Link to full syllabus: PDF

This Catalyst workshop explores book making as a method for expressing architectural ideas which relate image, form, and meaning.

In architecture, ideas are expressed primarily through visual and spatial representation, such as the drawing and the model. Text is supplemental or optional, and regarded as the medium of the theorist and not the designer or practitioner. This separation results in a gap between visual perception and explicit communication of complex ideas.

Books, which incorporate visual, sculptural, and temporal aspects, as well as literary and intellectual traditions, are an inherently multi-disciplinary form. The field of Artist’s Books, which exploded onto the visual art scene in the 1960s, emerged out of a century-long struggle to integrate image, form, and meaning, as well as an impulse to use the book not merely as a conveyer of information or a means to reproduce existing art objects/projects, but as a fully artistic medium in itself. As such, it invites investigation from all perspectives, including the spatial and architectonic.

In this workshop, we will begin to explore a new genre we will call the Architect’s Book, where the form and the meaning of an architectural design must be read simultaneously. The sensory aspects of relating to a physical book form will highlight ways of interacting with and understanding a design, and only with direct experience of the “book” will one be able to perceive its complexity. This workshop will push the idea of “reading” in architecture to go beyond the understanding of a spatial or formal idea, to include the perception of the broader thought within the project.

Foundational lectures to introduce topics; workshops for skill-building; studio visits; studio sessions with project critiques.

1. Learn basic binding and printmaking principles and techniques
2. Experiment with avant-garde principles and techniques
3. Explore spatial relationships between content and form
4. Develop strategies for architectural thinking through “book” making
5. Create a bespoke Architect’s Book

The workshop will focus on spatial potentials of book forms as related to content and communication of meaning. The workshop will consist of lectures with discussions, studio visits, teaching demonstrations with exercises, and directed studio sessions. Sessions will be held at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Collections Visit: Tim Johnson, University of Minnesota Special Collections
Studio Visit: Harriet Bart
Guest Demonstration: Jana Pullman (Binding)
Guest Lecturer: Betty Bright

In addition to short readings, students will complete short exercises to learn basic techniques and explore methods of manipulating book forms and relationships between image and text. Class process and work will be posted by the students throughout the week to the class blog. Each student will develop, create, and document a final project.


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