Social and catastrophe design. The architecture of David Adjaye and Dominque Perrault’s groundscapes. Lastly, the history of Modernism as told by Aaron Betsky. These are the books we’re taking on holiday.
From socially responsible design as proposed by the Cooper Hewitt in New York and responses to extreme situations by the Tel Aviv Art Museum to the thoughts of two contemporary architects – David Adjaye and Dominique Perrault – plus the history of Modernism seen through the eyes of historian Aaron Betsky. We’ll be reading these this summer.
Cynthia E. Smith, By the people. Designing a better America, Cooper Hewitt, New York 2017
The third book to result from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s series of exhibitions dedicated to socially responsible design features 60 design profiles, 9 essays and interviews and more than 450 images that bring to light design’s important role in addressing social, economic, environmental and spatial disparities. Worker-owned enterprises, productive landscapes, affordable housing, alternative transportation, and civic toolkits are just a few of the inspiring designs for a more just and equitable America.
3.5 square meters: constructive responses to natural disasters, Hirmer Publishers, Tel Aviv 2017
Life-saving information tweeted or posted on social networks during natural disasters; online diaries documenting personal confrontations with disaster; and instructions for the construction of a temporary folding shelter, or for self-administered first aid, are some of the ways that individuals and communities worldwide mobilize in response to catastrophes. These and other examples featured in this book – part research project and part exhibition of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art – represent bottom-up approaches capable of impacting reality in extreme situations.
Peter Allison (ed.), David Adjaye, Constructed narratives, Lars Müller Publishers, Zürich 2017
For the first time, architect David Adjaye bring together his work from the past twenty years in one book. Instead of seeing a strin of projects, Constructed Narratives assembles them as single body, revealing the diagonal relationships between projects that might otherwise appear to occupy different worlds. “I hope that the book starts to show the connectivity between different stands of my output”, explains the author of the National Museum of African American History in Washington, “how they contribute to my overall approach, and how this resonates with opportunities in the built environment”.
Dominique Perrault, Groundscapes. Other topographies, Editions HYX, Orléans 2016
In this book – fruit of exchanges and interviews with Frédéric Migayrou – the French architect Dominque Perrault proposes his thoughts on a subterranean form of architecture, the “groundscape”. The concept does not involve living underground, but rather to mark places for activities of daily life in the earth itself, in this epidermic which is the ground opened toward the sky.
Aaron Betsky, Making it modern, Actar, Barcelona-New York 2017
In his new book, Aaron Betsky traces the history of modernism in architecture and design: the opening up of a brave new world of open and empty space, the arrival of the beauty and terror of the machine into daily life, and the attempts to represent them in the construction of a modernist world. Betsky believe modernism is a beautiful construction: “This book is about the air that emerged when all had melted, about the profane forms that emerged after the holy had disappeared and about how the new broke open the ossified remains of the past. It also about how we experienced the new space”.