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Assignment 1: That was Then
19 January 2010


The book, magazine, newspaper, journal and pamphlet provided important alternative sites for architecture in the twentieth century. Less expensive, quicker and (arguably) simpler to assemble than a “built” argument, architects’ publications fill an essential role in articulating practices and developing the discipline. But most importantly, these documents are more portable than buildings — they circulate, are bought and sold, collect in personal archives, join libraries and become tokens of exchange in an always-shifting discourse. In this workshop, I would like to pay particular attention to these patterns of distribution and to examine how they change with shifting modes of production and new publishing models. For example, the shift from metal gravure to the cheaper and quicker photographic offset-printing resulted in a small explosion of little architecture magazines and new models for self-publishing and do-it-yourself distribution. To understand these shifts in context, we will look at some precedents.


Working together in groups of 4–5 students, choose one architecture publication below to research. Design a short slide show (approximately 30 full-frame slides, no on-screen text) together with a written script which places this publication in its context. When and how was the publication created? Who initiated the project? How was it printed? Who published it?
Who read it? Who paid for it? What else was happening in architecture at the time? In the world? How did it fit into an existing discourse? How many copies were printed? What else was published around the same time? How long did it remain in print? How was it produced? Was it sold? Reprinted? Shared? Collected? Please choose from the following list:

Towards a New Architecture, Le Corbusier
Nine Chains to the Moon, R. Buckminster Fuller
Team 10 Primer, edited by Alison Smithson
The Image of the City, Kevin Lynch
Ekistics, edited by C.A. Doxiadis
Archigram (series), Peter Cook, David Greene, Michael Webb,
Warren Chalk, Ron Herron and Dennis Crompton
Domebook 1 and 2, Lloyd Kahn and others
A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander
Learning from Las Vegas, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
Oppositions (series), edited by Peter Eisenman, Kenneth Frampton,
and Mario Gandelsonas
Soft Architecture Machines, Nicholas Negroponte
Delirious New York, Rem Koolhaas
Pamphlet Architecture (series), Steven Holl and William Stout
SMLXL, Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau
ANY Magazine, Cynthia Davidson and 2x4



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