At last, a book on Olgiati that is predominantly text about the architect and his approach to work. The book takes two parts, the first a transcript from a conference in the US. The questions are occasionally trite and Olgiati's responses occasionally sound a little high-handed and condescending. But it is always difficult to judge tone and intonation from transcriptions. Nonetheless - Olgiati sheds some light on his techniques - the black and white drawings, the absence of CGIs from his office: people should engage their intellect and imagination.
The second part of the book is more informative; the notion of architect as artist is dismissed by Olgiati, he places himself far closer to maths and questions the validity of sitting at the desk all day long, sketching, in hope of some divine intervention or genius delusion. It is quite refreshing to hear a respected architect, who has delivered some sublime buildings stand up and challenge the ego-generation of architects in favour of a more scientific approach. It is not the image that matters, it is the quality of the thing, and the quality of that thing is solely dependent on the quality of the idea that lies behind it.
This book makes a welcome read for anyone who is bored of architects trying to pass themselves off as artists and artists trying to pass themselves off as architects. The book only loses a star as I think it could have benefitted from more illustrations, particularly in the first part when Olgiati makes references to images from a slide show which obviously occurred before the Q&A that is transcribed. It is a shame these images were not included in this otherwise excellent book.