G. E. KIDDER SMITH BUILDS
THE TRAVEL OF ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY
George Everard Kidder Smith (1913–1997) was a multidimensional figure within the wide-ranging field of North American architectural professionals in the second half of the twentieth century. Although he trained as an architect, he chose not to practice within the conventional strictures of an architecture office. Instead, Kidder Smith “designed,” researched, wrote, and photographed a remarkably diverse collection of books about architecture and the built environment. His work and life were deeply interwoven and punctuated by travel related to the research, writing, and promotion of books that sought to reveal the genius loci of the countries whose built environments he admired and wished to share with a broader audience. From the early 1940s to the late 1950s his interest in architecture led him to describe visually the architectural and historical identity of many European countries. After his far-flung travels over the decades, with his wife Dorothea, Kidder Smith focused on his own country and produced a series of ambitious books focused on the United States. Kidder Smith’s vision and narrative betray the gaze of the traveler, the scholar, and the architect.
COLORS OF RHETORIC
PLACES OF INVENTION IN THE VISUAL REALM
Rhetoric has been broadly defined as the art of persuasion. Unfortunately, in the last two centuries, rhetoric has suffered a rather bad reputation because it has been deliberately overused to mislead and manipulate. However, the present argument claims that rhetoric is, above all, a method for creation, considering it as the study of the general relationships of unexpectedness for invention and persuasion.
Since rhetoric was established in the early fifth century, it has been concerned almost solely with language, public speaking, and literature. The term “figure” (such as metaphor, antithesis, metonymy, among many others) refers to any device or pattern of language in which meaning or form is enhanced or changed.
This study extrapolates to architecture and visual arts, what rhetoric does, which is not more than to put “things” together that have not been put together before, to create a new whole. Through the analysis of a large and heterogeneous group of art and architectural examples, this research constitutes a “proto-manual” of more than a hundred rhetorical tools and means by which architecture might be thought of, created, explained, and communicated. It reveals a particular methodology for the creation and communication of architecture and other visual disciplines beyond intuition and magic inspiration. This study attempts to explore the practical possibilities of application of rhetorical methods rather than to elaborate a comprehensive theory of rhetoric in the visual realm.
FIGMENTS OF THE ARCHITECTURAL IMAGINATION
AND OTHER ESSAYS
Gathering twenty essays written over twenty years, Figments of the Architectural Imagination explores the frontiers of speculative architectural design, theory, and pedagogy to offer clear-eyed and incisive treatments of some of the most important projects, practices, and polemics at work making contemporary architecture contemporary.
These sharp and insightful texts, whether addressing the impact of digital technology, the design of an effective hotel, the emergence of the Los Angeles vanguard, or the proper execution of a thesis project, combine frontline reportage, archival scholarship, trenchant prose, and impressive critical acumen to cut through the cacophony of recent architectural discourse with uncommon clarity, intelligence, rigor, and wit.
Taken together, these essays provide essential orientation for practitioners, academics, students, and afficionados hoping to understand how contemporary architecture came to be where it is and to speculate on where it might go next.
DESIGNING THE COMPUTATIONAL IMAGE
IMAGINING COMPUTATIONAL DESIGN
During the three decades following the Second World War, and before the advent of personal computers, government investment in university research in North America and the UK funded multidisciplinary projects to investigate the use of computers for manufacturing and design. 'Designing the Computational Image, Imagining Computational Design' explores this period of remarkable inventiveness, and traces its repercussions on architecture and other creative fields through a selection of computational designers working today. Situating contemporary expressions of design in relation to broader historical, disciplinary, and technical frames, the book showcases the confluence, during the second half of the twentieth century, of publicly funded technical innovations in software, geometry, and hardware with a cultural imaginary of design endowing computer-generated images with both geometric plasticity and a new type of agency as operative design artifacts.
INNOVATION IN PRACTICE
In what is arguably a most crucial time for discourse around issues that are concerned with the political, institutional, and social shape of worlds to come, this book explores the agency of the project of architecture and its processes of innovation by constructing an opportunistic and contingent map of effectual positions.
The book is built around two sets of questions: the first set of questions concerns itself with the distinction between built objects and actions as the focus of observation, and as objects that are susceptible to innovating, or being innovated. The second set of questions concerns itself with the understanding of the relationship between theory and practice and is defined by two positions: one that looks to theory as a result of practice, another that looks to practice as subsequent to theory. These two axes are used to locate and compare different positions, thus allowing the readers to construct their own readings of what it means to innovate the project of architecture.
LIVING + DYING INBETWEEN THE REAL + THE VIRTUAL
Reality isn’t what is sused to be. As the world moves increasingly from the real to the virtual, the question emerges, who do we want to be as humans? The amount of time spent on devices is taking more of our time from the real world as we ‘fast forward’ to the virtual future. As we transform our work, play, living, education, and retail lifestyle, so too must architecture react and redefine the very nature of our public and private spaces. The challenge of our time is to learn to navigate INBetween these multiple realities on the spectrum between the real and the virtual world. As we progressively accept the technological advances in medicine that enhance our bodies, society will also begin to accept moving into the experiential, three-dimensional space of the virtual METAVERSE. This book presents a three-year exploration, research, and case studies for expanding the tools of architecture for creating within this new reality for Living + Dying INBetween the Real and the Virtual World.
NEXT NEW YORK
Over the last 500 years, a range of innovative, responsive, and pragmatic civic actions have helped to generate, define, and maintain New York City’s global significance. From early on much of these actions were responses to population density and the accompanying challenges for health and well-being. Approaching its next growth cycle, New York is again amid important urban transformations that demand new urban and architectural models that allow for an open city to balance gentrification, and to address a lack of public spaces, social infrastructure, and affordable housing. These challenges and their architectural and urban implications are the focus of Next New York.
The book captures the city’s current momentum through the lens of three important urban actions: sharing, connecting, and partnering. Through 10 essays from scholars and practitioners working on pressing urban issues, a photographic essay portraying New York during COVID-19, and more than 35 design projects from graduate studios at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, Next New York reflects, comments, and speculates on New York City’s capacity to bring about new conceptions of city-making and collective cohabitation through architecture.
The latest edition of the University of Virginia School of Architecture’s design journal, LUNCH 15 turns to the concept of Thickness and considers what possibilities lie in poché, thick description, thin assemblies, and in the many layers of the built environment. The issue considers Thickness in four sections: “Places” navigates the ways we understand the spaces in which we live and work. “Materials” delaminates the building blocks of our world and how we know them. “Representation” traces the many forms and layers of communication through which we see or that might obscure our vision. Finally, “Relations” follows threads that bind. In a world operating between the thick and thin of it, how will your lines be drawn?
SILT SAND SLURRY
Silt Sand Slurry is a visually rich investigation into where, why, and how sediment is central to the future of America’s coasts. Sediment is an unseen infrastructure that shapes and enables modern life. Silt is scooped from sea floors to deepen underwater highways for container ships. It is diverted from river basins to control flooding. It is collected, sorted, managed, and moved to reshape deltas, marshes, and beaches. Anthropogenic action now moves more sediment annually than ‘natural’ geologic processes — yet this global reshaping of the earth’s surface is rarely-discussed and poorly-understood.
In four thematic text chapters, four geographic visual studies, and a concluding essay, we demonstrate why sediment matters now more than ever, given our contemporary context of sea level rise, environmental change, and spatial inequality. We do this through a documentation of the geography of dredging and sediment on the four coasts of the continental United States. The book explores the many limitations of current sediment management practices, such as short-sighted efforts to keep dynamic ecosystems from changing, failure to value sediment as a resource, and inequitable decision-making processes. In response to these conditions, we delineate an approach to designing with sediment that is adaptive, healthy, and equitable.
SOURCE BOOKS IN ARCHITECTURE NO. 15
Source Books in Architecture No. 15: Johnston Marklee includes conversations with the architects and documentation of a range of built and unbuilt works. As the Baumer Visiting Professors at The Ohio State University, Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee engage with students at the school in conversations that range from developing a critical practice to idea formation with respect to projects to the pragmatics of working in the field or architecture today. Documentation of work includes drawings, diagrams, photos, and models.
Source Books in Architecture is a product of the Herbert Baumer seminars, a series of interactions between students and seminal practitioners at the Knowlton School at The Ohio State University. Following a significant amount of research, students lead discussions that encourage the architects to reveal their architectural motivations and techniques.
EXPERIMENTS IN MAKING FROM THE CHINESE COUNTRYSIDE
This book explores the interdisciplinary project that brings the long tradition of humanistic inquiry in architecture together with cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence. The main goal of 'Neural Architecture' is to understand how to interrogate artificial intelligence—a technological tool—in the field of architectural design, traditionally a practice that combines humanities and visual arts. Matias del Campo, the author of 'Neural Architecture' is currently exploring specific applications of artificial intelligence in contemporary architecture, focusing on their relationship to material and symbolic culture. AI has experienced an explosive growth in recent years in a range of fields including architecture but its implications for the humanistic values that distinguish architecture from technology have yet to be measured. The book provides an opportunity to survey the emerging field of Architecture and Artificial Intelligence, and to reflect on the implications of a world increasingly entangled in questions of the agency, culture and ethics of AI.
A LANDSCAPE APPROACH
FROM LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO TERRITORIAL SYSTEMS
The book promotes a landscape approach as a method for understanding and addressing the complex interdependent issues of environmental and climatic change, ecological degradation, and socio-cultural inequalities. The twenty-three book essays are structured into five sections around concepts of urban landscape systems, ecology, politics, territory, and practice. By linking individual sites and local communities to territorial socio-ecological systems and processes, they discuss issues of urban growth and development, remote areas of extraction and production, environmental degradation and transformation, and social inequality and discrimination. While the book allows for parallel readings of such issues in multiple cultural and geographical contexts, a geographic focus is placed on Canada and other environmentally complex and sensitive northern regions. One key theme is the integration of Indigenous knowledge, experience, and storytelling throughout several of the chapters. The book draws lessons that are grounded in inclusive, contextual, and multi-scalar readings which suggest landscape-informed practices that are both socially and environmentally resilient, just, and sustainable.
TOWARD AN AMERICAN SPOLIA
A LOOSE INVENTORY OF ANTECEDENTS AND POSSIBILITIES
Spolia is what historians call the ancient practice of recycling of building materials, and until recently it was deemed rather inconvenient as it contaminates an understanding of history as a linear progression of time. It is both constructive (re-use) and destructive (“spoils” imply conquest, destruction and uprooting). Yet as a way of engagement with historic artefacts, spolia opens a new door into the creation of built form. This publication is an inventory of the processes of spolia, a distinctive cultural practice from the ancient times to ours, framing the necessity for the spoliation of the American 20th century—its materials, inventions, aesthetics and debris. The book will contain appropriated and repurposed images, drawings, and texts presented as a series of unbound plates affording multiple ways of sorting, comparing, mixing, and reusing.
The book consists of antecedents of ancient and contemporary spolia in the form of images, texts and drawing, composed of an introductory Bound Volume and a Loose Inventory, a collection of plates. Both the Volume and Inventory address the idea of spolia through the primary lenses of Form, Material, Type and Tech; and the contents of the Inventory are sorted, at least initially, according to those categories. The loose plates can be also organized chronologically, alphabetically, programmatically, volumetrically, chromatically, etc., and, of course, sorted randomly.
The introductory Bound Volume contains a foreword, a series of essays, illustrated footnotes and an afterword. The essays are essentially short “chapters” on the phenomenon of spolia in art, architecture, design & landscape composed by the author out of short fragments provided by prominent academics, curators and practicioners (detailed below). The Bound Volume is followed by the Inventory, a collection of loose plates with images on recto and text on verso. Recto contains photographs of buildings & objects, drawings & diagrams, paintings reproductions, and book spread reprints where contemporary spolia is case-studied. On each plate’s verso is an accompanying explanatory/exploratory text by the author.
BIOCLIMATIC CERAMIC ASSEMBLIES V
ARCHITECTURAL CERAMIC ASSEMBLIES WORKSHOP
This book chronicles experimental approaches to the design and production of architectural terra cotta facades and structures. Under the auspices of the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW), a research collaborative supported by Boston Valley Terra Cotta, the largest manufacturer of architectural terra cotta in the United State, architectural firms work with manufacturing to explore material and design innovation. Now in its fifth year, the workshop aims to educate architects about terra cotta through the production of unique prototypes of rain screen facade systems, modular assemblies, columns, and structural systems.
'Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop V' chronicles the work of architectural firms Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), LMN Architects, Smith + Gill Architecture, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Perkins and Will, PLP Architecture, Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), Studio Gang, and academic teams Haptek Lab and Alfred University/University at Buffalo.
IMPOSSIBLE AND HYPER-REAL ELEMENTS OF ARCHITECTURE
EXERCISES, PROVOCATIONS, AND THEORIES OF DIGITAL REPRESENTATION
'Impossible and Hyper-Real Elements of Architecture' addresses how and why architects, artists, and designers manipulate reality. Front and center in this discourse is the role of rendering. Most often, to render is to engage a thick software interface, to accept a photographic framework of variables and effects, and to assume an unquestioned posture of articulating material, mass, and color. But like drawing, rendering is an interdisciplinary, algorithmic, historically rooted cultural practice as much as it is a digital vocation. The elements explored in this book are labeled “impossible” because they avoid a fixed relationship to a singular built reality. Digital bonsai trees, pixels, video game levels, grids, and dioramas extend like skewers through multiple media and formats. Through work that looks very real and can’t possibly exist, representation becomes the territory of speculation, ambiguity, and curiosity.
WAY BEYOND BIGNESS
'Way Beyond Bigness' is a design-research project that studies the Mekong, Mississippi and Rhine river basins, with particular focus on multi-scaled, water-based infrastructural transformation. The book proposes a simple, adaptive framework that utilizes a three-part, integrative design-research methodology, structured as: Appreciate + Analyze, Speculate + Synthesize, and Collaborate + Catalyze. To do such, Way Beyond Bigness realigns watersheds and architecture across multiple: scales (site to river basin), disciplines (ecologists to economists), narratives (hyperbolic to pragmatic), and venues (academic to professional). The research critiques and recasts Oxford Dictionary’s two very different definitions for a “watershed”: 1) “An area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas" and 2) “An event or period marking a turning point in a situation in a course of action or state of affairs” and its two very different definitions for “architecture”: 1) “The art or practice of designing and constructing buildings” and 2) “the complex or carefully designed structure of something.” The book highlights the author’s comprehensive work of over more than a decade, including in depth field research across the Mekong, Mississippi and Rhine, along with a diverse body of academic and professional collaborations, ranging from the speculative to the community-based.
ARCHITECTURE, EXCESS, AND DESIRE
Based on the eponymous symposium and exhibition, 'Fulfilled: Architecture, Excess, and Desire' considers the role of architecture in a culture shaped by the excessive manufacturing and assuagement of desire. Until the term became synonymous with Amazon warehouses, the concept of fulfillment described the achievement of a desire—sometimes tangible, often psychological or spiritual. With the rapid growth of e-commerce, our understanding of fulfillment has evolved to reflect a seemingly endless cycle of desire and gratification—one whose continuity hinges on our willingness to overlook the cultural, economic, and environmental impacts of our ever-increasing expectation of quick and efficient fulfillment. A closer look at fulfillment reveals a social, typological, formal, aesthetic, and economic practice constructed collectively through both digital and physical interactions. It is a cultural practice which evolves like a language, both universally transferable and contextually specific. As a symposium, exhibition, and now publication, this project aims to draw out these new arrangements, sticky relationships, and material byproducts of cultural production and to ask again the age-old question, “What does it mean to be fulfilled?”
This book examines the architecture of fulfillment through three lenses: logistical, material, and cultural fulfillment. Each reveals the new forms of architectural practice and research that are possible, typical, and even surreptitiously encouraged in the age of Amazon. Fulfillment networks are not invisible systems; they are tangible objects—warehouses, suburban houses, parking lots, cardboard boxes, shopping malls, mechanical systems, shipping containers—with which architects necessarily interact. From political mapping and questions of labor to digital and physical storage typologies, contemporary architects learn from and work critically within the architecture of fulfillment. Their interests and approaches include the material and environmental shortcomings of global logistics and the formal, representational, and cultural potentials of a culture of excess. This book highlights architecture’s unique capacity to offer methodologies for confronting an increasingly ambiguous, alienating world and produce new knowledge and unexpected solutions that go beyond the dichotomies of rural and urban territories.
'Pratt Sessions' presents conversations with notable names in architecture, discussions that unpack their work in non-standard ways, revealing new insight to familiar terms circulated in the discipline and profession. The two areas of focus—new architectural mediums and contexts—are timely issues in architecture that are challenged and questioned within the six conversations. The range of practitioners and thinkers that engage in critically exploring these topics allows the 'Pratt Session' series to develop and present evolving disciplinary arguments as different voices from different regions and praxes come together within the book.
The 'Pratt Sessions' series is aimed at an architectural audience, especially students and young practitioners who are engrained in the fast-paced media culture and engaged in contemporary practice. All content included in the publications is original and has only been available to attendees of the Pratt lecture series. Through the publication of these conversations, a much larger audience can engage with these topics. In its examination of two central topics in contemporary architecture—which will only continue to grow in importance in coming years—the book is also relevant for the wider architectural community, both academic and within practice.
THE LANDSCAPE PROJECT
'The Landscape Project' is a collection of essays by the landscape architecture faculty at the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, long considered a leading institution in the field of landscape architecture. This collection covers topics such as food, biodiversity, water, plants, energy, public space, politics, mapping, practice, and representation and serves as essential reading for students and professionals wishing to engage with the full scope of today’s landscape. These essays radically expand the purview of landscape architecture
CURB-SCALE HONG KONG
NARRATIVES OF INFRASTRUCTURE
'Curb-scale Hong Kong' is about the infrastructural objects that constitute the street in Hong Kong. Through drawing and text, the book renders these objects visible and argues for their relevance as story tellers and civic protagonists. The book opens an alternative imagination of infrastructure and asserts the importance of the ground to Hong Kong’s urban realm.
The book is structured around measured plan drawings of five streets in Hong. The drawings represent stopping points in a desire to draw everything. This impossible task resulted in documents suspended between narrative and a stilled, abstract distance. Details of growth, error, decay, undoing, and repair provide a register of happenings and becomings. Each drawing speaks to an entanglement between the objects and agencies of Hong Kong’s urban realm. A second axonometric index names and examines these objects, registering more closely the material and technical decisions that give them their qualities. Texts that accompany the drawings are coincident descriptions; they thicken the street plans and index. Longer-form opening and closing essays situate the curb-scale within architecture’s contemporary engagement with infrastructure and with the practice of architectural drawing.
ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM BY DESIGN
'Environmental Activism by Design,' a monograph by architects and educators Coleman Coker and Sarah Gamble, challenges designers to actively engage the environmental crisis through their work, while articulating an optimistic, tangible means to pursue community good and environmental justice through design activism and engagement. The authors assert that in addition to greener buildings, cheaper housing, and technological fixes, we must rethink pedagogy and praxis so that every single architecture graduate can define equity and transform the profession. 'Environmental Activism by Design' centers on the award-winning Gulf Coast DesignLab at the University of Texas, which works directly with clients and stakeholders to produce spaces for the public to learn and researchers to undertake their environmental work. 'Environmental Activism by Design' asks readers to challenge themselves, as agents of social equity, environmental justice, and climate action, to pursue operative practices and transformation rather than mere keywords and consensus.
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