ARCHITECTURE MONOGRAPHS

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Koenig Books

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Hardcover, 6.75 x 9.25 in. / 136 pgs / 224 color / 98 bw.

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Catalog: SPRING 2018 p. 154   

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ISBN 9783960982272 FLAT40
List Price: $35.00 CDN $47.50

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Christian Wassmann: Sun Path House and Other Cosmic Architectures

Edited with text by Christian Wassmann, Hendrik Schwantes. Text by Defne Ayas, Gianni Jetzer.

Christian Wassmann: Sun Path House and Other Cosmic Architectures

Part monograph, part manifesto, Christian Wassmann: Sun Path House and Other Cosmic Architectures is the first comprehensive publication on the Swiss designer and architect (born 1974). Centered around the Sun Path House in Miami Beach (2015), this book presents projects originating from Wassmann’s interest in the interconnections of the arts, his love for geometry and his awareness of the cosmos. Illustrated with examples of Wassmann’s projects and unrealized ideas, this volume draws parallels between current technologies, ancient knowledge and sustainable materials while highlighting sensibilities far beyond the visible.

Wassmann’s designs emerge from a symbiotic relationship between spirituality and self-expression, and tap into the possibilities that arise when these terms meet nature. Wassmann’s practice embodies the architectural ideal he witnessed at the Jantar Mantar observatories in Jaipur, India, where everything designed and constructed connects individuals to one another, to themselves, and to the cosmos.


Featured image is reproduced from 'Christian Wassmann: Sun Path House and Other Cosmic Architectures.'

Christian Wassmann: Sun Path House and Other Cosmic Architectures

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FROM THE BOOK
Excerpt from the Introduction

A book I discovered in a library in Vienna in 1999 showed me the potential for architecture to connect to the cosmos in a direct way. I had been to ancient places before, but no pyramids, temples, churches, agoras, or megalithic sites quite promised as much connectivity between earth and heaven as the images of the astronomical observatory in Jaipur, India contained within. The elegance of the instruments pictured in black and white could only compare to the various encounters I had with Constantin Brancusi’s continuously evolving sculpture, Bird in Space.

Seven years later, at the beginning of my own practice, I traveled to India to see the monuments for myself. After spending time in Delhi, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Punjab and the Himalayas, I ended up in Jaipur, finally able to explore the Jantar Mantar Observatory with my own body, mind and senses. At first, their monumental scale was a surprise. I felt an unexpected encounter with gravity, and pulled toward these masses, I climbed the stairs, following their reach up to the sky. The steps varied in height and width, resulting in stairs that are not designed for ergonomics or falsely understood safety reasons, but that are derived from the dial of an instrument, making it possible to read them as the sun is casting its shadow. The stairs literally serve a higher purpose.

The second revelation was the inherent rationality of these various structures. The overall forms of the instruments appeared free, or at least liberated from usual normative constraints of buildings. In truth they are extremely restrained; their form expresses their function. Each one of these static, earthbound instruments is shaped as a precise reaction to the movement of a celestial body or configuration in outer space. While the integrated support system of the mass and the steps are made out of simple masonry and stone and covered in pink plaster, the dials are massive, curved marble slabs with measured markings precisely carved into the surface.

On a clear day, the monumental scale of the Great Samrat Yantra sundial makes it possible to read the time within a margin of error of two seconds with the naked eye, and the help of a fine stick. In one minute the shadow moves approximately the width of a small hand.

The longer I stayed at the observatory, the stronger I perceived the connection between my own body and the celestial bodies, including the earth below me. These instruments were tools that opened and altered my own relationship to my surroundings.

I realized that I am within the universe, and that my own atoms are merely stardust. The more I learned about the astronomical and astrological functions of the individual instruments, the more I understood how these two disciplines, which moved apart in western society after the 17th century, are closely intertwined in Indian philosophy. The farther I looked in the sky, the deeper I dove into my own existence. These almost three-century-old structures are not shaped by aesthetic criteria, and yet they radiate and express an inner beauty that sparked a desire in me for an architecture of precision and connectivity.

The book you hold in your hands is mainly about the Sun Path House, which is the key and the clearest manifestation of my trajectory as an architect and designer. It also presents smaller and larger projects that relate to the cosmos, some built, while others live on as ideas. In this work I have extended the architectural ideal I witnessed in Jaipur, where everything manmade connects individuals to one another, to themselves, and to the cosmos. This experience and many other encounters are at the core of my practice and will continue to influence my designs.
- Christian Wassmann

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 2/16/2018

Christian Wassmann book launch at Spoonbill Studio

Christian Wassmann book launch at Spoonbill Studio

Thursday, February 22 from 7 - 9 PM, Spoonbill Studio in Bushwick presents architect Christian Wassmann discussing his first book, Sun Path House and Other Cosmic Architectures, with professor of architectural history and theory Dr. Daniel Sherer. Libations will be served; book signing to follow.
continue to blog


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