Villa Beer in Vienna
Stepahn Huger Villa Beer in Vienna
"Josef Frank—Spaces" by Mikael Bergquist and Olof Michélsen
Jeff Elkins "Josef Frank—Spaces" by Mikael Bergquist and Olof Michélsen


Inside the playful pink graphic cover of Josef Frank—Spaces (Park Books, 2016), authors and Swedish architects Mikael Bergquist and Olof Michélsen, who have published other books about Frank, pack a meaty analysis of six residential projects into just over 100 pages. According to the publisher, this book is the first to hone in on the Austrian architect’s single-family portfolio.

In his 1958 essay “Accidentism,” Frank wrote that “we should design our surroundings as if they originated by chance.” Bergquist and Michélsen picked the six houses, half of which were never built, to illustrate Frank’s range and evolution: Claëson House in Falsterbo, Sweden (1924-1927); House for Vienna XIII (1926, unbuilt); House for MS in Los Angeles (1930, unbuilt); Villa Beer in Vienna (1930); Villa Wehtje in Falsterbo (1936); and Accidental House, Fantasy House No. 9 (1947, unbuilt).

Photograph (left) and axonometric diagram (right) of Villa Beer
Jeff Elkins Photograph (left) and axonometric diagram (right) of Villa Beer

The book highlights Frank’s use of volumes, scale, and placement of staircases to define public and private spaces, entry sequences, and a house’s circulation path, and liberally illustrates these ideas with floor plans, sections, diagrams, renderings, and photographs. The last quarter of the volume is dedicated to a chronological index of drawings of Frank’s houses, beginning in 1913 with the Scholl House in Vienna and ending with the conceptual D House series in 1957 and 1958.

Perspective drawing of Claëson House in Falsterbo, Sweden
Josef Frank Perspective drawing of Claëson House in Falsterbo, Sweden
Rendering of 3D model of Accidental House
Rendering of 3D model of Accidental House