Unprecedented Realism: The Architecture of Machado and Silvetti
Author: K. Michael Hays Princeton Architectural Press, 1995
For almost two decades the work of Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti has remained at the forefront of theoretical production. Their rigorously detailed and exquisitely drawn projects characterize an attitude of aesthetic realism towards materials, construction, function, and the cultural role of architecture. Yet the conditions they address, and the effects they produce, are unprecedented. Their projects synthesize seemingly incompatible images, uses, and typologies.
Unprecedented Realism is not an illustration of theory. Rather what emerges is a constructive theory of architecture that understands the process of design itself as a distinct mode of knowledgeas theoretical research that is still irreducibly architectural.
The book presents a range of work from buildings to urban infrastructures. Some of the projects presented include Steps of Providence, Rhode Island; Entrance for Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Carnegie-Mellon University Center, Pittsburgh; Pershing Square, Los Angeles; and Times Square, New York. Along with the analytical text of K. Michael Hays, the volume includes critical essays by Alan Colquhoun, George Baird, Fares el-Dahdah, and Rodolphe el-Khoury.
Hays has managed to elevate the genre of the monograph and to compose a text that offers not only insightful analysis of provocative work, but also a significant critical and theoretical structure that can mediate todays bifurcated currents in architectural theory.
-Val K. Warke