Online Exhibit Coming Soon

APL  and the Alexander Architectural Archives are working on a mini online exhibit to highlight some of the travel watercolors produced by Charles W. Moore. The exhibit will be hosted here on Battle Hall Highlights.  As part of the exhibit, we would like to include current SOA faculty and student work as it relates to your travel experiences. A submission might include a drawing, sketch, excerpt from a travel journal, watercolor, or photograph.

If you would like to contribute to the exhibit please send the image with your name, year if you are a student, and caption as you would like it to appear to jaberle[]. The deadline for submission is August 14, 2015. By submitting your work, you are granting APL the right to publish your work on Battle Hall Highlights.

New Books at APL: Landscape Architecture

We received many, many new books this week! Here are two on landscapes:

Clarke, Victoria, ed. The Gardener’s Garden. London: Phaidon, 2014.

TheGardenersGardenThis encyclopedia-esque work is a good starting point for information on  landscape architecture, whether contemporary or historical. The content is arranged geographically and includes gardens as early as the 14th century. Each entry includes location, names of architects/designers, date, size, climate, type/style, and brief description. While plans of the gardens are not included, each site does include representative photographs. There is also a brief glossary. While flipping through I was surprised by what was included or excluded. Madison Cox writes in the prefatory note, “Throughout The Gardener’s Garden, more than 250 examples illustrate the vast wealth of human expression when it comes to the creation and definition of what makes a garden” (pg. 5). Within the glossary “garden” is not included, so it will be left up to the reader to determine how the editors understand garden. Look for this work in our reference collection.

Cílek, Václav. To Breathe with Birds: A Book of Landscapes. Translated by Evan W. Mellander. Photographs by Morna Livingston. Foreward by Laurie Olin. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

 To Breathe with Birds is a collection of sixteen essays by Václav Cílek. Laurie Olin writes of Cílek’s approach in the foreward:

...challenging the reader, most likely a postmodern urban dweller, to thinkToBreatheWithBirds with him from within a tree or a stone or small creature. The world he conjures in these essays ranges widely, but most frequently evokes places and things once common in profound ways to people on all continents: mud and dust, clouds of insects, flocks of wild creatures, birds and herds, sunlight, small sounds, myths and darkness, stars and spirits, long walks through fields from town to town on foot in various weather. (Olin, “Foreward,” xi)

Friday Finds: Historic Views

This week I selected two books from Special Collections for their use as historical documents of the built environment.

Fifth Avenue, New York, From Start to Finish: Both Sides of 5th Ave., 1911. New York: Welles & Co., 1911.

Looking for a bit of information on this work, I discovered through a blog post, “Fifth Avenue From Start to Finish: The 1911 Equivalent of Google Street View,” that the New York Public Library provides digital access to the photographs within this work! The book begins at Washington Square Park and ends with East 93rd. I must admit that I do not have a strong mental map for NYC, so I had a bit of trouble orienting myself to the photographs.  Initially, I had assumed that photographs were arranged so that all of the east side of the street was represented and then all of the west- it is quite easy to read the streetscape as continuous. The photos, however, on opposing pages essentially reflect opposing sides of the street. The publisher labeled the cross streets, the shops, and residences. I was excited to see some of the Gilded Age mansions in context; however, I was surprised that the views of Central Park were not included aside from the Met.  It would definitely be quite easy to spend the day exploring the photographs- I had Google Maps and ARTstor open while looking at the book!

Picturesque Architecture. Twenty plates by A. Brunet-Debaines, Ernest George, M. Lalanne, L. Lhermitte, J. Pennell, H. Railton, H. Toussaint, R. Kent Thomas, and other artists. With descriptive notes.  London, Seeley, 1887.

The collection of plates depict both city scenes and specific buildings both in England and on the Continent. As the plates were created by different artists, they vary in style and in the amount of information conveyed. According to the prefatory note:

In these twenty plates of various architectural subjects in England and abroad, the treatment is mainly picturesque; the artists not aiming at the completeness and precision of strict architectural drawings, and dwelling with interest on accidental irregularities- such as the effects of decay, or admixture of styles- which often add materiality to the picturesqueness of a building, although they may to some extent obscure the its design. (preface)

I found this prefatory note quite interesting, as it warns the reader-viewer that the images cannot be taken as “truth” but rather must be understood as the artist’s interpretation of the built environment. Carmen Nigro in the blog post from the New York Public Library notes the photographer of Fifth Avenue also asserted artistic license (Nigro, “Fifth Avenue From Start to Finish”). It is sometimes quite easy to assume that a photograph is more truthful than a drawing, but we must always be aware that the images were created with specific intentions.

Nigro, Carmen. “Firth Avenue From Start to Finish: The 1911 Equivalent of Google Street View.” NYC Neighborhoods.  New York Public Library: June 25, 2012. Accessed July 24, 2015.

Kimbell Art Museum- Drawing Collection

A+ULast week, Katie Pierce Meyer received an advanced copy of Architecture and Urbanism’s  (A+U) special feature issue on the Kimbell Art Museum in Dallas Texas, which was designed by Louis I. Kahn (1972).  Much like the theme of this issue- highlighting the collaborative design process between Louis I. Kahn, Dr. Richard Fargo Brown, and the office of Preston M. Geren & Associates- this special feature was a collaborative effort between the School of Architecture, the Architecture & Planning Library, and the Alexander Architectural Archive.

The seed for the issue began with the archive’s exhibition series, To Better Know a Building. The first exhibit featured the construction drawings of the Kimbell Art Museum from the Preston M. Geren Drawings. Through the coordination of Professor Wilfried Wang, O’Neil Ford Centennial Chair in Architecture at the University of Texas School of Architecture, and Nancy Sparrow, the archive’s Curatorial Assistant for Public Servicesthis special feature issue came to fruition. Professor Larry Speck, The W. L. Moody, Jr. Centennial Professor in Architecture at the University of Texas School of Architecture, contributed an essay. Katie Pierce Meyer, the interim APL Librarian,  interviewed Frank H. Sherwood and Dewayne Manning, who both worked on the Kimbell project through the office of Preston M. Geren & Associates. The Alexander Architectural Archive contributed numerous drawings from the collection. In addition to the drawings included in the issue, the archive also holds structural, mechanical, and electrical drawings as well as photographs. Finally the Kimbell Art Museum and Carlos Jimenez from Rice University made contributions to the publication, photographs and an essay, respectively.

The library has not yet received a copy of this issue; however, it should hopefully be available on the new book table by late summer or early fall!

New Books at APL: Architecture and Technology

This week we received two new books that specifically address technology in contemporary practice, a manifesto and an exhibit catalog.

Kice, Karen. Chatter: Architecture Talks Back. Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 2015.

ChatterChatter: Architecture Talks Back was an exhibit held at The Art Institute of Chicago between 11 April 2015 and 12 July 2015. The exhibit focused on the work of Bureau Spectacular (Jimenez Lai), Formlessfinder (Garrett Ricciardi and Julian Rose), Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau), Erin Besler, and John Szot Studio. The catalog is a series of short essays. The first essay explores the concept of “chatter,” followed by an examination of practice in the firms highlighted in the exhibit. Karen Kice concludes:

The multifarious approaches to architectural discourse and production discussed here represent a talking back to and building on history while developing new conversations informed by and constructed using contemporary technologies and media. This expanded landscape of production and communication is testimony to the pluralism that dominates the field today, with strong references to antecedents and disciplinary contexts. The work of this generation can be read as a form of creative and productive architectural chatter. (pg. 80)

Ratti, Carlo with Matthew Claudel. Open Source Architecture. London: Thames and Hudson, 2015.

Both Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel are members of MIT’sOpenSoureArchitecture SENSEable City Lab as the director and a researcher, respectively. The authors and their editorial board offer seven essays as they develop the concept of the Choral Architect. They define the Choral Architect as:

The architect will not be anonymous, but plural and compositional. Authorship will not be erased, but contextualized as it is woven into a relational fabric. The new architect is situated between top-down and bottom-up, channeling the raw energy of the latter through the targeted framework of the former. The responsibility of the Choral Architect is less oriented toward object-building than orchestrating process….The Choral Architect weaves together the creative and harmonic ensemble. (pg. 111)

Friday Finds: S. J. Hare

Hughes, John Arthur. Garden Architecture and Landscape Gardening Illustrating the Architectural Embellishment of Gardens, with Remarks on Landscape Gardening in its Relation to Architecture, by John Arthur Hughes.  London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1866.

Due to the nature of my summer schedule, I have not been able to post to Friday Finds as regularly as during the school year. And as I am out again tomorrow, I decided to bring you Friday Finds a day early.

This morning I pulled a rather unassuming book of the shelf.  The repairs to the spine obscured the title; I therefore knew not what it was, only that it was related to landscapes and gardens. On the inside cover, I discovered a rather amazing book plate, while the back end papers held a sketch of a pagoda. On the inside of the back cover is a list of sixteen names.

Bookplate_StampThe book plate attributes former ownership to S. J. Hare and depicts the transformation of a hare into his signature (which is also stamped on the endpapers). When I searched for Hare, I discovered that Hare & Hare (Sydney J. Hare and S. Herbert Hare) were the landscape architects who worked on the design of campus. At this time, I cannot attribute the book with certainty to Sydney J. Hare.

pagodaThe sketch of the pagoda is intriguing, because examples of such structures were not represented in the book. John Arthur Hughes provided drawings of garden follies that reflect picturesque, rustic, classical, Elizabethan, Georgian, and French styles.

If you follow the link in the citation to the catalog record, you will discover that a digitized copy of work has been made accessible. According to the book plate, the surrogate is from the University of Michigan.  While the electronic copy might provide ease of access, each book has the potential to hold unique surprises. Which is my way of saying, come in and explore the works held in APL’s Special Collections!

New Books at the Architecture and Planning Library: Gothic Vaults

Schröck, Katja and David Wendland, eds. Traces of Making: Shape, Design, and Construction of Late Gothic Vaults. Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2014.

KIC ImageI was super excited to see the arrival of this book, though I was not anticipating it. While I have something of love-hate relationship with Late Medieval Architecture (Gothic), I do think the lines created by the vaulting patterns during this period are some of the most beautiful in architecture. Ethan Matt Kavaler’s work, Renaissance Gothic is a great resource, if all you call to mind is Amiens, Reims, and King’s College Chapel, Cambridge when you hear “Gothic.” I am particularly speaking of the the vaults of Vlaislav Hall by Benedikt Ried in Prague, St. Annen, Annaberg, or prismatic vaults (represented on the cover of Traces of Making).

Traces of Making is a collection of articles in German and English that consider the process, design, and evidence of vault making. The papers were presented at a conference in 2012. The research combines engagement with the vaults through both observation and making. The editors explain:

Working from the built object, we saw that it was possible to deduce which decisions were made in course of the design and how these were implemented in the construction of the building. Yet, the traces that we can recover from existing structures can only be truly understood by reflecting on and reproducing construction process- whether mentally or actually and materially, by using models or reproducing the construction in part or in its entirety. (pg. 8)

The work is also well illustrated with many of the illustrations speaking directly to construction and process.