Farshid Moussavi

Architect / United Kingdom / Farshid Moussavi Architecture

Farshid Moussavi’s Book List

I am interested in books that can be read in different ways, that offer different insights depending on the spatial position you adopt within them. This way of reading inspired my book The Function of Form, whose chapters are related through a theme but can be read independently of one another; similarly the pages can be read as double spreads or as a series of left-hand pages or right-hand pages.

The books below are not tributes to the thoughts of an author; rather they are nonlinear in their structure in order to trigger different kinds of ideas and understandings.

This book list was initiated on the occasion of Farshid Moussavi’s October 25, 2012, lecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The lecture is available on videotape. The Frances Loeb Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Design featured Farshid Moussavi's Designers & Books book list as well as books from its collections that are by and about the architect, on display through October 26, 2012.

7 books
Walter Benjamin

Borrowing its structure from the Parisian Arcades, this book organizes fragments of Benjamin’s writings as well as citations from other authors to examine life in 19th-century Paris. The fragments of texts are presented side by side in order to present the possibility of chance connections by individual readers.

J. M. Coetzee

Each page of this book is divided into three different parts: essays by Mr C. (a version of Coetzee) at the top, Mr C’s opinions about a woman in the middle, and her opinions about him at the bottom. The connection between these different stories is usually unclear, but the form invites you to make connections between texts that share a page.

Introduction by Carol Andrews

The collection of funerary texts that form the existing Book of the Dead reveal ancient Egyptians’ belief in each person’s individual and unique journey into the afterlife. Rather than believing in a single route to the afterlife, they allowed each person to compose a book of their chosen spells and prayers to guide their particular journey.

Jorge Luis Borges

The story “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” contained in Fictions, explores how time, rather than space, prompts different readings. Pierre Menard is an author who rewrites parts of Cervantes’s Don Quioxte. He realizes that the only way for him to write like Cervantes is to discard his own imaginative choices, which emerged naturally during his process of writing. Borges’s story shows that an author’s version of any book will always be different from those who read it. If he had written from his own imagination and experience, Pierre Menard would have produced a different version of Don Quioxte.

Julio Cortázar

This book’s chapters can be read either one after another or by “hopscotching” through them. Different readers’ narrative choices will produce different endings, rather than one decided by the author.

Rem Koolhaas
Bruce Mau

This book arranges texts, projects, and images by OMA about the contemporary city according to scale, rather than time or subject. In doing so, rather than simply representing them as they happened, it opens each to overlaps, new connections, and new readings.

Gilles Deleuze
Félix Guattari

The concepts explored in each chapter (or plateau) are interlinked, but their sequence as printed in the book is just one of many possible sequences. Every time I come back to this book, I find myself going through it in a different order.

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