Valerio Olgiati Editor
Quart Architektur, Lucerne, 2013, English
Nonfiction, Architecture; Nonfiction, Photography
4.1 x 7.6 inches, hardcover, 424 pages, 335 color and black-and-white illustrations
ISBN: 9783037610695

From the Publisher. I asked architects to send me important images that show the basis of their work. Images that are in their head when they think. Images that show the origin of their architecture. In this book we find 44 individual "musées imaginaires". The most unique architects living today each present up to 10 images to explain the autobiographical roots of their oeuvre. The images are explanations, metaphors, foundations, memories and intentions. They are poetic and philosophical avowals. They reveal a personal perspective on thoughts. They show the roots of architecture and expectations concerning projects. Conscious and unconscious. This book has the format of a reader. As little as possible is said. The images are small, legible and interpretable as icons. As individual collections, they present a personal view of an individual world, while as a whole they provide a universal view of the perceptible origin of contemporary architecture. (Valerio Olgiati).

The list comprises the 44 most unique architects living today: David Adjaye, Francisco Aires Mateus, Manuel Aires Mateus, Alejandro Aravena, Ben van Berkel, Mario Botta, Alberto Campo Baeza, Adam Caruso, Peter St John, David Chipperfield, Preston Scott Cohen, Hermann Czech, Roger Diener, Peter Eisenman, Sou Fujimoto, Antón Garcia-Abril, Go Hasegawa, Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Steven Holl, Anne Holtrop, Junya Ishigami, Arata Isozaki, Toyo Ito, Bijoy Jain (Studio Mumbai), Momoyo Kaijima, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow), Christian Kerez, Hans Kollhoff, Winy Maas (MVRDV), Peter Märkli, Jürgen Mayer H., Richard Meier, Glenn Murcutt, Ryue Nishizawa, Valerio Olgiati, John Pawson, Cecilia Puga, Smiljan Radic, Richard Rogers, Kazuyo Sejima, Jonathan Sergison, Stephen Bates, Miroslav Šik, Alvaro Siza Vieira, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Peter Wilson (Bolles + Wilson), Peter Zumthor.

On 1 book list
John Hill

As part of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012, Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati responded to curator David Chipperfield’s theme of Common Ground by asking 44 architects to contribute images that reveal “views into the mind of the architect's visual world.” The Polaroid-size “pictographs” were assembled on a large white table sitting below a low white ceiling inserted at one end of the large Arsenale space. Visitors would enter the space defined by the two parallel planes and get intimate with “The images of architects.”

Given the thought put into the Biennale installation, it’s fitting that the printed version would be a special object to hold, from the shiny linen cover and velvet endpapers to the heavyweight paper and built-in ribbon bookmark. The images selected by the architects (usually 10 but sometimes less, and in one case more) are presented one to a page in alphabetical order by the architect's last name. Fittingly, there is very little text in the book—only a short introduction by Olgiati, the name of the respective architect at the bottom of each page, and bios on the architects and image captions and credits at the back of the book.

The book’s structure allows people to, like the exhibition, get intimate with the images. That each image is a vehicle for inspiration rather than of marketing (as so many images are these days, architectural or otherwise) means that the book invites and rewards prolonged gazes at the images. Why are they important to the architects? This is not explained, so it is up to us to interpret the selections and what the subjects say about the architect and contemporary architecture in general.

An interesting way of “reading” the book is to find the strands that link the individual images in an architects selection. Some are obvious, such as Jürgen Mayer H.'s “collection of data protection patterns” (security envelopes) and Alvaro Siza’s familiar sketches, but some are less so, prompting us to think about the role of images as means of inspiration. A couple favorites in this vein are David Adjaye’s photos of African architecture and landscapes, and Momoyo Kajima's and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto’s (Atelier Bow-Wow) photos of spaces full of people. Not surprisingly, photos of architecture pervade the selections, but there is enough variety that the images are only rarely obvious.

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