A Century of the Disruptive Avant-Garde

From L-R: Zaha Hadid, Zollhof Media Park, Düsseldorf, Germany, 1989–93. © Zaha Hadid Foundation; Architecture Unbound by Joseph Giovannini. Book design by Abbott Miller, Pentagram; Eric Owen Moss, Lawson-Westen House, Los Angeles, California, 1993. Photograph © Tom Bonner 2017.

In Architecture Unbound, noted architecture critic Joseph Giovannini takes us to architecture’s wilder shores as he traces a century of the avant-garde to transgressive and progressive art movements that roiled Europe before and after World War I, and to the social unrest and cultural disruption of the 1960s. Manifestos produced during this pivotal and fertile period opened the way to tentative forays into an inventive, anti-authoritarian architecture in the next decade. Built projects broke onto the front pages and into public awareness in the 1980s, and took digital form in the 1990s, with large-scale international projects landing on the far side of the millennium.

As Giovannini writes in the Prologue, “With strategies of explosion, collision, and fragmentation, architects were introducing forces that dislocated architecture’s system of thought and construction predicated on gravity. Architects produced fresh astonishments, some fantastical. The buildings worked, and they worked well, but perhaps their highest and best function was to fascinate.”

Architecture Unbound tracks complex historical developments and conceptual influences across the century, presenting an authoritative and illuminating history of the twentieth-century avant-garde and its evolution into digital form-making in the twenty-first century. He profiles influential practitioners and their most notable projects including Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao and Walt Disney Concert Hall, Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House, Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin, Rem Koolhaas’s CCTV Tower, and Herzog and de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. He includes scores of other projects and architects who contributed to the groundswell of work that established a broadly based movement that has continued in an ongoing digital phase.

The avant-garde focus of Giovannini’s text, which includes Claude Parent and Paul Virilio’s theories of the oblique, is translated into the book’s trapezoidal format and inventive typographical layout, designed by celebrated graphic designer Abbott Miller of Pentagram. Giovannini analyzes this innovative and daring epoch of design with the evocative prose and finely drawn insights of a book that will earn its place on bookshelves as an essential addition to the contemporary architecture canon.

About The Author: Joseph Giovannini is a practicing architect who has written on architecture and design for four decades for such publications as the New York Times, Architectural Record, Art in America, and Art Forum, and he has served as the architecture critic for New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He has also taught widely in graduate architecture programs.

Credit for the book must read: ARCHITECTURE UNBOUND: A Century of the Disruptive Avant-Garde by Joseph Giovannini © Rizzoli New York, 2021. Select press images will be made available and must be credited case by case. No image may be used, in print or electronically, without written consent from the publisher.

ARCHITECTURE UNBOUND: A Century of the Disruptive Avant-Garde

By Joseph Giovannini

Hardcover trapezoid / 9” x 11” / 876 pages / 698 Color and B&W drawings and photographs

$50.00 U.S. / $67.50 Canadian / £36.95 U.K.

ISBN: 978-0-8478-5879-8 / Rizzoli New York

Release date: October 2021

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