Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines

I’ve been meaning to write something on this wonderful book for a while. Falling somewhere between dusty nostalgia and future world innovation, this book documents the explosion of self published architectural magazines of the early 1960s through to the late 1970’s.

Despite the modesty of their production, many of these ‘little’ magazines punch well above their weight in terms of documenting the socio – political revolution of this period. Before social networking, independent architectural periodicals functioned as radical manifestoes for a new way of living and these small press periodicals were produced to disseminate a startling wide range of experimental theory and practice. Rescued from the dusty shelves of architectural libraries, these missives from another time capture and expose the paradigmatic rifts within the period they were produced, as the optimistic hippie idealism embedded within the Age of Aquarius becomes tempered by the cultural fallout of the late 1960s. The book is beautifully researched throughout and gathers together around seventy small publications as well as extensive interviews and facsimile reprints. Being an architectural non practitioner, what particularly caught my eye was the rather unusual, homespun quality of the design and layout of these publications. Many have a hand crafted, low budget, almost proto punk feel and reading through them feels like sifting through a folk archive of lost and arcane architectural protest. As the book evolves, modernist values tune in and drop out and any blueprint of a unified architectural model lies burning in the streets. Perhaps more importantly, this book serves as a timely reminder that despite our unprecedented access to information we have perhaps lost some of the intense political engagement with the world which was present when these periodicals were produced. Food for thought.

Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines by Beatriz Colomina and Craig Buckley is out now, published by Actar.


NGR said...

I know I am a pain in the ass but...scan it please it looks awesome and really interesting


A Sound Awareness said...

....the whole book? It would take weeks!