Christian Wassmann

Architect / United States / Studio Christian Wassmann

Christian Wassmann’s Book List

Books are important tools in my studio; they inspire our work and are always on our desks. As a student I spent a lot of time in the library doing research for my projects, but I never liked to borrow books. I preferred to own them, mark them with notes, and collect articles, press releases, and other information inside the front cover. I always tried to find the most important books on a specific artist, architect or subject, study them and then cross-reference them. This ever-expanding archive represents everything I was ever interested in. The collection now serves as an extended memory that I can revisit at any time or dive deeper into a subject if desired.

Today a lot of information can be found on the Internet, but for me books have more authority due to the good authors, editors, and publishers who make them. In addition to their content, I love books also as beautifully designed and well-crafted physical objects.

It was very difficult to pick favorites for this list since each book has been inspiring and formative in one way or another. All the books in this selection helped me to see and realize previously hidden connections.

4 books
Pamela M. Lee

Like many great artists, Gordon Matta-Clark was educated as an architect and became a game-changing artist by questioning his environment and making liberating suggestions. With his surgical cuts through buildings he de-functionalized architecture and turned it into art. Matta-Clark was a poet of space.

Le Corbusier

Almost every book by Le Corbusier could be on my list but this one is off the shelf and on our desks at the Studio all the time. It’s a small book that Le Corbusier designed himself about my favorite building: the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut. Besides sketches, plans, and sections, the photographs in this book show the tactility of the materials and reveal some secrets one can’t see when visiting the building. It documents the design and building process, including images of the salvaged rocks inside the curved walls. There is even a group photo of the local craftsmen who built this architectural masterpiece.

Christoph Asendorf

The translation of the subtitle of this German book is “Aircraft and Space Revolution, the Impact of Air Travel in the Art and Culture of Modernism.” It is a book about mind-expanding and gravity-defying achievements in modern art, design, and architecture. Asendorf explains how something that was invented in an aeronautical context, often for military purposes, later influenced other fields, culture, and society at large; sometimes the initial discovery of an innovation was made by an artist.

Claude Lichtenstein
Joachim Krausse

Author Claude Lichtenstein was my design history professor in Zurich. A lot of the content of this book he tested on us as students first. Lars Müller turned the very diverse work by Fuller—a visionary architect, designer, engineer, teacher, and philosopher—into a compelling visual reader.

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