Tower and Office. From modernist theory to contemporary practice, by Inaki Abalos & Juan Herreros, a review


Continuing a series of posts intending to give some theoric tools in order to understand better what it can be seen in town, this book is an amazing reading. A technical book, not for everybody. I found it better than a History of Architecture.  Despite the writers are Spanish from Madrid, it is probably a must read book for American Students of Architecture.

There are 3 parts with 6 chapters.

Part 1: High Rise Construction adn the modern movement

chapt 1 -The theoretical Contributions of Le Corbusier.

Part Two: Technological Evolution of Contemproary high-Rise Structures

chapt 2,  Structural Development

chap 3 – Evolution of Glass Curtain Wall Construction

chap 4 – The Mechanically Regulated Enviroment and its Structural Implications

Part Three: Typological and Urban Evolution of the Contemporary High-Rise Building

chap 5 – The evolution of Space Planning in the Workplace

chap 6 – Evolution of Topological Planning in the High-Rise Building

The Mixed-Use Skyscraper

 

A passage that illustrates better the pertinence of this book when you walk through the streets of Omotesando, or Ginza:

 

pg.245-6″ In another sens, the relevance of the skyscraper lies in its resemblance to the mechanism of advertising and publicity.”[…]”It would be misleading to think that this phenomen is esculisvely American, Rather, it reflects the way new modes of production and the boom in information technology are being translated into material practices that affect affect the spatiotemporal concepts inherited from early modernism. For a comprehensive view of this phenomenon it is necessary to study other ways in which building functions have become layered and juxtaposed, such as in Japan or Europe. In Japan, for example, some of the new structural forms make clear that mixed-use types are not associated excusively with large-scale buildings2 Phenomena such as the #fashion buildings# in he Shinjuku district of Tokyo are evidence of a certain automorphic reproduction, of the similarity of operations associated with the flexible flow of capital.”…

pg266 “The glass buliding skin which was a single, inert, and autonomous layer in modernist formulations, took a new technical functions within theis new balance of energy systems. The building skin itself became thicker and double layered, and it was closely linked to the building`s ensemble of energy and structural subsystems. Its transparency also became an increasingly subjective condition. No longer related to the need for natural lighting in the work space, it became associated with the idea of psychological comfort”

the book was published for the first time in Madird in 1992, but this edition is the Mit Press Paperback edition, of 2005.

The book main concept is the passionate description of the race  of American to build higher and higher skyscrapers . In doing so the detailed observation of the structural problems they were face plays a pivotal role in the story.

Mies van der Rohe is a ghost under the book, and the SOM in Chicago is in front row. When Mies conquers the front row , a fantastic description of choices of mullions details comes out!

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