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Press Files: Relaunch October 2011

Press Resources for the relaunch of the Architectural Review October 2011

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Since The Architectural Review was founded in 1896 it has striven to place itself at the vanguard of architectural culture and production. Over the last 115 years, our constant role has been, not as a passive observer, but as a vocal participant and speculative activist within the profession.

Yet even through the long perspective of our own history, it is clear that we have now reached a critical moment for architecture. There are huge issues facing the world, and these need a thoughtful response from the global architectural community. Next month, for the October issue, we will be relaunching the magazine with the stated aim of tackling these issues more rigorously.

The AR has always sought to bring our readers the most interesting completed buildings from around the world. This remains so. But we also now embrace the larger project of developing the urgent thinking required by challenges such as the diminishing of natural resources, increasing financial insecurity and the disintegration of our urban fabric.

And while this is a critical moment for architecture, it is also one for architectural publishing. The instant artillery of online imagery, thinking and debate has challenged traditional models of communication, but we believe that a monthly international magazine is a discursive platform that can - and must - play an incredibly important part in this transitional landscape.

Last summer the AR introduced an upgraded website, which offers new ways to provide different types of content. But as we seize these digital opportunities, we have also strengthened our resolution and belief in the need for a high quality print product that delivers the information, inspiration and intellectual stimulation that our readers want.

All this inevitably implies a different graphic design approach, and the magazine’s new look is intended to reconnect it with the core purpose of communicating content clearly and elegantly. Like you, we want to have more in-depth and diverting features; but we also want the look and feel of the paper experience to resonate more strongly with the seriousness of the editorial intent.

For this we have commissioned the experienced hand of Simon Esterson to lead the redesign. Simon, who started his design career on our sister title The Architects’ Journal, is now the Creative Director of graphic design magazine Eye; he will be collaborating with the AR’s new Art Editor, Jon Morgan, who joins us from the contemporary culture magazine Dazed & Confused.

To deliver our larger architectural agenda, we want both our print and web offerings to complement each other and play to their respective strengths. The magazine’s role will be redefined toward areas where print can excel - such as longer, more insightful pieces with high quality images and drawings - with supplementary content migrating online.

Testing our proposition against the magazine’s current features, we have chosen to enhance some of the existing and introduce completely new ones where we need to. This critical approach has guided the section-by-section composition of the AR, and below we highlight the major changes:

View (monthly)

View will be condensed and focused less on ‘news’ more on ‘views’. It will open with Overview, with stories from the world of architecture, additional Outrage pieces and Correspondence from readers.

Broader View (monthly)

Broader View, the new invigorating salvo of our View section, is an essay by high-profile contributor from another discipline who will share relevant critical thinking with the architectural community.

Viewpoint (monthly)

We will introduce a range of new columnists from practice and academia. For October we are delighted to welcome to the roster the award-winning London-based architect Farshid Moussavi.

Buildings

The selected buildings will be featured in greater depth, with longer pieces of criticism, more incisive reportage, a greater emphasis on drawings, and additional online material.

Revisit (every other issue)

Revisit aims to locate where we are historically by critically re-evaluating a built project from a previous era. The pieces will look at projects that attempted to break new ground at the time, measuring whether or not they succeeded and what lessons can be drawn from it for today.

Typology Quarterly (four times a year, starting in November)

Typology Quarterly will examine a different architectural type (from libraries to offices) in order to assess how wider changes (from society to technology) are affecting architectural production in a specific sector. An introductory essay on traditional organisational models will contextualise a selection of short case-studies discussing emerging spatial strategies.

Theory (three/four times a year)

Architectural theory has become ever-more recherché and disconnected from practice over recent years. Our Theory section aims to close this gap with provocative pieces of architectural thinking.

Other Essays

Taking a position against the isolated ‘icon’ building of recent years, our renewed interest in the connective tissue that binds separate architectural projects together will be explored in Urbanism and Landscape features.

Skill (three/four times a year)

Skill will become more useful by studying the techniques from three projects to frame a discussion around a particular architectural/technical enquiry.

Reviews (monthly)

Reviews is the renamed Marginalia section. It will feature all the latest cultural offerings, with a commitment to feature a greater number of book reviews.

Pedagogy (monthly)

This new feature will focus on a specific teacher or institution to explore the most effective ways to teach architecture as both a cultural endeavour and practical discipline.

Reputations (monthly)

The final feature in the magazine, Reputations will assess the perceived legacy and critical influence of a major figure’s contribution to architecture, providing a thought-provoking coda to the issue.

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