharf, and one of the first millennium projects – the Earth centre, outside Doncaster.

dDAB Commentary:

On pages 190 and 191 in Phaidon’s new book Houses: Extraordinary Living, Gaetano Pesce’s Bahia House (1998) in Brazil and Future Systems’ Malator House (1994) in Wales face each other. They do this almost literally, since the round and slotted windows of the former make it appear like a face, while the round vents of the latter appear like two eyes set into the small glazed entry. Seeing the Malator House prompted me to dig into Phaidon’s earlier, eponymous book on Future Sytems, in which the House in Wales, as it’s called simply, is accompanied by dozens of other built and unbuilt projects. Published in 2000, Future Systems arrived at a hinge moment: between manual and digital processes in architectural production, for sure, but also between small and large projects and between good and bad times for Future Systems. One year before publication, the small UK firm led by husband-and-wife architects Jan Kaplický and Amanda Levete completed the Natwest Media Center in London, which earned them the Stirling Prize. In 2003, they would see the completion of their largest project, Selfridges in Birmingham, which I included in 100 Years, 100 Buildings. But by the end of the first decade of the millennium, Kaplický and Levete would divorce, they would split the firm into two, and Kaplický would die, in 2009 at the age of 71.

So flipping through the pages of Future Systems is an ironic experience, its optimism tinged with the knowledge of what would happen in the ensuing years. Everything in the book — its words by Marcus Field, the generous illustrations of projects and influences, even the rounded corners of its pages — looks to the future, an optimistic future of technology harnessed for good. Of course, events well outside of Future Systems’ control would steer the 21st century in a different direction, from the events of September 11 and the use of technology for surveillance, to the rise of social media and the shift of capitalism toward one of surveillance as well. Kaplický’s preference for blobs was rooted in an effort to apply technologies from, for instance, boat building to architecture (it happened with Natwest), but it was also one source of the split between him and Levete, who moved toward more “rational” and “practical” forms. Although architects have moved on from blobs, those who embrace technology to create flowing forms or even more rational forms through advanced means owe a lot to the pioneering work of Future Systems. In turn, this book is a great snapshot of a moment when history’s lessons were applied to architecture’s optimistic future.

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Author Bio:

Marcus Field is a freelance arts and architecture journalist. He has worked as an editor on the Architects’ Journal, Blueprint and The Independent on Sunday. He lives in Devon and London.

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MONU #30

MONU #30: Late Life Urbanism
Bernd Upmeyer (Editor-in-Chief)
BOARD Publishers, Spring 2019

Paperback | 7-3/4 x 10-1/2 inches | 128 pages | English | ISSN: 1860-3211 | $23.99

Publisher Description:

Retirement Utopianism – Interview with Deane Simpson by Bernd Upmeyer; Sun City by Peter Granser; The Great Escape: Domesticity for Nomadic Retirees by Hannah Wood and Benjamin Wells; Stayin’ Alive – Interview with Frits van Dongen by Bernd Upmeyer; Bucephalus by Nicolò Calandrini; The Future We Don’t Want to Know About by Anuschka Kutz; A Knock on the Door by Rachel Marlene Kauder; Ageing UK High Streets: Adding Life to Years by Luca Brunelli; Developing an Age-friendly Urbanism by Chris Phillipson; Traversing Heterotopias by Rafael Luna; What Kind of Care Do We Want? by Arjen Born; God’s Waiting Room by Julienne Gage; Intergenerational Living by BETA; Home for the Elderly by Junya Ishigami; Urban Neurodegeneration: Future Approaches to the Architecture of Care by Jack Sardeson; Mega Family Communities for China’s Aging Society by Apple Yi Jiang; Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever by Matthias Hollwich; Emmy’s World by Hanne van der Woude

dDAB Commentary:

Has MONU gone mainstream with its 30th issue? With previous issues focused on “Brutal Urbanism,” “Border Urbanism,” “Exotic Urbanism,” “Non-Urbanism,” “Transnational Urbanism,” and other sometimes marginal or avant-garde approaches to discussing cities, “Late Life Urbanism” feels fairly tame and highly practical. What comes to mind when thinking about urbanism for retirees and other people late in life? For me, it’s retirement communities such as The Villages, where my parents and 122,458 other seniors live. The place — studied by Deane Simpson in one of my favorite books, Young-Old: Urban Utopias of an Aging Society — is a cluster of gated “villages” oriented about dozens of golf courses and anchored by a trio of “town centers.” The town centers are themed (Spanish, Seaside, Western) but pedestrian-oriented, while the villages are sprawling, requiring a car or golf cart to get around. Outside of the miles of golf cart paths, the most interesting aspect of The Villages, the place is very conservative, bland. So how can late life urbanism move beyond conservative, age-restrictive versions of the suburbs?

Bernd Upmeyer, editor in chief of MONU, begins the 30th issue with an interview with Simpson, who describes Young-Old in depth and points out the problematic issues of places like The Villages (exclusivity, segregation, etc.). Later he interviews Frits van Dongen, the former Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands, about projects and urban situations that work for old people but are not restricted to them. In essence, the Dutch model and The Villages model are at either end of the late life urbanism spectrum, meaning there’s plenty to explore in between. Beyond those interviews, MONU #30 has sixteen contributions that range from essays (e.g., “Traversing Heterotopias,” in which Rafael Luna applies Michael Foucault’s notion to Seoul in the future) and projects (Junya Ishigami’s project for people with dementia that consists of old, familiar houses slated for demolition but rebuilt together in one location) to photography (Peter Granser’s look at Sun City, Arizona, the USA’s oldest adults-only community. While there’s nothing overtly avant-garde here, the work, ideas, and research around design for aging —  in a world that is getting increasingly older — is too important to ignore.

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Author Bio:

Bernd Upmeyer is the founder of BOARD and editor in chief of MONU – Magazine on Urbanism. He studied architecture and urban design at the University of Kassel (Germany) and the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands).

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Houses

Houses: Extraordinary Living
Phaidon Editors
Phaidon, May 2019

Hardcover | 9-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches | 448 pages | 400 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-0714878096 | $59.95

Publisher Description:

Throughout history, houses have presented architects the world over with infinite opportunities to experiment with new methods and materials for domestic living. Houses: Extraordinary Living celebrates the incredible diversity and beauty of the house as never before, from Modernist icons to feats of technological, material, and spatial innovation in the 21st century.

The 400 houses in this collection are organized in curated pairings, with each entry featuring an evocative image and an engaging description. Styles presented include Modernism, Postmodernism, Brutalism, Regionalism, Deconstructivism, and International Style. Houses are from countries and locations worldwide that are famed for their houses, such as Australia and Japan, the Case Study Houses in Los Angeles, New Canaan in Connecticut, and Fire Island in New York.

Explore the creative imaginations of hundreds of internationally renowned architects past and present, as well as dozens of awe-inspiring houses by lesser-known and emerging talents. Iconic architects of the twentieth century, including Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Marcel Breuer, as well as the very best of contemporary architects working around the world today, such as Tadao Ando, Grafton, and Steven Holl are included.

dDAB Commentary:

Earlier this year I reviewed Drawing Architecture, noting how the book, published by Phaidon and authored by Helen Thomas, paired two drawings per spread in “an associational approach” meant to, as described in the book, “provide imaginative space for the reader to make their own connections between the images.” Similarly, the 400 houses from 1901-2018 in Houses: Extraordinary Living are presented as “visual pairs” rather than in alphabetical, chronological, or geographical order. As Sam Lubell writes in the Introduction, with echoes of Drawing Architecture, this approach is used “to provide imaginative space for the reader to make their own connections.” So in the case of Andrew Geller’s Pearlroth House (Long Island, NY, 1959) and Moon Hoon’s Simple House (Jeju-si, South Korea, 2017), as seen in the bottom spread, we’re drawn to the diagonals, which we’d be focused on anyways, even if each house were seen separately. But together, we’re inclined to consider how the diagonals are used in each house: as boxes rotated 45 degrees to contain rooms and as structural members used to brace the house’s concrete boxes against strong winds.

With 200 such pairs, the book can be read in a number of ways: comparing and contrasting the visual pairs, learning about new houses never encountered before (my preferred way), learning about the houses through the short descriptions that accompany the photos, or using the timeline at the back of the book to hone in on contemporaneous creations. Whatever the case, this compilation, like Drawing Architecture and other titles with one item per page, is a jumping-off place for learning about houses and architects of interest. After all, how much information can be conveyed with one exterior photo and a dozen lines of text? The photos serve to pique the readers interest, while the descriptions expand upon the qualities of each house and give readers a better idea if they want to look for more information elsewhere. For fans of modern residential architecture, there is an abundance of interesting projects. I write about architecture for a living, but I came across many houses I’d never seen before or architects I’d never heard of — a testament to the diversity of house assembled by the editors at Phaidon.

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Author Bio:

N/A

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Bernard Trainor

Bernard Trainor: Ground Studio Landscapes
Bernard Trainor
Princeton Architectural Press, May 2019

Hardcover | 12 x 9 inches | 224 pages | English | ISBN: 978-1616897826 | $55.00

Publisher Description:

Bernard Trainor’s newest book celebrates the wild and elemental landscapes of California, from the craggy coasts of Big Sur to the fertile hills of Sonoma wine country. His award-winning work combines an awareness of regional context with materials, collaboration, and deep connection to the land. Beautifully photographed and documented with full color plans, the projects in this survey of his recent work include a range of scale, from compact urban gardens to expansive rural sites. Trainor’s regional, sustainable approach inspires wonder and respect for nature as it aims to preserve and restore it.

dDAB Commentary:

Not long before this week’s publication of this monograph, Bernard Trainor + Associates changed its name to Ground Studio, “honoring the collaboration inherent in [their] team of artists and designers working together to envision and craft contextual California landscapes.” Based on this book and Ground Studio’s website, the California landscapes that Trainor has crafted are exclusively residential, many of them accompanying modern houses designed by some familiar names: Feldman Architecture, William McDonough + Partners, Sagan Piechota Architecture (now Piechota Architecture), and Swatt | Miers Architects, to name a few. More than the style of architecture – building or landscape – what comes across in this monograph is the unity of the two. These are residences where house and yard become one, where indoor and outdoor spaces sometimes blur, and where landscapes are anything but leftover spaces.

A few projects stand out from the dozen presented in these pages. Arroyo Sequoia (first three spreads below and the cover photo) has the house in Carmel, designed by Daniel Piechota, bridging an exterior stair that unites the site’s low and high levels, and includes some creative details and outdoor rooms. Elsewhere in Carmel, Trainor softens the concrete walls of Feldman Architecture’s Butterfly HouseBig Rock (fourth spread), also done with Piechota, is a balanced mix of building and landscape, following the site’s slope and integrating itself into the Napa setting. There’s something to like in every project, and with colored plans, short descriptions, and plenty of photographs, there’s plenty for both architects and landscape architects to enjoy. Landscape architects in particular should appreciate the project details at the back of the book, where Trainor generously lists the hardscape and plant materials used on each project.

Spreads:

Author Bio:

Bernard Trainor is an Australian-born designer and founding principal and design director of Ground Studio Landscapes, based in Monterey, California. His projects have been featured in a wide range of books and publications and are the recipients of numerous awards. His previous book is Landprints.

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