Building Knowledge


The stories behind celebrity architects paint a picture of how they choose their projects, giving a glimpse into why they’re the hottest stars in Miami.

By Irene Moore

building-knowledge-1-1STARCHITECTURE: SCENES, ACTORS AND SPECTACLES IN CONTEMPORARY CITIES by Davide Ponzini and Michele Nastasi (Umberto Allemandi & Co, $548, Amazon, 2011). Internationally renowned architects are featured here in public debates, both as designers of dramatically striking urban artifacts, as well as for urban regeneration projects. This book provides in-depth analyses of more than twenty architectural projects in Bilbao, Abu Dhabi, Paris, New York City, and on the Vitra Campus — a unique architectural ensemble in Weil am Rhein in Germany, a suburb of Basel, Switzerland — which has buildings designed by Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Herzog & de Meuron, among others.

building-knowledge-2FRANK GEHRY (Random House, $65, March 5, 2015). This lavish monograph by Frederic Migayrou and Aurélien Lemonier features fifty of Gehry’s most important projects, a full range of the architect’s work from the past six decades. The book explores how Gehry overcame technological setbacks and critical backlash to become one of the very few architects in history to be respected by both critics and the general public. Arranged chronologically, the book follows the arc of Gehry’s career, from his early residential projects through the work on which his studio is currently focused — mainly public and cultural facilities.

building-knowledge-3ELEMENTS BY REM KOOLHAUS (Rizzoli, $190, boxed set of 15 paperbacks, April 16, 2012). Rem Koolhaas has been part of the international architectural avant-garde since the 1970s. He founded OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) in Rotterdam in 1975, together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp. His combination of architecture, urban planning, research, and writing has solidified his starchitect status. Since 1995, Koolhaas has been a professor at Harvard University, where he leads Project on the City, a student-based research program that studies different issues affecting the urban condition. Elements was compiled with Koolhaas’ research and editorial department, AMO, in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and includes contributions by several professors, architects, and urban developers. The collection of 15 books was launched at the 2014 Venice Biennale.

building-knowledge-4HADID COMPLETE WORKS 1979-2013 by Philip Jodidio (Taschen, $175, Dec. 15, 2013). Philip Jodidio is internationally renowned as one of the most popular writers on architecture. Zaha Hadid, the world’s most famous female architect, is the controversial architect whose futuristic designs rank among the most audacious in the world of architecture. In this large monograph, Jodidio covers Hadid’s complete works to date, showing the evolution of her career with in-depth texts, spectacular photos, and her own drawings. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London and the New National Stadium of Japan, venue of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, are both published in this monograph for the first time.

building-knowledge-5HERZOG & DE MEURON NATURAL HISTORY (Lars Müller Publishers, $155, 2005). Basel-based architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron were both born in Basel, attended the same schools, and formed a partnership in 1978. Natural History explores how their work challenges boundaries between architecture and art, both in the present and past. It makes the reader think about how art, history, materials, and cultural and industrial changes interact with architecture. Each section is introduced with a statement from Herzog, and more than 20 artists, scholars, and architects contributed essays to the work.

building-knowledge-6BIG by Bjarke Ingels (Idea Books, Amsterdam, $500, 2010). The internationally renowned Danish architect is the founder and creative partner of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) with offices in Copenhagen and New York. Ingels is most known for buildings with sloped lines and designs shaped to fit into their surroundings. His designs defy traditional architecture, combining playfulness with practicality He also often incorporates sustainable and sociological concepts into his designs. This monograph is a good starting point to explore 60 of Ingels’ earlier projects such as the Danish Expo Pavilion, Helsingor Psychiatric Hospital, Sjakket Youth Centre, the Faroe Islands Education Centre, Arlanda Airport Hotel, and the Shenzhen International Energy Mansion.

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