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Material Transfers: Metaphor, Craft, and Place in Contemporary Architecture

Material Transfers: Metaphor, Craft, and Place in Contemporary Architecture

Françoise Bollack, Monacelli Press, 168 pages. Hardcover. Architect, architectural historian, and preservationist Françoise Bollack presents eighteen projects that use traditional materials to build contemporary forms or use modern materials to build traditional forms, blurring the boundary between tradition and modernity in architecture. Bollack rejects the modernist taboo against imitation and precedent, tracing the history of adaptive and imitative design from the Renaissance to the Greek and Gothic revivals and to the nineteenth-century modular cast-iron facades that Philip Johnson considered “the basis for modern design.” The book examines projects in the US, Europe, and Japan, encompassing a broad range of building types: residential, hospitality, commercial and retail, and cultural spaces. All share an intriguing, even radical, approach to reinterpreting traditional forms and materials. Humble thatch moves beyond the farmhouse roof to clad the walls of a Danish environmental center; a photographic image of a Parisian facade becomes a scrim on the facade of a new building; the ghost of an ancient Italian basilica is outlined in wire mesh. Among the featured architects are Kengo Kuma, architect of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic stadium; MVRDV, a highly regarded Dutch firm; Lacaton & Vassal and Chartier/Corbasson in France; Skene Catling de la Peña in the UK; Morris Adjmi in the USA; Max Dudler in Germany; Dortre Mandrup in Denmark; and Herzog & de Meuron in Switzerland.

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