Best said by Storefront for Art and Architecture in a recent press release, the first edition of the New York Architecture Book Fair, Storefront for Art and Architecture presents Architecture Books – Yet to be Written, an installation that invites us to reflect upon the cultural contribution of architecture through the medium of the book from 1982 to today. With an archeological and projective twist, the project seeks to celebrate and evaluate both the existing and the missing volumes of a history still in the writing.
Storefront was founded in 1982 as an alternative platform for discourse and debate that brings to the forefront important issues which extend beyond ideological and disciplinary boundaries. The period of exploration for the first edition of the New York Architecture Book Fair coincides with this recent history, taking the last 35 years as a starting point to discuss our contemporaneity. The series of programs organized as part of the book fair produce a forum that allows us to understand architecture in a wider cultural, social, and geographical context. The project focuses on the ways in which architects, as well as urban planners, landscape architects, and anyone who engages in the making of places and spaces, contribute to our understanding of the built environment.
Questioning the idea of the canon, the book fair seeks to broaden the existing references for architecture culture, which have served to homogenize architectural discourse. With the purpose of opening up the conversation to new voices and ideas, Storefront launched a Global Survey of Architecture Books that reached more than 1600 scholars, critics, museum directors, historians, and others from 98 countries, asking them to contribute nominations of books from the past 35 years that are fundamental to the development of ideas and culture in architecture.
Designed by Abruzzo Bodziak Architects and Pentagram, Architecture Books – Yet To Be Written confronts us with a space where the walls and the facade, the architectural elements that constitute Storefront’s gallery space, become thickened into bookshelves of a library in construction.
The exhibition, which opens yet-to-be-filled, will densify over the next two months with a growing selection of nominated books submitted by invited groups, including non-profit organizations, students, independent publishers, and creative collectives, as well as with select submissions from gallery visitors and online surveys. Ultimately, however, the space will remain relatively sparse in relation to the monolithic shelves, reminding us that many of the crucial books are yet to be written.
The first edition of the New York Architecture Book Fairprovokes us to reimagine our personal collections, the existing infrastructures of cultural production and dissemination, and the algorithms that recommend our next reading material.
The exhibition, as the anchor program of the book fair, serves as a point of entry for journeys through various spaces of knowledge exchange in digital and urban space, including:
An online platform open to everyone, Nominate Now both complements and acts as a counterpoint to the Global Survey of Architecture Books, which was specifically sent to established figures in the field. Nominate Now invites everyone to nominate titles they believe should be considered for inclusion in the growing library of Architecture Books. To participate, see here, or visit Storefront’s gallery space during the exhibition.
A series of pop-up architecture book collections will be on display at independent bookstores and cultural institutions throughout the city until the end of the summer. Each pop-up is curated by an emerging international architect, and together, they aim to reinforce the existing network of spaces in the city dedicated to the dissemination of culture, inviting these institutions to expand their own and their visitors’ familiarity with architecture books and publications. See www.storefrontnews.org for the latest list of bookstores and curators.
Salons: Personal Collections
Storefront presents a series of private salons hosted in the homes of prominent New York City-based architects. Each event, also available to the public as a podcast and transcript, explores a selection of books from the host’s personal library, open to audiences for the first time. The salons are structured as informal conversations with invited guests. Past salons have taken place in the libraries of Bernard Tschumi, Anthony Vidler, and Daniel Libeskind. To attend upcoming salons, see here for information on the New York Architecture Book Club.
Storefront has partnered with the New York Public Library to offer a space in which visitors can read the books nominated as part of the Global Survey of Architecture Books. The library, as a place designed for the storage and reading of books, also offers the ability for reflection and reimagination of the volumes that occupy our centers of knowledge.
The Reading Room is located in Room 300 of the Art and Architecture space at New York Public Library’s main branch on 42nd Street in Manhattan, and will be open from June 21st – 27th, 2018.