Agents of Change: Galia Solomonoff’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter February 14, 2012

Galia Solomonoff

Architect Galia Solomonoff: Solomonoff Architecture Studio (SAS) (New York)

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The architect Galia Solomonoff, a native of Argentina, traces her attachment to books to a memorable incident:

“In 1975, my parents burned a significant and dear part of our library as Isabel Perón signed a number of decrees empowering the military to ‘annihilate’ the Argentine left. It was a Sunday morning in winter. We were at our suburban house on the Paraná River and I was seven. I passed books to my father in silence; we did a barbecue to cover up the burning of the books. I passed an annotated volume of Charles Fourier—I don’t remember the title, but I remember it was red, leather-bound, and about 4 x 7 inches. The respect for books has been with me ever since.”

So begins the introduction to the book list Solomonoff sent to Designers & Books. A committed educator (Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation) as well as practitioner (Dia:Beacon), Solomonoff views books as agents of change with the power to provoke both thought and action.

Among the ten titles on her book list are Felicity Scott’s study of the 1960s experimental architecture and design group Ant Farm, which has Solomonoff wondering “where utopia and play may find their places in architecture right now”; and The Charlottesville Tapes, a glimpse into architecture’s prevailing men-only “boys’ club” of the early 1980s and a (“fun”) “reminder of how much things have changed and how much good there still is to do.”

Post-Ductility: Metals in Architecture and Engineering, edited by Michael Bell and Craig Buckley, forthcoming 2012 (Princeton Architectural Press)

Two books she includes examine modern capitalism and its excesses: Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine and Giles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus (also on architect Winka Dubbeldam’s book list). And there is poet-punk rocker Patti Smith’s memoir of her early days in New York with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids, which prompts Solomonoff to say about “young creative talent struggling to survive,” that “it makes me pause every time I see a twenty-something counting change to pay for anything.”

Solomonoff also sent us two equally provocative titles from her current reading list—the late Manning Marable’s Malcolm X and Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City; and two 2011 design books of special note: Sylvia Lavin’s Kissing Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press) and Jeanne Gang’s Reveal (Princeton Architectural Press). Her own writing appears, most recently, in Post-Ductility: Metals in Architecture and Engineering (forthcoming May 2012, Princeton Architectural Press).

View Galia Solomonoff’s Profile     View Galia Solomonoff’s Book List

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