A compilation of the first ten Pamphlets, this book seems true to what the originals probably were (including the numerous misspellings...noteably even on Holl's #9 that apparently was reprinted before by Princeton Architectural Press). Not having read the subsequent Pamphlets yet, this comes off as a confused beginning. What is the identity of the series - a platform for self-promotion (Hadid, The first one by Holl, Mack) or is it a opportunity to print minor research (the second and third Holl)? Whatever it is, it holds much interest. I especially like Mack's young blond boy with concrete shoes and a Type "S" hanglider. We need more of that in architectural discourse...M.
PA #1 - BRIDGESAn interesting start--interesting particularly because it's clearly more of a singular proposal for a project as suggested in the introduction), but still maintains a sort of ideological optimism heralded in with the confluence of bold architecture.PA #2 - 10 CALIFORNIAN HOUSESI love this. Much of the hyperbole had me actually cracking up. Aside from that, I'm always particularly interested & satisfied by these paper architects' plans for houses, especially houses that are serving a specific function. Also, reading this while living in the Bay probably ups the ante on the hilarity, even 35 years after it was written.PA #3 - VILLA PRIMA FACIEAbsolutely amazing. Taking a line from Francis Ponge as its launching point, Lerup manages, with a high level of success, to actually use poetry to write architecture--I say this with a marked sense of disbelief as it's one of my primary goals as an artist. The work is astounding, buildings are words and there are beautiful diagrammatic sketches that illustrate the text-house. So beautiful.PA #4 - STAIRWELLSAn absolutely terrific sequence of drawing permutations, going from simple forms and shifting into various fantastic stairwell diagrams, incredibly monolithic spaces, structures, forms. John Taggart wrote a poem series called The Pyramid is a Pure Crystal and this essence is imparted here, pyramids, cylinders, cubes, all used as routes from one point to another.PA #5 - THE ALPHABETICAL CITYOf the initial run, this seems to be the most "utile" of the pamphlets, perhaps, working mostly as documentation into building types in cities, and the grids that these buildings can be placed upon. Building types are compared to letters, and in its consideration of light and depth there is much of interest here to actual architects & engineers, but less of interest to a poet. However, I feel like architecture is important to narrative, and while perhaps not the most exciting pamphlet of the series, there's a sense of information here that will prove itself helpful. PA #6 - EINSTEIN'S TOMBLebbeus Woods is always a dreamer, and while often his architecture is hard to understand based on the diagrams & drawings, in here there's a simultaneous insistence between the poetry-like discussion of the tomb & the drawings, from many angles, repeated and redrawn over themselves. It's fantastic, of course, and a kick into a sort of impossible to realize but essential to create (in the sense of a real understanding of architecture meting with concept).PA #7 - BRIDGE OF HOUSESThis volumes presents two proposals for what are, as the title would indicate, bridges of houses. I also found it interesting that the 'introductory' text also explicitely states that the first proposal (1979 competition proposal for Melbourne, Australia) is "in the form of an ideal speculation," while the second (proposal "sited on a disused elevated rail link in the Chelsea area of Manhattan") is "far more pragmatic." Guess which one I find more interesting. I'm regularly fascinated by the idea of houses that are targeted at such a hyper-specific/poetic demographic (i.e. "House of the Decider," "House for a Man Without Opinions," etc, in the Melbourne proposal) and how narrative can be worked into the layout of a hosue.PA #8 - PLANETARY ARCHITECTURE, PROJECTS 77-81I seem to be completely incapable of actually reading the diagrams of this section--as in, they simply don't make sense to me, I can't make sense of them spatially, and they're slightly abstracted enough to disorient me entirely. I'm into the idea of a sort of horizontal development of architecture, especially in relationship to hotels, but I found myself utterly confused. In the last apartment though, I do fully enjoy the large glass brick wall & the large 'black' wall.PA #9 - RURAL & URBAN HOUSE TYPES in North AmericaOstensibly a follow up to The Alphabetical City (PA #5), I found this typology of house types far more fascinating, which had me questioning the idea of how much of a hold rural house types actually hold over me. As a catalog of forms and structures, the rural were/are far more interesting than the urban; which is another idea I find interesting.PA #10 - METAFISICA DELLA ARCHITETTURASartoris's projects, pictured, mostly in axonometic drawings,are amazing, and I wish that instead of just an essay on purity & harmony in a metaphysical approach to architecture there had been information on Sartoris's own work... The essay is interesting, but seems a little old hat, and also coming from a modernist tradition that I can't 100% get down with... I much prefer Sottsass, who also declared that everybody should be able to have a home, but he also insisted that everyone deserves a beautiful, which undermines the modernist assumption that ornament is inutile.