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Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books

por Jo Steffens (Editor)

Outros autores: Stan Allen (Contribuidor), Walter Benjamin (Contribuidor), Henry N. Cobb (Contribuidor), Liz Diller (Contribuidor), Peter Eisenman (Contribuidor)8 mais, Michael Graves (Contribuidor), Steven Holl (Contribuidor), Toshiko Mori (Contribuidor), Ric Scofidio (Contribuidor), Michael Sorkin (Contribuidor), Bernard Tschumi (Contribuidor), Billie Tsien (Contribuidor), Todd Williams (Contribuidor)

Séries: Unpacking My Library (1)

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"I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am. . . . Be ready to share with me a bit of the mood--it is certainly not an elegiac mood but, rather, one of anticipation--which these books arouse in a genuine collector. . . . What I am really concerned with is giving you some insight into the relationship of a book collector to his possessions, into collecting rather than a collection." --Walter Benjamin, 1931 What does a library say about the mind of its owner? How do books map the intellectual interests, curiosities, tastes, and personalities of their readers? What does the collecting of books have in common with the practice of architecture? Unpacking My Library provides an intimate look at the personal libraries of twelve of the world's leading architects, alongside conversations about the significance of books to their careers and lives. Photographs of bookshelves--displaying well-loved and rare volumes, eclectic organizational schemes, and the individual touches that make a bookshelf one's own--provide an evocative glimpse of their owner's personal life. Each architect also presents a reading list of top ten influential titles, from architectural history to theory to fiction and nonfiction, that serves as a personal philosophy of literature and history, and advice on what every young architect, scholar, and lover of architecture should read. An inspiring cross-section of notable libraries, this beautiful book celebrates the arts of reading and collecting. Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books features the libraries of: Stan Allen Henry Cobb Liz Diller & Ric Scofidio Peter Eisenman Michael Graves Steven Holl Toshiko Mori Michael Sorkin Bernard Tschumi Todd Williams & Billie Tsien Peter Eisenman's Recommended Titles: Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities Le Corbusier, Vers une Architecture Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture Walter Benjamin, Illuminations James Joyce, Finnegans Wake William Faulkner, Light in August… (mais)

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“Architecture will no longer be the social, the collective, the dominant art. The great poem, the great building, the great work of mankind will no longer be built, it will be printed.” - Victor Hugo

Yeah, there was pretty much no way I wasn’t going to love this book. First, a couple of quotes from the excellent Walter Benjamin essay that begins the book and everyone here should go track down.

“How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit of books!”

“On the other hand, one of the finest memories of a collector is the moment when he rescued a book to which he might never have given a thought, much less a wishful look, because he found it lonely and abandoned on the market place and bought it to give it its freedom…To a book collector, you see, the true freedom of all books is somewhere on his shelves.”

This small book covers the libraries of 10 architects, detailing the size and construction of their bookshelves, size and location of their libraries, up close photos of 8 shelves, and each architects top 10 books.

Architects represented:

Stan Allen
Henry N. Cobb
Liz Diller and Ric Scofidio
Peter Eisenman
Michael Graves
Steven Holl
Toskiko Mori
Michael Sorkin
Bernard Tschumi
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien

Top 10 lists, book listed more than once:

Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture by Robert Venturi (5)
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (3)
Vers une architecture (Towards and Architecture) by Le Corbusier (2)
I quattro libri dell’architecttura (The Four Books of Architecture) by Andrea Palladio (2)
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (2)
Light in August by William Faulkner (2)
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (2)

Top 10 lists, author listed more than once:

Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics and The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
Vers une architecture (Towards and Architecture), Une petite maison, L’atelier de la recherché patiente (Creation Is a Patient Search)*, and Oeuvre complète: Volume 1, 1910-1929 (Complete Works) by Le Corbusier
Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction) and Illuminationen (Illuminations) by Walter Benjamin
Les motes et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines (The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences) and Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison (Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison) by Michel Foucault
Diderot Encyclopedia: The Complete Illustrations, 1762-1777 and A Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry by Denis Diderot
Soundings and Victims by John Hejduk ( )
1 vote janemarieprice | Feb 20, 2012 |
Spying on other people's libraries is for bibliophiles a delicious act of voyeurism, so I quite enjoyed this little book. It starts with Walter Benjamin's wonderful essay, "Unpacking my Library," and goes on to interview ten architects (or architectural couples), presenting photos of their libraries and of eight featured bookshelves for each. Expected rows of architectural history, theory and journals - Le Corbusier, Robert Venturi, Frank Lloyd Wright - jostle up against less predictable collections of film studies, critical theory, modernist art, fiction, politics, ecology, food history and even books about formula 1 racing.

For me, the exciting part is glimpsing the hobbyism and surprising side interests of the architects. Some read critiques of avant-gardism, others comic books or hard-boiled crime fiction. Some read food doyenne MFK Fisher, and still others the poetry of Paul Celan. Fully three out of the ten list Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow in their own top ten lists. Precisely what this demonstrates is hard to articulate. It's like trying to imagine the imaginary world of another person, just by combing through their reading.

On that level it's a fun book. It's not enormously substantial, however, and limits its exploration of what our reading says about us to an already well-known text: Benjamin's essay. The book cries out for a new article or even couple of articles - something to more adequately frame these architectural libraries.

Still, an amusing bit of voyeurism... ( )
1 vote cocoafiend | Oct 13, 2010 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Steffens, JoEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Allen, StanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Benjamin, WalterContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Cobb, Henry N.Contribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Diller, LizContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Eisenman, PeterContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Graves, MichaelContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Holl, StevenContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Mori, ToshikoContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Scofidio, RicContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Sorkin, MichaelContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Tschumi, BernardContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Tsien, BillieContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Williams, ToddContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado

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"I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am. . . . Be ready to share with me a bit of the mood--it is certainly not an elegiac mood but, rather, one of anticipation--which these books arouse in a genuine collector. . . . What I am really concerned with is giving you some insight into the relationship of a book collector to his possessions, into collecting rather than a collection." --Walter Benjamin, 1931 What does a library say about the mind of its owner? How do books map the intellectual interests, curiosities, tastes, and personalities of their readers? What does the collecting of books have in common with the practice of architecture? Unpacking My Library provides an intimate look at the personal libraries of twelve of the world's leading architects, alongside conversations about the significance of books to their careers and lives. Photographs of bookshelves--displaying well-loved and rare volumes, eclectic organizational schemes, and the individual touches that make a bookshelf one's own--provide an evocative glimpse of their owner's personal life. Each architect also presents a reading list of top ten influential titles, from architectural history to theory to fiction and nonfiction, that serves as a personal philosophy of literature and history, and advice on what every young architect, scholar, and lover of architecture should read. An inspiring cross-section of notable libraries, this beautiful book celebrates the arts of reading and collecting. Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books features the libraries of: Stan Allen Henry Cobb Liz Diller & Ric Scofidio Peter Eisenman Michael Graves Steven Holl Toshiko Mori Michael Sorkin Bernard Tschumi Todd Williams & Billie Tsien Peter Eisenman's Recommended Titles: Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities Le Corbusier, Vers une Architecture Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture Walter Benjamin, Illuminations James Joyce, Finnegans Wake William Faulkner, Light in August

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