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The Significance of the Idea in the Architecture of Valerio Olgiati [Paperback]

Markus Breitschmid , Valerio Olgiati
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

30 Sep 2009
Valerio Olgiati is known as one of the most important exponents of Swiss contemporary architecture. In the present forth volume of the series edition archithese, Olgiati answers questions posed to him about the social responsibility of the architect, the difference between the earlier generation of architects and that of today, the influence of post-modernity and the difficulties of architects in the realisation of projects. Markus Breitschmid rounds off the volume with an essay.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Niggli Verlag (30 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English, German
  • ISBN-10: 3721206762
  • ISBN-13: 978-3721206760
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 16.4 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Markus Breitschmid is a trained architect and architectural historian. Since 2004, he has taught architectural history, theory, and design at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Valerio Olgiati (born 1958 in Chur, Switzerland) graduated with a diploma in architecture from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in 1986. He has operated architecture practices in Zurich (1988-1993), Los Angeles (1993-1995 with Frank Escher), and again in Zurich, Chur, and Flims since 1998. Since 2001, he has been Professor at the Accademia di Architettura of the Universita della Svizzera Italiana in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Olgiati's oeuvre has been published widely in international architectural journals and monographs.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
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