Edited by Terence Riley.
Transparency and luminescence have reemerged in the vocabulary of architecture, and light and “lightness” have become key concepts for a significant number of contemporary architects, as well as artists who create installations. Recent work by these designers recalls the use of transparent materials in early modern structures, but they have introduced new ideas and technical solutions. In doing so, they have redefined the relationship between the observer and the structure by interposing elements that both veil and illuminate. In this architecture of lightness, buildings become intangible, structures shed their weight and facades become unstable, dissolving into an often luminous evanescence.
The 33 projects illustrated in this book exemplify this emerging sensibility, which is examined in a penetrating essay by Terence Riley, chief curator of the department of architecture and design at The Museum of Modern Art, that places the new work in a broad historic and cultural perspective. More than 30 architects are represented in this international selection, and it includes a broad range of building types, scales and technologies, from the small Leisure Studio created by a group of young Finnish architects to Renzo Piano's enormous Kansai International Airport in Japan. Also shown are the Goetz Collection in Munich by Herzog & de Meuron, the Fondation Cartier in Paris by Jean Nouvel, the ITM Building in Matsuyama, Japan, by Toyo Ito, and a set design by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Each project includes a description by Terence Riley or Anne Dixon.