August 6, 2009
The BLDGBLOG Book Is Not About Architecture
So I have to describe how The BLDGBLOG Book starts out. There are these full-page, full-color images, and then Geoff Manaugh’s intro text begins. It’s set in really big type, just airy and fresh and great.
This continues for a couple of pages, with the lush color images and the big airy text.
Then suddenly, one of the columns is just something else—a sidebar on “the architecture of spam,” to be exact.
Next page. Another sidebar sneaks in. The main text is still going! It’s trucking along—Geoff is describing the ethos of BLDGBLOG:
In other words, forget academic rigor. Never take the appropriate next step. Talk about Chinese urban design, the European space program, the landscape in the films of Alfred Hitchcock in the span of three sentences—because it’s fun, and the juxtapositions might take you somewhere. Most importantly, follow your lines of interest.
A few pages later it’s skipping back-and-forth—the ethos cuts out, there’s a full-page interview with video game concept artist Daniel Dociu, then some two-page spread of I’m-not-even-sure-what in England, then it’s back to the ethos.
And all together, I tell you, it feels like nothing so much as a cross-fade. I have never experienced anything quite like it in a book. It’s a bit hard to describe, but trust me, it’s really, really cool. Finally, back to the ethos:
Finally, I want to reiterate that BLDGBLOG is fundamentally about following, and not being ashamed by, your own enthusiasms, whether or not they are rigorous and appropriate for the academic mores of the day, or even interesting for your family and friends.
Reading this book, I’m realizing I never really understood what BLDGBLOG was about. I thought it was about weird architecture and the things that intersect with weird architecture. It’s not; it’s about enthusiasm and imagination, period. And so the book basically reads like a catalog of excitement and wondering-what-if.
So that’s my main message, here: It’s no surprise that I’d recommend The BLDGBLOG Book. But I want to make sure you give it a look even if you’re not a fan of the blog, or of architecture in general, because really, it’s about something else entirely—something entirely universal.