Book List of the Week

Cino Zucchi’s Book List: Inner Resonances

By Steve Kroeter November 18, 2013
Cino Zucchi, Architect: CZA — Cino Zucchi Architetti (Milan)
View Cino Zucchi’s Book List

“Encountering knowledge is like encountering love,” writes Milan-based architect Cino Zucchi in the introduction to his book list. “The books that have been meaningful to us are more often ‘found’ than searched for, and the long-lasting impression they make on our mind or soul is caused by inner resonances. Sometimes they are sitting on the shelf right next to the one we were looking for, sometimes we are just inspired by their whimsical title in someone else’s bibliography, sometimes they are passed on by a friend. . .”

With an architect’s eye, Zucchi observes further, “In our mind, the books we read form an elaborate geography of towns, valleys, cities; we love to visit new sites, but also to go back from time to time to places we love, seeing how much our memory has deformed their squares and their alleys to become a meaningful backdrop of our own wandering paths.”

Among the titles that have resonated for Zucchi are Borges’s anthology of short stories Ficciones, which, Zucchi says, contain “a perfect language for a perfect narrative construction, in which the exactness of argumentation leads to making paradoxes true.” He also includes Paul Valéry’s Introduction to the Method of Leonardo da Vinci, saying that the author, a poet, “decided to quit poetry and write about almost every field of human experience.” The late naturalist Stephen Jay Gould’s Bully for Brontosaurus is accompanied by this description from Zucchi: “Plain language and sophisticated thought by one of the last scientists with deep humanistic interests. Gould narrates the story of the QWERTY keypad as it were that of a mollusk of the ’Cambrian explosion.’” Included along with several titles on architecture and form-making is Bernard Rudofsky’s Architecture Without Architects (on five other Designers & Books lists). Zucchi calls this book, which advocates for architecture as a community experience, “a healthy antidote to self-centered design attitudes!”  

Inspiration and Process in Architecture: Cino Zucchi (2012, Moleskine®; distributed by Chronicle Books). Photo courtesy of Moleskine®

Cino Zucchi, who is known for his residential buildings in Venice and Milan, and the extension of the National Automobile Museum in Turin, is the recipient of several awards, including being honored at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale for his installation Copycat: Empathy and Envy as Form-makers. His methods and approach are detailed in his latest book, Inspiration and Process in Architecture: Cino Zucchi, part of a special series by Moleskine® (distributed by Chronicle Books) that collects the project drawings, sketches, and notes of key contemporary architects in the signature Moleskine journal format (bound between raw cardboard covers with a colored spine and elastic band). The result is a layered and intimate journey through the geography of Zucchi's thoughts and way of seeing.

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