10: First Works

SHORT REVIEW

 

First works: Emerging architectural experimentation is the book form of an exhibition hosted at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 2009, this book chronicles the first works from twenty architects that started their practice in the 1960s and 1970s. First works is a cross-generational insight in the form of drawings, texts, and photographs into the juvenile beginnings and initial disruption of these now-famous architects.

This volume, edited by Bret Steele and Francisco Gonzalez de Canales presents the disciplinary anxieties, expanding interests, initial obsessions,and endless raw talents from an aggregate of architects that changed not only architecture's course but architecture culture, production methods, graphic space and collective imagination.

The project is brilliantly executed, with an unprecedented level of graphic virtuosity. In short: the project is a masterpiece. Zaha Hadid became an instant sensation. - Patrik Schumacher on Zaha Hadid
Every element appears to be deployed and adjusted for every possibility and detail. Made singular and apparent, they belong to a system where beauty derives not from some abstract, universal principle , but from the capacity to transform nature in a determinate way - Manuel Aires Mateus on Alvaro Siza
The building is a text not because it is authored but because it comes into existence by being readable - Sylvia Lavin on Morphosis

The projects presented in First Works can be roughly divided the following way:

Drawings: Ron Herron, Steven Holl Housing in Daga Dagatan, Daniel Libeskind Micromegas, Competition entries: Aldo Rossi Locomotiva 2, Projects: Michael Webb Sin Centre, Renzo Piano Shell Structural, Andrea Branzi Structure for Leisure, Coop Himmelbl(l)au, Rem Koolhaas Exodus, Morphosis Sequoyah Educational Research Center, Bernard Tschumi Fireworks, Zaha Hadid Taoseach's Residence, and Built works: Robert Venturi North Penn Visiting Nurses, Cedric Price London Zoo Aviary, Alvaro Siza Leca Swimming Pools, Rafael Moneo Diestre Factory, Team 4 (Foster + Rodgers) Retreat, Paul Virilio + Claude Parent Church of Sainte-Bernardette, Toyo Ito Aluminium House, Peter Eisenman House I.

It is notable that some of those personal stances for which some architects are now famous for, were already revealed within their first trials at architecture:

If residential spaces must fit the needs of department store furniture I have chosen the wrong profession - Toyo Ito
Good architecture must be conceived, erected and burned in vain. The greatest architecture of all is the fireworks: it perfectly shows the gratuitous consumption of pleasure - Bernard Tschumi
There is a historical tradition in architecture, whereby drawings signify more than can be embodied in a stable framework of objectifiable data - Daniel Libeskind
I am far from being able to offer theories ... No theories, because, after all, only the built architecture shows where you are, whether in the first or the fourth league. In between there is nothing, and yet, most of what exists in this country - Jacques Herzog
The first works involved in a project are not, strictly speaking, necessarily architectural. They involve conducting experiments on desired physical applications of construction materials or their ´non-physical´ traits, such as lightness, pliability, ease of construction and adaptability - all of which are recurrent concerns throughout the building process - Renzo Piano

Every entry contains the original text from the time of the project as well as a revised up-to-date commentary, plus is supplemented by wonderful reviews from appointed critics that value the significance of each project. This book illuminates the initial spirit and early influences from modern masters, and is an indispensable document for the study of the initial projects from the avant-garde in the 1960s and 70s: the new young disruptive cartographers of new territories in the form of: Zaha Hadid’s early dynamicity in Taoseach's Residence, Daniel Libeskind’s inner complex world made palpable in Micromegas, Rafael Moneo early display of genius in his Diestre Factory or in Peter Eisenman’s conceptual proofs made houses and many more...

The Diestre Transformer Factory can be considered a key index of Moneo's later sensibilities, oscillating between theoretical anxieties and professional practice, between international openness and the immediacy of his context - Luis M Mansilla & Emilio Tuñon on Rafael Moneo
Eisenman literally constructs a diagram about the conceptual status of structure in architecture -  Robert E Somol on Peter Eisenman
The spacesuit is the prototype of an architecture that pulsates out of the body. The plastic bubble of the space helmet inflates into a spaceship with vibrating plumbing lines of conditioned air and information, images, smells, colours, sounds and heat, feeding a psychedelic environment freed from up down, left and right, right and wrong.

Brett Steele, francisco Gonzalez de canales

First Works: Emerging Architectural Experimentation of the 1960s & 1970s

aa publications

ISBN 1902902815