Book Builders: Architects as Authors and Editors

April 28, 2009–June 05, 2009
Lars Mueller, curator, publisher and designer
Mary Daniels, organizer

The historical perspective is encouraging. Ever since Vitruvius, important architects have been aware of the necessity to convey the theoretical superstructure of their creative activities in an independent medium. They recognized that as authors, they would need to assume the same responsibility for such publications as they did for their buildings.

The twentieth century – which I would like to designate as the century of the book – offers a multiplicity of instances of architectonic and urban planning visions that manifested themselves in book form prior to their physical realizations. The authorship of such architects was equally visible in their buildings and in their theoretical and occasionally polemical writings.

Throughout history, each substantial transformation in the attitude, style, and form of architecture found its initial expression in book form. As initiators and editors of magazines and as authors of books, architects contributed substantially to democratic debates on architectural culture, paving the way for the societal acceptance of new concepts and forms.

This should embolden those contemporary architects who lay claim to leadership roles within their discipline to present their convictions and ideas via the book medium.

The book will outlive the building.

Spring 2009

Library Special Collections Department and Piper Auditorium Wall