Architecture monographs used to adhere to a three-part formula: professional photographs of recent buildings, project descriptions written by the firm’s marketing department, and an essay by a big-name friend of the principal. But ever since Bruce Mau and Rem Koolhaas published the iconoclastic S,M,L,XL in 1995, architects have been motivated to reinvent the monographic wheel. Höweler + Yoon Architecture’s new Expanded Practice (above left), for instance, presents not a series of building projects but a series of research projects, which in the case of this technologically deft Boston firm amounts to much the same thing.
$40; Princeton Architectural Press
Judging Eric Owen Moss’ Construction Manual: 1988–2008 (above right) by its cover (faux-leather binding, gold-embossed type, and tabbed section markers), one could mistake it for a dictionary or encyclopedia. The detail drawings inside, some of them Moss’ own sketches, prove he’s not just an architect-cum-theorist who designs insanely complex buildings, but one who cares deeply about how those buildings get built.
As an exercise in sheer fun, the new monograph from New York architect Wendy Evans Joseph takes the prize. Sure, it’s got an essay by Paul Goldberger, but the real attractions are implicit in the book’s title: Pop Up Architecture. Paper engineer Kees Moerbeek pushed five of the architect’s projects, including a private observatory (pictured), into another new dimension.
$75; Melcher Media