17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A monograph anything but formulaic,
This review is from: Reveal: Studio Gang Architects (Paperback)
This monograph on Chicago's Studio Gang Architects sets itself apart from traditional architecture monographs in a number of ways: It does not present all of the firm's built work to date, or present all of its projects spanning a particular time frame; it does not document projects with only photos and floor plans; it does not limit the text to project descriptions and the requisite introductory essay -- an introductory essay isn't even to be found. So what does it do? As the title implies, it REVEALS the imagination and working process of Jeanne Gang and team through an archival presentation (including research, sketches, notes, references, and much more) of key projects, six to be precise. It is no surprise that the right-page footer says, "Book One: Reveal," as the missing projects will surely find their way into future monographs.
The book further incorporates numerous outside voices: interviews, contributions from consultants, essays from academics, and so forth. A series of fold out histories accompanying the six projects illustrate how inspiration can reach back centuries or further, hopping over subsequent developments. For example the jigsaw puzzle stone pieces of the Marble Curtain installation -- stone tiles draped from a ceiling at the National Building Museum -- hark back to the interlocking granite base of the 18th century Smeaton's Tower, which is described in one such fold out. But what I appreciate about this and other insertions, something that applies to much of the rest of the book, is that the relationship between it and the Studio Gang installation is not explicit; it might be obvious but it is left to the reader to discover. The rest of the book likewise reveals the projects so that the reader gradually understands the intertwining issues, inspirations, and ideas, with each project presented in a different way. This monograph is anything but formulaic; it is thoroughly compiled, intelligently written, and beautifully presented. Highly recommended.