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The AR December 2018/January 2019 Book issue

1457 cover ar book

Features on books and buildings, with pieces exploring the architecture and influence of books as well as libraries and archives from across the world including the winner of the AR Library awards

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Through the ages, books have shaped architectural discourse and culture as least as much as buildings have. For this issue of the AR, we look at the reciprocal and multifarious relationships between books and buildings, from libraries and archives to the architecture of text itself. In the keynote, Maarten Delbeke and Emma Letizia Jones argue that libraries are ‘temples of ignorance’ rather than ‘temples of knowledge’, Shannon Mattern decries the neglect of the public library in Outrage, this month’s Reputations follows the career of Clorindo Testa, architect of the National Library of the Argentine Republic, and Lili Carr revisits Alberto Kalach’s Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Mexico City. 

Hannah Gregory draws us through the thresholds of the book to take up residence in the text, and we invite you into our Book of Books, filled with features inspired by books both new and old: André Tavares’ The Anatomy of the Architectural Book and the new edition of Elements of Architecture are followed by interviews with Lars Müller and Irma Boom, while Honor Gavin gives a creative reading of Paradises Lost by Ursula K Le Guin.

Spanning locales as disparate as rural China and post-industrial Germany, the AR Library awards shortlist reflects the diversifying relationship between books and the buildings that house them. As well as responding to site and climate, each building is the sum of very specific architectural, cultural, functional and social resonances. While Neri&Hu’s community library was found to have been partly demolished, the winner, Green Square library in Sydney by Stewart Hollenstein with Stewart Architecture, reflects a level of insight and invention that set it apart. But all the shortlisted schemes have important lessons for the future. 

The full table of contents is available here