Living in Britain has definitely one downside, it is very hard to come across inspiring architecture. And by inspiring I mean not a massive large scale development signed off by a 'starchitect', but an intense and truly thought through building that is confident about it self and how it is positioned in the context. This sort of dedicated design work is rare, I guess for a large part of the world were currently buildings are under construction and not yet stopped for the developers are running out of money.
Publications however can help here and showcase the buildings that might be less public and you wouldn't come across on your way to work because you don't live in Switzerland were dedicated architects are apparently still to be found. Anyway, this is what the latest Lars Mueller Publication showcases here. 'What Anchors a House in Itself' by Andreas Fuhrimann and Gabriele Haechler is a monograph showcasing a selection of their projects and these are real beauties.
Image taken from Lars Mueller Publishers photography by Valentin Jeck / Presenhuber House in the village of Vna in the Lower Engadine Valley in Switzerland.
Kind of unusual for a monograph Fuhrimann and Haechler decide to limit the show to seven buildings. Unusual in the sense that most offices tend to try and make the most of a publication by showing off everything, but here the approach is clearly to show quality, and quality is what you get!
These seven buildings ar real buildings, prototyps for dedicated architecture and design work. Of coure the work of Fuhrimann and Haechler has not remained undiscovered before this publications and the buildings have been widely published already, for example in previousy discussed book 'Total Housing' in the Christmas book list. But as Hubertus Adam points out in his critica contribution to the book the work was recognised out side of Switzerland way ahead of the local architecture press. He identifies the the problem as "The two photographs, one with a red sports car and the other with a black sports car, each in front of the angled metal facade, apparently violate Swiss social conventions in which luxury is disguised by means of understatement."
Image taken from afgh / Architects' and Artists' House on the Uetliberg 2002-2003, portrait with black sports car.
The architecture of Fuhrmann and Haechler is no understatement and clearly is pure luxury. This becomes clear while reading in the second part of the book. The close relationship between the architecture of Fuhrmann Haechler to art is portrait both in theoretical practical but also social terms. The projects are usually build for rich artists, curators, art collectors, museum directors or gallery owners. This is clearly an elit these architects are working to create unique objects.
However as the architects themselves as well as the critics stress in the second part of the book which is text based, as opposed to the image based first part, the work is never for but with the client.
Image taken from afgh / Holiday House on the Rigi 2003-2004, the perfect view south-west.
This is one of the most notable architectural monographs of the closing year 2010. Not only but mainly for the seven extremely beautiful and inspiring projects portrayed in full colour, but also because of the contextual discussion of the work of Fuhrimann Haechler in the second part and of course because it is a really nicely designed book with a very clear and simple formal language. Even though it is a paperback this is a treasure. For other great Lars Mueller Publications keep up to date by flowing them on twitter @LarsMuellerBooks.
What a relieve to finally get in the last few days of the year 2010 a book that tells us about beautiful architecture, it really exists out there, keep your eyes open on the way to work in 2011.
Müller, L., 2010. Fuhrimann Hächler: Was ein Haus in sich selbst verankert, Baden: Lars Muller Publishers.