University of Cambridge academic James W. P. Campbell and Will Pryce, the award winning architectural photographer, have spent the last three years visiting 84 libraries in 21 countries, compiling a history of library design from the ancient world to the present day. The Library: A World History covers the development of university libraries across the world, as well as public and private libraries. Here we provide a selection of key moments in the history of the development of academic libraries.
While we speak of libraries everywhere being under threat, university libraries are coping with ever greater quantities of printed material created by the digital age. Architecturally they are changing, too.
"Many gingerbread houses will be built this holiday season. An impressive series has already set the bar high.”
— We Need to Design Parking Garages With a Car-less Future in Mind (via theatlanticcities)
The new headquarters of the People’s Daily is only the latest example of Beijing’s unusual architecture.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Big, sweeping thinking was endemic to post-9/11 New York. The aftermath seemed to encourage everyone not simply to pursue their ideas but to stretch them to their most ambitious, impressive ends. For architect Kevin Kennon, this meant solving the problem of the WTC’s enduring chaos.
Kevin lived on Hudson Street, in Tribeca, about ten blocks from the destruction. Every night, the glow from recovery crews’ floodlights illuminated his street. The rumbling of jackhammers provided twenty-four-hour-a-day white noise. In the midst of all this, Kevin thought it was too soon to be thinking about rebuilding, so one October afternoon he took a break from the whirl of design meetings and walked to Ground Zero. “It was chaotic, and it was extraordinary,” Kevin said of the site. “There were an extraordinary number of people. People were climbing fences, it was unsafe.” He paused and gave me a knowing look. “Something had to be done.”
Read more. [Image: Mike Segar/Reuters]
We know what elite American colleges should look like. Tall Gothic towers, Georgian angles and radii, and the few massive, newer slopes of Cold War modernism: It’s a collage recognizable as “college.”
But American schools didn’t always look this way. A little more than a century ago, there was no cachet in being an “old college,” and there was little cachet, too, in having the old architecture to match it. But a combination of forces—some cultural, some economic—transformed the appearance of American institutions, and made the modern-day college campus take its contemporary appearance and mythology.
How did that happen? Who was responsible? And did a caped geometer ever toss potent hydrochloric onto a trademark New Haven edifice?
Read more. [Image: Avinash Godbole/Flickr]
Even as its economy slows, China’s investment in real estate and infrastructure has lost little steam. A common problem for developers, though, is that especially in and around major cities plum land parcels are often already occupied. The solution? Evict the residents. Sometimes developers or local governments compensate or relocate those they kick out, usually offering less than the original property’s value. Sometimes they don’t.
But occasionally this combo of force and pay-out doesn’t work. The result is what is popularly called “nail houses” or “nail households,” referring both to their residents’ stubbornness and how they protrude on the skyline of already razed land.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Last Sunday, France celebrated Bastille Day, commemorating the start of the French Revolution in 1789 — the end of monarchy and the beginning of modern France. Reuters photographers Charles Platiau and Gonzalo Fuentes took to the skies above Paris for the occasion, capturing images of the capital city, its unique blend of historic and modern architecture, and some of its residents and visitors enjoying the sunny day.
So many New York stories turn on space. That’s why New Yorkers scrap so hard for every square foot that they can buy, rent, or occupy. With enough of it, almost anything is possible in that city. I know because, for over six years now, I’ve been watching Anya Sapozhnikova prove it. The 26-year-old circus impresario, aerial acrobat, and stage producer attracts crowds that line up and pay to see her dangling upside down, 30-feet-in-the-air, hanging onto a strand of silk. But what happens now that doubling rents are forcing her from her high-ceilinged base of 5 years?
Everything turns on the dimensions of whatever she rents next."