Amazing Ideas into the Future: Winka Dubbeldam’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter August 2, 2011
Winka Dubbeldam

Architect Winka Dubbeldam:
Archi-Tectonics (New York)

book list

In an interview* earlier this year, Winka Dubbeldam recalled that her parents enjoyed buying and building new homes—an obsession that resulted in her moving 15 times in the 17 years she lived with them. It isn’t really a surprise, then, that she ended up as an architect with a particular interest in progressive residential work. Her worldwide reputation now also extends to office tower, commercial, hospitality, and interior design work.

At the Academy of Architecture in Rotterdam, the Dutch-born Dubbeldam studied with Paul Meuwisse, who introduced her to the work of philosopher Gilles Deleuze among other contemporary thinkers. Noting that “in general I prefer reading philosophy over architecture books,” among the selections on her list for Designers & Books she includes A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1988)—which, she says, “rethinks all and projects amazing ideas into the future.”

For those not familiar with the book, this note from the translator’s foreword suggests both the rewards of the book and also its challenges: 

This is a book that speaks of many things, of ticks and quilts and fuzzy subsets and nomadology and political economy. It is difficult to know how to approach it. What do you do with a book that dedicates an entire chapter to music and animal behavior—and then claims that it isn’t a chapter? That presents itself as a network of “plateaus” that are precisely dated, but can be read in any order? That deploys a complex technical vocabulary drawn from a wide range of disciplines in the sciences, mathematics, and the humanities, but whose authors recommend that you read it as you would listen to a record?

 Also on Dubbeldam’s list are two books by Kevin Kelly—a founding editor of Wired magazine and longtime commentator on cyberculture. About his best-known book, Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World (1995), which compares complex intelligence systems to biological organisms, and was a source of inspiration for the 1999 science fiction-action movie The Matrix, Dubbeldam states, "This book is a classic and everyone should read it."

Archi-Tectonics: Winka Dubbledam, 2011 (DAAB)

Everyone should also read the three books Dubbeldam has written.
Work that looks toward the future is the trademark of her firm, the studio/laboratory Archi-Tectonics, founded in 1994. The newest of her books is a monograph released by DAAB in March of this year with texts in five languages.

Wondering whether it would be about philosophy or architecture or something else entirely, we asked Dubbeldam what she is currently reading. Her answer: Kenzo Tange and the Metabolist Movement: Urban Utopias of Modern Japan, by Zhongjie Lin (Routledge, 2010).

* “Winka Dubbeldam,”, February 11, 2011.

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