In a recent Q&A with the Boston Globe, Daniel Libeskind made it clear that when it comes to books, he doesn’t just look at the pictures. Titles on the architect’s current reading list reflect a predilection for essays and short stories—Borges, Melville, and Walter Benjamin, among others. He told the Globe that he keeps a set of Edgar Allan Poe stories on his bedside table.
In just the nick of time for outdoor summer weekends in New York City, Norton Architecture and Design Books has released a Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes. It’s a concise and beautifully illustrated guide to thirty-eight public spaces that claims to be the “first wide-ranging survey of New York urban landscapes from the first half of the nineteenth century to, well, tomorrow.”
Though books typically fall outside the scope of what we consider to be architectural products, we’re making an exception for Thames & Hudson’s new publication, Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography. Those familiar with Corbu’s much photographed architectural work may not know that he was something of a shutterbug himself. According to the publisher, he not only “harnessed the power of the photographic image to define and disseminate his persona, his ideas and buildings,” but his influence on the medium led to the rise of photography in general. From another perspective the book provides a more intimate way to access Le Corbusier’s creative process and some of the surprising inspirations behind his work, including images of him in his preferred office attire—his birthday suit.
Calm like Rahm. Halloween might be over, but we couldn’t resist sharing this Facebook photo of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel riding public transit with zombies! The photo was posted with the following caption: “In case of a zombie apocalypse, remember to stay calm like Rahm.” (h/t Transportation Nation)
S, M, L, XL, XXL. The AIA-Chicago has released their latest round of awards and the Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin takes a look at the winners, lauding the range of project scales undertaken by Chicago architects, from a small pavilion to the world’s tallest building.
Tracking LA. While Chicago has zombies, LA County has some cold hard cash. Everything Long Beach reports that eight key transportation projects were awarded $448 million including a 6.7 light rail line that is expected to become one of the busiest lines in the U.S.
Sacred sale. Bankrupt mega-church Crystal Cathedral has found a buyer for their expansive, starchitect-studded Southern California campus (think Philip Johnson, Neutra, and Meier). The LA Times says Chapman University will pay $50 mil for the site, allowing the slimmed-down church to stay and eventually buy back their core building.
Philly reads. In this economy, small book stores—especially architecture book stores—are struggling to keep their doors open. Philly is bucking this trend as the AIA Philadelphia opens up a new shop working with the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Washington Square.
Many have lamented the disappearance of so many architecture book stores in recent years, chief among them the much-missed Prarie Avenue Books in Chicago. The Graham Foundation is doing their part to begin to fill that void by selling a selection of books at their stately home, the Madlener house.
Tonight, the Foundation is hosting a holiday party and book store launch, from 5-8pm. The delightful exhibition, Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown, is also on view. Stop by and stock up. The Graham Foundation, 4 West Burton Place, Chicago.
Among the dozens of books that arrive in our office, I found myself quickly drawn into Alan K. Lathrop’s handsome new guide Minnesota Architects: A Biographical Dictionary. The volume includes nearly forgotten 19th century architects all the way up to leading contemporary practitioners like Vincent James, David Salmela, and Julie Snow. While the book might sound like a dry reference, Lathrop includes concise descriptions of the individuals and firms, including their educational and professional lineages. Black and white photographs, both contemporary and historial, illustrate the book, and most are larger than the postage stamp-sized images found in many guides. Lathrop also connects professional collaborations between individuals, so the book feels like a yearbook for the state’s architects.
It’s a form of refence book that should be copied. For now, Minnesota Architects is poised to become the new standard reference for anyone looking to learn more about the state’s rich built heritage and its well developed professional culture.
The Monacelli Press has announced publication of a five-volume monograph on SOM. According to the publisher, the five books offer a near complete history of the iconic firm’s work from the 1950s to the present. Each project featured is illustrated with archival and new photographs, as well as drawings, and each volume begins with an essay from such well-known architecture critics as Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Albert Bush Brown, and Kenneth Frampton. The first three volumes are reprints of editions published by Verlag Gerd Hatje in 1963, 1974, and 1984, though their layouts have been updated and their covers redesigned to create a consistent aesthetic with the two new volumes. The monographs go on sale in October, though they are currently available for pre-order on Random House’s website.
In a rare east/west AN meet-up, our California editor, Sam Lubell, was in New York last night for a launch for his new book London 2000+. The book, from the Monacelli Press, surveys recent architecture in the British capital, from well-known works like Foster + Partner’s “Gherkin” to the Gazzano House by Amin Taha Architects. Read More