Surface architecture - David Leatherbarrow



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Surface architecture
David Leatherbarrow
Paperback / softback
The MIT Press
UK Publication Date

Visually, many contemporary buildings either reflect their systems of production or recollect earlier styles and motifs. This division between production and representation is in some ways an extension of that between modernity and tradition. In this book David Leatherbarrow and Mohsen Mostafavi explore ways design can take advantage of production methods so that architecture neither ignores nor is dominated by technology. Leatherbarrow and Mostafavi examine the theoretical and practical isolation of the building surface as the subject of architectural design. The autonomy of the surface, the modernist "free facade," presumed a distinction between the structural and nonstructural elements of the building, between the frame and the cladding. Once the skin of the building became independent of its structure, it could just as well hang like a curtain, or like clothing. But the properties of a building's surface - whether made of concrete, metal, glass, or other materials - are not merely superficial; they construct the spatial effects by which architecture communicates. Through its surfaces a building declares both its autonomy and its participation in its surroundings.

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David Leatherbarrow is Professor of Architecture and Chairman of the Graduate Group in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.

Keyword Index
Architecture.|Architecture and technology.|Materials - Appearance.
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