Are you looking for something to read on the beach or in the forest in the mountains? Here are 5 books not to be missed, obviously on the subject of design and architecture, for those who cannot do without them even on vacation.
The Last Grand Tour Contemporary phenomena and strategies of living in Italy by Michael Obrist and Antonietta Putzu (Park Book publisher, 50 euros)
In the period of the year in which Italy is a travel destination for thousands of foreigners on holiday, it is worth opening this section with a book which - also from a graphic point of view - is more reminiscent of a geographical atlas.
Where the authors, two Italian architects who teach abroad, taking up the nineteenth-century tradition of the Grand Tour, an artistic-cultural training journey for the scions of the European aristocracy, immersed themselves in the architecture and urban planning of today's Italy. Chapter after chapter, they thus explored the Bel Paese on different scales: from regions to cities, from homes to communication routes, up to the resources of the territory and the landscape.
Because the assumption of the authors is that the home is always part of a larger and more complex body, on which interests, needs, but also different historical legacies can act. Which is worth knowing.
Who will like it: a book that can be considered a modern compass for architects and urban planners. But it may also be of interest to any of us (citizens, young people, associations or administrators), who want to have an overview to know how to read and deal with the most urgent contemporary issues, such as the cost of housing, gentrification and the balance of man -nature.
Gardens. The art of nature from Babylon to urban ecology by Mariella Zoppi (Carocci editore, 35 euros)
If gardens have always been the mirror of the civilizations that generated them, tracing their history means taking a journey through time to understand the ideals of beauty that have shaped their forms over the centuries, established their essences, designed their paths. And much more.
In this volume Mariella Zoppi, urban planner and professor of landscape architecture in Florence, tells the story of gardens between the East (which transforms them into spiritual places) and the West (where the fusion between architecture and nature prevails), between respect for the rules, the affirmation of power and a deep human desire to be reconciled with nature. Because, at the base of a garden, there is the unconscious need to return to Paradise Lost.
A book that accompanies readers up to the present day, when the green project has now become an integral part of the strategy to combat climate change and pollution. It is a sign of attention to biodiversity and people's well-being through the creation of pleasant and comfortable public spaces.
Who will like it: historians, because understanding the evolution of gardens over time also means dealing with issues related to power, the economy and politics. And to all those who, for work or passion, are grappling with the design of a garden: reading it promotes the awareness of contributing to a widespread and widespread presence of greenery, in which each garden becomes a piece of a larger and more necessary.
The three water lines: challenge under 35, case study, looks by Alfonso Femia (55 euros, Edizioni Biennale)
Make way for young people (finally). From the Biennale dello Strait, born in 2018 as a permanent place for research and international comparison to grasp the real potential for relaunching the Mediterranean area, a volume that publishes the results of the Call to action addressed to architects under 35 who have been asked to associate the word water to a project.
It was signed by Alfonso Femia, creator and artistic director of the Biennale dello Sretto and architect who, with his studio, has always dealt with the relationship between water and architecture.
The title, "The three water lines", has a double interpretation: on the one hand it refers to the three types of water (plain, ridge and coast) that unite the territories of Sicily and Calabria overlook the Strait of Messina. But they also represent the encounter between Mediterranean water with architecture, landscape and art.
The three water lines, therefore, as the lowest common denominator for a contemporary reflection, updated on climate issues.
Who will like it: whoever has understood that, in order to face the emergencies of this era (one of which, a very important one, concerns water), everyone's contribution is needed. Above all the fresh and lively gaze of the youngest, often not listened to in Italy, capable of innovative and at the same time sustainable ideas.
Concrete Jungle. Tropical architecture and its surprising origins (AA.VV, 55 euro, Gestalten publisher)
Over time, the meeting between modernist architecture and tropical vegetation has produced some of the most visionary, futuristic and timeless houses in the history of architecture.
To tell them, a photo book that combines some classics of modern architecture such as the Casa da Canoa by Oscar Niemeyer, the Cuadra San Cristóbal by Luis Barragán or the projects by Paulo Mendes da Rocha with more contemporary constructions such as the houses designed by Brazilian architects Marcio Kogan, founder of Studio MK27, and Angelo Bucci, of Spbr.
Demonstrating the potential of this dialogue and the innovative possibilities, such as the use of exposed raw materials, to explore functionality rather than aesthetics.
Who will like it: who, starting from a selection of some of the most important outcomes of this meeting, understood how the challenge of bringing together rational architecture and the richness of tropical vegetation can produce housing models also useful for experimentation and innovation in the urban architecture of the future.
The Brutalists: Brutalism's Best Architects, by Owen Hopkins (60 euros, Phaidon)
There is nothing to do: either you love it or you hate it. It is brutalist architecture, that of reinforced concrete in plain sight and no frills, which has returned to the center of attention today, of which this book just released by Phaidon tells the story through 350 images of 250 brutalist buildings. From the iconic to the less known, newer and more surprising, in a journey (across five continents) that goes from 1936 to the present day.
For this reason, the volume also represents the most complete and documented but first published survey on one of the most divisive but also celebrated styles in the history of architecture.
In addition to the various buildings, Owen Hopkins also deals with the personal style and biography of over 250 architects (organized in alphabetical order) combined with some selected examples of their work, thus finally giving space to personalities too long neglected.
They range from John Andrews to João Batista Vilanova Artigas; from Lina Bo Bardi to Bertrand Goldberg; from Agustín Hernández Navarro to Le Corbusier; from Oscar Niemeyer to William L. Pereira: impossible to mention them all.
Who will like it: Who, architecture students or designers, wants to grasp the different souls of a style that has returned to the center of interest today and which, in our country, has been declined above all in the public housing (such as the Rozzoli Melara in Trieste and the Nuovo Corviale complex in Rome).
Cover photo: a shot from the NABA award ceremony, the NABA Design Award, the competition born from an idea by Claudio Larcher, NABA Design Area Leader, which rewards the best projects created during the past academic year: a opportunity to celebrate the works of the students of the Bachelor of Design and the MA in Product and Service Design, Interior Design and Social Design. During the awards ceremony held last night at AriAnteo Chiostro dell'Incoronata in Milan and live streaming on the channel YouTube by NABA, in addition to the Best Project of the Year and the Jury Prize, many other categories in the competition were awarded: from the best Triennium Interior Project to the best Biennium Product and Service Thesis.
The Best Project of the year is "Nothing to see" by Chethra Iotti, Matilde Martegani and Andrea Motta, born from the need to highlight a contradiction present in Milan, in the Giambellino district: empty houses and housing urgency. The intervention consists in highlighting the bricked up/laminated windows: various installations positioned in key points, in fact, make them visible. The project has the ambition to signal and give hope, intriguing and stimulating full awareness of the political and social value of the situation.
The Jury Prize, aimed at enhancing the design approach of research, goes to "UP" by Lucrezia Bellandi, Niccolò Binotto and Giuseppe Caputo. The project starts from the study of the balloon as a tool that offers numerous possibilities of use thanks to its elastic, plastic and sustainability qualities. UP is a kit which, thanks to a simple technique, makes it possible to compose a light fixture whose shapes are partly random, as they are given by the inflation of a balloon and by a joint that binds it to the light source: a colored and always different.