Perimeter's curated Reading Capsules aim to explore some of the store's key points of interest and enquiry. Each capsule, focusing on various themes, mediums and contexts in art and design publishing, features titles available for individual purchase or as a specially priced bundle.
Capsule #09: Documenting the Built Form concerns the meeting of photography and architecture. Showcasing a variety of scale – in both the publications' forms and their architectural subjects – these photographers capture the way in which the built form embodies and communicates the stories of place.
Each of these titles are available for individual purchase through the web store, or as a specially priced bundle ($625 with free domestic shipping).
Built in the early 1950s in São Paulo, Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro (Glass House) was the first real architectural project she completed after her arrival in Brazil. Built as a home for herself and her husband, it clearly demonstrates how architecture and design should keep a distance from individuals, society or community, and the natural environment – a stance that would come to underlie all of the Italian-born architect’s subsequent works. Photographed by master architectural photographer Yukio Futagawa, Casa de Vidro still appears as its designer intended, a prototype that responded to a new society, rising directly from the earth and embedded in the surrounding jungle. (Ada Edita Global Architecture – Tokyo)
In 2015, French photographer François Halard (b. 1961) visited late Saul Leiter’s almost empty apartment in the East Village, two years after his passing, in 2013. He took photographs of the decrepit walls, the empty closet, and of what Leiter had left behind. Saul Leiter (1923–2013) was an American painter and photographer whose work was deeply connected to the East Village, the neighbourhood he lived in for over fifty-five years. After the release of a first book in 2006, fifty years after he started working, Leiter has been considered a pioneer in color photography. Halard somehow manages to catch the spirit of Leiter, turning the pages you feel he might appear in the next spread. Or at least his cat will. But the space remains beautifully empty. (Libraryman – Antwerp/Stockholm)
It is the seemingly peripheral details and gestures that come to anchor this collection of images. Like the building they document, these photographs of the Drawing Matter Archive at the working Shatwell Farm in Somerset, UK, find their bearings in the backgrounds, the contextual minutiae and the footnotes. Taking the form of a three-way conversation between the Archive’s architect, Hugh Strange, Norwegian-Australian photographer Max Creasy, and Swedish academic, architect and writer Elizabeth Hatz, this book not only offers a subtly poetic and expansive vantage on the Archive, the collection it houses and its place in the surrounding farm, but also forwards a wider précis on the built form; one in which architecture is layered, living and lived. (Perimeter Editions – Melbourne)
In the early 1960s Oscar Niemeyer designed a complex in Tripoli that was intended to serve as a large exhibition centre and to be part of the Tripoli International Fair. The location used to be an immense /vast orchard, full of oranges. Now here lies an abandoned complex of 15 structures, including / which include an outdoor theatre, a concert hall, an atrium, an arch, a heliport and lodgings. The site is an example of futurist modernist architecture, unfortunately led to decay. The project was never finished due to technical problems, incoherent bud-gets and the Lebanese Civil War in 1975. Photographer Giovanna Silva visited the site and documented what is left, capturing the atmosphere, the fading colours, the leftover stones but nonetheless showing us the grandeur of what was once the centre of Tripoli’s architecture. (Art Paper Editions – Ghent)
Sydney-based Jon Setter (b. 1989, Detroit) makes photographs that attempt to reveal the unseen aspects of urban spaces and architecture. Often working with subjects discovered by chance on unprescribed walks, he documents cities from peculiar viewpoints. Colours, patterns, materials and textures of the urban vernacular are methodically developed into an abstracted expression of space to expand our reading of the cityscape. Taking French sociologist Michel de Certeau’s notion of the urban text as a starting point, Jon Setter uses his photography to reveal the often overlooked aspects of urban spaces; ambiguous fragments hidden in plain sight among the dense narratives of the built environment. Acting as a modern day flâneur he seeks out what we take for granted, uncovering hidden truths and detailing the unexplored. (Emblem Books – Sydney)
Since the early eighties, Gerry Johansson has made quiet pictures of quiet places, often lying in the shadows of industrial decline. For American Winter, Johansson travelled through semi-deserted towns in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, finding as much beauty as there was misery in landscapes cloaked in snow: an isolated church floating in a mottled sea of white; leafless trees lining endless highways leading to nothing; long shadows cast on vernacular architecture in the season’s merciless sun. In his photographs time appears to stand still: neighbourhoods that once possessed the allure of Art Deco architecture, or the glory of bustling Main Streets, are now home to abandoned school buildings and cars parked decades ago. Johansson’s ascetic framing and sensitivity to light lends itself to the scenery and the sense of hopelessness evoked by these neglected places. (MACK – London)
Lonely Planets documents a road trip taken by Swiss design trio Atlas Studio while undertaking a residency in Iran. Their photographs, taken from both inside and outside the car, capture unique architectural details found throughout their journey, accompanied by fragments of text that record the conversation they had with their driver. Martin Andereggen, Claudio Gasser and Jonas Wandeler live and work in Zurich. The trio all studied graphic design at the ZHdK, Zurich University of the Arts, which is also where they teamed up in 2012 to run Atlas Studio. (Kodoji Press – Baden)
From 1970 Luigi Ghirri roamed around the houses, streets, squares and suburbs in his adoptive town of Modena and built a body of early work which contains within it signposts to many of the directions his practice would subsequently take. Most of the time he worked in Modena, only occasionally travelling further afield to the beaches of Rimini on the Adriatic or the Swiss Lakes. He began to map out projects and themes – some specifically grouped around a subject, others gathered around a more poetic organising principle. One of the latter was Colazione sull’Erba (Breakfast on the Grass) in which he bought together photographs made between 1972 and 1974 on the outskirts of Modena which he states he “visited in an ironic and anxious manner”. His focus was the juncture of nature and artifice in the man-made environment; the symmetries of cypress trees, well-kept lawns, the personalising touch of plants in pots, palm trees and cacti with their promise of somewhere else. (MACK – London)
Post Hiroshige is Rohan Hutchinson's new body of work, continuing the Melbourne photographer's interest into Japanese Architecture and representation of space both within artwork and publication form. The publication is extremely limited, with 150 copies being produced. Each publication includes a limited edition numbered and signed print.
The body of work draws inspiration from historic Japanese Ukiyo-Artist Hiroshige Utagawa. The interest lies in how Hiroshige broke away with traditional mathematical formulas of the time, in-return created a new way of seeing the natural and built landscape. The publication was created to replicate this angle of representation, through using highly detailed photographs of the Japanese modernist city Sapporo, the publication represents the architecture landscape in a different manner, one that explores a series of unbound collages depicting the variety of architectural nuances. (Self-published – Melbourne)
Throughout her prolific career, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg has led the way in documenting man-made environments on the cusp of change and transition. The sites she visited were often remote and difficult to access. In 1996 and 1997 she traveled to Armenia and with a small portable camera made visual notes of remnants of Soviet architecture during her walks through the capital city of Yerevan. She developed the films on her return to Germany and in 2001 she edited and compiled the prints into a traditional notebook used in Armenian schools which she had bought back from one of her trips. This hand-made sketchbook was then dedicated to her daughter, Julia, who was studying architecture at the time.
This publication is a facsimile of the original sketchbook, an artist’s book work embedded with the history of the cultural artefacts long-since disassembled and the actions of the artist in walking through time and space, documenting and compiling the material. (MACK – London)