In 2014, Rem Koolhaas curated the exhibition ‘Elements of Architecture’ at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, looking closely at the fundamental details and materials of buildings. In the wake of that exhibition and its exhaustive research, Taschen has recently launched a compendium, Elements of Architecture, exposing the nooks and crannies of design through the ages, and revealing how seemingly stable elements are in fact in constant evolution.
The weighty, 2600-page tome—not meant to be read cover-to-cover but perfect for a casual, coffee table flip-through—was conceived by architect Rem Koolhaas and produced in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Design. While the contents of the book are derived from Koolhaas’ 2014 exhibition, they have been updated and expanded for this publication. Whether minute or grand, elements such as windows, façades, balconies, corridors, fireplaces, stairs, escalators and elevators are put under the microscope to disentangle the web of origins, contaminations, similarities, and differences in architectural evolution. Politics, environment and technology play significant roles in the changing nature of these seemingly steadfast staples of design, and the book delves into these loaded questions with great attention to detail.
Described as an “essential toolkit to building anatomies”, Elements of Architecture is a new release from Taschen, and will be promoted by Koolhaas at an upcoming book signing in Hong Kong at the end of this month. In Koolhaas’s own words: “Never was a book more relevant—at a moment where architecture as we know it is changing beyond recognition.”
Designed by Irma Boom and based on research from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Elements of Architecture contains essays from Rem Koolhaas, Stephan Trueby, Manfredo di Robilant, and Jeffrey Inaba; interviews with Werner Sobek and Tony Fadell (of Nest); and an exclusive photo essay by Wolfgang Tillmans.