Tag Archives: New arrivals

New Books at the Architecture and Planning Library: Guide Books

I was initially struck by the back cover summaries for two recent books- one on Venice and the other on the Bauhaus- which used similar language to describe the intentions of the work and authors. Each book is referred to as a guide, which speaks of exploration to me. Moreover, both works use “elements” to explore change over time.

Foscari, Giulia. Elements of Venice. Foreword by Rem Koolhaas. Zürich, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2014.

Giulia Foscari applies the principles of Rem Koolhaas’s Elements to the city of Venice. She writes:

But the focus of this book is to look at individual architectonic elements, not buildings, searching for those clues that allow us to retrace, beyond formal consideration, the ideological, cultural, and political background of the historical context that informed their definition.

Instead of following a Darwinian approach, revealing the linear evolution of the architectural “species”, I have concentrated on studying the corpus architecture. By performing an autopsy, I have analyzed the organs of Venice, its architectonic elements, one by one. (pg. 28)

The book is arranged according to the elements of façade, stair, corridor, floor, ramp, roof, ceiling, door, fireplace, window, balcony, and wall. These elements are then examined through various lenses: function, architects, case studies, materials, thematic, form/design, and social/political/religious.


Irrgang, Christin and Ingolf Kern. The Bauhaus Building in Dessau. Translated by Rebecca Philips Williams. Photo Essay by Nikolaus Brade. Leipzig, Germany: Spector Books, 2014.

While Christin Irrgang and Ingolf Kern examine the Bauhaus in terms of elements, their exploration is not quite to the scale of Foscari. They identify their elements as: workshop wing, festive area, studio building, bridge, north wing, staircases, and color design, furniture, and fittings. The chapter on elements is, moreover, situated within the linear narrative of the school, both as a physical space and institution. Thus, the authors discuss the foundation, the reception, the legacy of the school, the history of use, and the physical changes the building has undergone, including the recent renovation. The work concludes with Nikolaus Brade’s color photo essay of the renovated building, which complements the historical photographs throughout the work. 


New Books at the Architecture and Planning Library: Heart and Home

Linda O’Keeffe. Heart and Home: Rooms that Tell Stories. New York: Rizzoli, 2014.

The journalist, Linda O’Keeffe invites her readers of Heart and Home into the houses and spaces of various professionals of the art and design world. She writes:

Each person featured in this volume feels a strong affection for their possessions, and while most are avid consumers none is fettered to the material world. (pg. 5)

Each chapter explores the narratives of the individual collectors, reflecting on childhood experiences & interests, education, work, partners, and how they interact with space, color, and the objects themselves. The titles of the chapters are intriguing quotes from those interviewed. I was attracted to “Antonio Pio Sarcino: It’s Nurturing to Be Alone in My Own Mind, I Mean, World”, “Marjorie Skouras: Dressing Dinner Tables from Target and Tiffany’s”, and “Philip Michael Wolfson: I’m a Minimalist at Heart but I need to Touch Everything”.

The photographed spaces appear as carefully constructed testaments of their owners. I was surprised by my reaction to the spaces. I appreciated some for their design, while others produced a decidedly negative response. Even the spaces that I appreciated did not feel like home- beautiful perhaps, but not comfortable. Perhaps this feeling is a reflection of O’Keeffe’s closing remark in her introduction:

At the end of the day the colors we respond to and the objects we love reveal who we intrinsically are. They paint our portrait and write our biography. (pg. 5)

Green Building Illustrated: Now Available!

A new design graphics book by Frances D. K. Ching is now available online for UT students, staff, and faculty!

Green Building Illustrated, authored with esteemed engineer and researcher Ian M. Shapiro, delves into the complexities of sustainable design through graphic representation and methodical presentation. Just as its predecessor Building Construction Illustrated addresses buildings both inside and out, Green Building Illustrated provides standards and specifications for constructing sustainable structures, hitting on topics such as site selection, water conservation, air quality, ventilation, materials, and much, more more.

As sustainability continues to be a key factor in both new construction and preservation projects alike, this book will be an extremely useful source for students, practitioners, and faculty alike.

Check out the text here!