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Monograph: Mies by Detlef Mertins

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the twentieth century’s most influential architects. His most well-known projects include the Barcelona Pavilion in Spain (1929); the Seagram Building in New York (1954-56); the Farnsworth House (1945-50), 860 and 880 Lakeshore Drive (1945-51) and the IIT Campus (1939-58), all in and around Chicago, and the New National Gallery in Berlin (1962-68). These are only a few of Mies’s pavilions, houses, skyscrapers and campuses, which all epitomized a radically new structural and spatial clarity.

The purity of his Mies’s architecture is almost surprising in light the diversity of his interests. An auto-didact, Mies studied philosophy and science as well as design. Author Detlef Mertins, spent over ten years researching and writing this comprehensive monograph. In addition to traveling to see the buildings and reading nearly everything written by and about Mies, Mertins also conducted a detailed study of the architectural, philosophical and scientific literature in Mies’s own library. The result is a lucid text that not only gives the reader detailed insight into all of Mies’s work, but which also explores the variety of ideas that influenced this exceptional figure. The scholarship is rigorous, but the accessible writing and the highly visual, project-by-project presentation also invites those readers who possess an interest in the topic, but who lack detailed knowledge in it.

Arranged in chronological order, the book’s five sections and its conclusion offer a synthetic portrait of Mies’s career and reception, spanning sixty years, two continents and two world wars. The text tells a continuous story, however, most chapters focus on a significant work (the Seagram building or the IIT campus), allowing for an in-depth presentation of photographs and drawings; other chapters focus on a specific event in Mies’s life (such Mies’s time as the head of the Bauhaus).

All the important buildings are presented through photographs, drawings and diagrams, showing the innovative structures, fine details and material richness that distinguish Mies’s work. In addition, many pieces of art and architecture that influenced Mies are also illustrated as well as being discussed in the text.

Mies, by Detlef Mertins, Published by Phaidon, Hardback, 305 x 208 mm (12 x 9 3/8 in), 560 pp, 750 illustrations ISBN: 9780714839622 | 0714839620
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Monograph: Álvaro Siza: Complete Works 1952-2013

When Álvaro Siza, one of the great figures of contemporary architecture, won the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 1992, the Jury described his forms as “molded by light, [with] a deceptive simplicity about them; they are honest. They solve design problems directly…. That simplicity, upon closer examination however, is revealed as great complexity. There is a subtle mastery underlying what appears to be natural creations.”

Born in Matosinhos, Portugal, in 1933, Siza created his own practice in Porto in 1954, and he has been a Professor of Construction at the University of Porto since 1976. The architect can fill shelf afer shelf with his awards and prizes to-date: He received the European Community’s Mies van der Rohe Prize in 1988 and the Praemium Imperiale in Japan in 1997, the 2009 RIBA Gold Medal, and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.

He has built a large number of projects in Portugal, and worked on the restructuring of the Chiado area of Lisbon following a devastating fire in 1988. Siza designed both the Portuguese Pavilion for the 1998 Lisbon World’s Fair and the 2005 Serpentine Pavilion in London in collaboration with Eduardo Souto de Moura. He completed the Serralves Foundation in Porto, 1998, and the Museum for the Iberê Camargo Foundation in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2008.

Álvaro Siza. Complete Works 1952-2013, Edited by Philip Jodidio, Hardcover, 30,8 x 39 cm, 500 pages,
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German

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Books: The Architect’s Home

The greatest challenge in designing homes is negotiating the delicate balance between aesthetics and the personal desires of the occupants. While it’s important for the structure to reflect the vision and style of the architect, the client must ultimately feel at home beneath the roof. It is particularly interesting, therefore, to examine the homes that architects create for themselves. If houses reflect their owners’ personalities, then architects’ own homes are like autobiographies. Location, layout, style, lighting, artwork, furnishings-every detail adds color to the story. Each of these dwellings, presented A-Z by architect, speaks more about its designer than any other building possibly could.

The Architect’s Home, by Gennaro Postiglione, Hardcover, 20.8 x 27.4 cm, 480 pages, published by Taschen, Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs

Rock the Shack takes us to the places we long for. For the first time in the history of humankind, more people live in cities than in the country. Yet, at the same time, more and more city dwellers are yearning for rural farms, mountain cabins, or seaside homes. These kinds of refuges offer modern men and women a promise of what urban centers usually cannot provide: quiet, relaxation, being out of reach, getting back to basics, feeling human again.

Rock the Shack is a survey of such contemporary refuges from around the world–from basic to luxury. The book features a compelling range of sparingly to intricately furnished cabins, cottages, second homes, tree houses, transformations, shelters, and cocoons. The look of the included structures from the outside is just as important as the view from inside. What these diverse projects have in common is an exceptional spirit that melds the uniqueness of a geographic location with the individual character of the building’s owner and architect.

Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs, Editors: S. Ehmann, S. Borges, 24 x 30 cm, 240 pages, full color, hardcover, English, ISBN: 978-3-89955-466-3, Published by gestalten
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Books: Long Island Modernism 1930 – 1980

An essential reference for architecture buffs, historians, and everyone who lives on or visits Long Island today, this unique resource–the first illustrated history of Long Island’s modern architecture–is based on a survey conducted for the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA). It highlights the work within Suffolk and Nassau counties of a roster of twenty-five internationally renowned architects–among them Wallace Harrison, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, Edward Durell Stone, Richard Neutra, William Lescaze, Gordon Chadwick for George Nelson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Paul Rudolph, and Richard Meier.

Caroline Rob Zaleski’s research on the work of key figures in twentieth-century architecture; the relatively unknown aspects of their production; and their associations with clients, artists, and politicians is complemented by more than three hundred striking archival photographs, specially commissioned new photography, and plans. Zaleski documents the development of exurbia and the rise of visionary structures: residences for commuters and weekenders, public housing, houses of worship, universities, shopping centers, and office complexes. In this part architectural, part social history, she explains why modernism was embraced by Long Island’s civic, cultural, and business leaders–as well as by those who wanted to settle away from the city–during an epoch when open space was prime for development. An inventory of important architects, with their Long Island commissions by date and location, complements the main text.

Long Island Modernism 1930 – 1980, by Caroline Rob Zaleski (Author), Published by W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9.4 × 12.3 in / 336 pages, ISBN 9780393733150

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Books: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed

Photographer Frédéric Chaubin reveals 90 buildings sited in fourteen former Soviet Republics which express what he considers to be the fourth age of Soviet architecture. His poetic pictures reveal an unexpected rebirth of imagination, an unknown burgeoning that took place from 1970 until 1990. Contrary to the 1920s and 1950s, no “school” or main trend emerges here. These buildings represent a chaotic impulse brought about by a decaying system. Their diversity announced the end of the Soviet Union.

Taking advantage of the collapsing monolithic structure, the holes in the widening net, architects went far beyond modernism, going back to the roots or freely innovating. Some of the daring ones completed projects that the Constructivists would have dreamt of (Druzhba Sanatorium, Yalta), others expressed their imagination in an expressionist way (Palace of Weddings, Tbilisi). A summer camp, inspired by sketches of a prototype lunar base, lays claim to Suprematist influence (Prometheus youth camp, Bogatyr). Then comes the “speaking architecture” widespread in the last years of the USSR: a crematorium adorned with concrete flames (Crematorium, Kiev), a technological institute with a flying saucer crashed on the roof (Institute of Scientific Research, Kiev), a political center watching you like Big Brother (House of Soviets, Kaliningrad). This puzzle of styles testifies to all the ideological dreams of the period, from the obsession with the cosmos to the rebirth of identity. It also outlines the geography of the USSR, showing how local influences made their exotic twists before the country was brought to its end.

Frédéric Chaubin Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed, by Frédéric Chaubin, Hardcover, 26 x 34 cm (10.2 x 13.4 in.), 312 pages, ISBN: 9783836525190, Multilingual Edition: English, French, German, Published by: Taschen

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Books: Cellophane House™ by KieranTimberlake

With 110 illustrations and detailed commentary by the architects, the book chronicles the design and execution of a five-story, off-site fabricated home assembled on-site in just sixteen days as part of the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling. Through a series of questions, the book explores several of KieranTimberlake’s ongoing research agendas including speed of on-site assembly, design for disassembly, a holistic approach to the life cycle of materials, and the development of a lightweight, high-performance, energy gathering building envelope.

Cellophane House™ takes a holistic approach to factory fabrication, reinventing the way a building is assembled, its materials, and spatial experience. An innovative aluminum frame enables mass-customization of the home in multiple configurations, rapid assembly, and adaptability to different sites and climates. Disassembly, rather than demolition, is inherent as an end-of-life option to successfully preserve the embodied energy in the recyclable house materials. More than a building experiment, it suggests a new way forward in an approach to mass housing.

Cellophane House™ by KieranTimberlake, Paperback, 156 pages, 5.875″ x 8.25″, 110 color illustrations, ISBN: 9780983130130
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Monograph: Allied Works Architecture: Brad Cloepfil Occupation

With some of their best work yet to be built, the new monograph on Allied Works Architecture, takes an in-depth look at their work to date. Including some of their best known work: the offices of advertising giant Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Oregon.

This exhaustive publication documents all of the projects to date of American architect Brad Cloepfil (*1956). The first monograph on Cloepfil and his office, Allied Works Architecture, it presents in-depth accounts of his works, many of which include photographs, architectural drawings, models, as well as project descriptions. Featured projects include the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Clyfford Still Museum, and the National Music Centre of Canada.
Architectural historians Kenneth Frampton and Sandy Isenstadt contribute texts that include detailed analyses of several of the buildings. An important element of the book is a series of extended conversations between Cloepfil and artists Doug Aitken, Ann Hamilton, and Ben Rubin, landscape designer Douglas Reed, ecologist Eric Sanderson, theologian and philosopher Mark Taylor, and engineer and manufacturer Jan Tichelaar.

Allied Works Architecture: Brad Cloepfil: Occupation, Published by Hatje Cantz, English, 2011. 440 pp., 481 color ills., 12 foldouts, 25 x 31.4cm, hardcover, ISBN: 9783775728386, Buy it here: Amazon

Books: Ivan Leonidov

Ivan Leonidov (1902 – 1959 was a constructivist architect, but also a painter, urban planner and a dreamer. He realised only one project in his lifetime: a staircase on a hillside in Kislovodsk.

“It is sad that the vast majority of sketchbook plans and competition entries reproduced in this album were never built. Ivan Leonidov was surely one of the most innovative and humanistic architects to come out of early Russian modernism. His Constructivist-inspired projects embody the same revolutionary spirit as Vladimir Tatlin’s celebrated 1919 tower. In his later buildings, medieval Russian motifs mingle with pyramids, amphitheaters, pagodas, to reflect his love of Eastern and classical cultures. Many of his visions were quixotichis United Nations headquarters, for example, or the Island of Flowers park in the Dnepr River but all are inspirational. Vilified in the 1930s, Leonidov has lately undergone a “rehabilitation” in the Soviet Union.”

In the first half of his life, Leonidov’s work quickly became widely known. Even Le Corbusier and Niemeyer had fell under the charm of the strong so-called leonidovskogo “definitive breakthrough”. Then the Soviet coined the term “leonidovschina” and the great architect of the Iron Curtain was isolated from the world of architecture. After the war, Leonidov developed with his sketches some grandiose projects of the utopian City of Sun. The conception of this ideal city began to emerge in Leodinov’s thinking during the thirties. It took shape during the war years, and was inspired by Campanella’s book of that title and the Italian socialista-utopian’s concepts.

Russian Utopias, Ivan Leonidov, via: dpr-barcelona

Leonidov, by Andrei Gozak and Andrei Leonidov, 216 Pages, Published by Rizzoli, 1988, ISBN: 084780951X
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Books: Piero Lissoni: Recent Architecture

“I am a humanist. To me, a chair is just as important as a tower.”
- Piero Lissoni

The products of the Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni (* 1956) are all objects of desire: He has a number of timeless, modern private villas designed, set up sophisticated hotel, designed incredibly elegant yachts and uncompromisingly clear furniture, kitchens, bathrooms and objects for business such as Alessi, Boffi, Cassina, Flos, Fritz Hansen, Kartell, Knoll, Living Divani, and Tecno Thonet developed. “In the Milanese tradition first one is an architect, then it is also an engineer or designer. You will be able to design a spoon but also a whole city,” said the great artist.

Lissoni sensual minimalism requires quality materials, perfectly crafted details and excellent feel. This is also reflected in this monograph to his architectural and design work that was put together by Lissoni.

Piero Lissoni: Recent Architecture, by Giovanni Gastel, texts by Stefano Casciani, Birte Kreft, Deyan Sudjic, Published by Hatje Cantz, 224 pp., 137 color ills., 28.70 x 28.70 cm, hardcover, ISBN 9783775724623

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