An Appetite for Nearly Everything I Encounter: Craig Hodgetts’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter February 28, 2012

Craig Hodgetts

Architect Craig Hodgetts: Hodgetts + Fung Design and Architecture (Los Angeles)

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Since the 1970s, when he collaborated with Robert Mangurian in the cutting-edge firm Studio Works, to his talked-about recent installation with partner Hsinming Fung for the “Pacific Standard Time” exhibition California Design, 1930–1965 (on view through June 3, 2012, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Craig Hodgetts has pursued a remarkable range of interests. In his architecture, writing, and teaching, he has drawn on automotive and lighting design, information technology, and theater and film, among many other areas. He has, as he says in the introduction to the list he created for Designers & Books, “an appetite for nearly everything I encounter.”

The books on his list reflect this spirit—they are“ indicators of how one might think about and relate to the incredibly diverse surroundings with which we interact on a daily basis.” This is a list where you can find Frank Lloyd Wright’s Letters to Clients and also Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. Included alongside the McMaster-Carr Catalog (several thousand pages of industrial tools and raw materials) is composer John Cage’s Silence (also on Antoine Predock’s book list).

Hodgetts + Fung: Scenarios and Spaces, 1997 (Rizzoli International Publications)

Hodgetts comments on the ways these books have touched and continue to affect his work. Just a few examples: Le Cobusier’s Creation is a Patient Search (on Steven Holl’s book list, too), “with its rants, ravings, and alternating scolding and ecstatic tone, helped me, and countless others, to develop a healthy disregard for conventional wisdom and opt, instead, to operate outside the box.” Architect Norman Bel Geddes’s Horizons offers “a practical, if sadly unrecognized, template for a romantic, heroic environment” that “continues to inspire me.” About Edward R. Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (also on the book lists of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Véronique Vienne), Hodgetts says, “I find myself referring to it so often that Tufte has nearly attained the status of a verb.”

The work of Craig Hodgetts and Hsinming Fung—the firm received the 1994 Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the 1996 Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design—can be found in the monograph Hodgetts + Fung: Scenarios and Spaces (1997, Rizzoli International Publications).

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