Model Perspectives: Structure, Architecture and Culture
This book contains a unique collection of various perspectives on the relationship between structures and the forms and spaces of architecture. As such it provides students and professionals alike with an essential sourcebook that can be mined for visual inspiration as well as for textually rich and authoritative insight into the links between structure, architecture, and cultural context. The chapters address fundamental structural elements and systems: columns, walls, beams, trusses, frames, tensile structures, arches, domes and shells. Each chapter is subdivided into two parts:
• The essays – introduce the chapters with the reprinting of a curated set of essays and excerpts by various authors that uniquely address how particular structural elements or systems relate in essential fashion to architectural design concepts.
• The model studies – physical models of the overall structural systems of several notable contemporary buildings from Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia are illustrated with large photographs, detail close-ups, and views of their external forms and internal spaces that establish the exceptional qualities of these projects in connecting structural form to architectural design objectives. Mosaic layouts complete the chapters with a collection of photographs of yet more models whose particular details and unique features serve to extend the visual repertoire of the structural type being considered.
The combination, juxtaposition and mutual positive reinforcement of these two collections, one largely textual and the other image based, provides the reader with unique and multifaceted insights into how structural forms and systems can be related to architectural design intentions. Conveyed by a strong and deliberate graphical design format, this assembly of materials gets to the very essence of structures within the context of architecture, and will inspire students and practitioners alike to make strategic design decisions for their own projects.
1. Columns. Auguste Perret and the Concrete Column. Mies’ Columns: Barcelona and Beyond. Villa Mairea’s Columnar Variations. A Forest of Minimal Columns. The Sendai Mediatheque and its Tube-Columns. Model Studies. 2. Walls. Barragán’s Walls and Color. Inca Walls at Ollantaytambo. Schindler’s Metaphysical Walls. Ando’s Ephemeral Concrete Walls. The Sculpted Walls of Richard Serra. Model Studies. 3. Beams and Slabs. Arresting Cantilever Deflections. Nordic Pavilion - An Illuminating Beam Matrix. The Kimbell’s Beam Variations. The Iron and Steel Beam Evolves; Mies Follows Suit. Chinese Building Traditions Meet Modernism. Nervi’s Isostatically Inspired Ribbed Floors. Maillart Minimalism: The Flat Slab Emerges. Concrete Takes Flight. Floor Plate-Defined Façades. Model Studies. 4. Trusses. La Tour Eiffel : A Truss, and More... Truss Forms and Style Battles. Truss Forms and Design Collaborations. Neimeyer’s Subtly Deceptive Trusses. Metabolism and the Space Frame. Tensegrity and the Architecture of Life. Model Studies. 5. Frames. To Frame - or not to Frame... Framing Views, Framing Victory. Breuer and Nervi’s Folded Frames. Braced Frames and High-Tech Dreams. Informal Frames. Model Studies. 6. Cables, Nets and Membranes. Seemingly Free Form Structures in Montréal and Munich. Cybernetic and Lightweight Dreams. Stayed Roof Systems and High-Tech Identity. Jugaad : Suspending a Communal Canopy. Marsyas : Structure and Metaphor. Model Studies. 7. Arches, Domes and Shells. Informing Arch Form. Veiled and Vaulted Space. Domes as Optical Instruments. The Politics of Candela’s Shells. SANAA’s Ceilings and Skies. Model Studies. Afterword. Models are Real. A Model Curriculum. Index.
"Some books are treasure troves – ensembles of deep human experiential research – which need to be kept close to hand. This book is one such treasure. The combination of selected texts with the constructed models becomes the thoughtfully constructed intellectual structure within which to navigate these essential topics." - Yvonne Farrell + Shelley McNamara, Grafton Architects
"During the past decades, architecture has been dominated by an interest in expressive singular forms, often facilitated by computerized design and methods of calculation, novel material technologies, and robotic methods of production. The book Model Perspectives: Structure, Architecture and Culture returns architectural thinking back to its tectonic principles and elementary syntax. It also emphasizes the essential cultural connectedness of the art of building; architectural meaning cannot be invented, as it is bound to reflect the human existential and mental reality. All true architectural meaning echoes tradition, and the most radical artistic innovations become part of this esteemed continuum of tradition." - Juhani Pallasmaa, architect, writer, professor emeritus, Helsinki University of Technology (Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture), Finland