Mohsen Mostafavi

Mohsen Mostafavi is Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

  • Surface Architecture

    Surface Architecture

    David Leatherbarrow and Mohsen Mostafavi

    A study of the building surface, architecture's primary instrument of identity and engagement with its surroundings.

    Visually, many contemporary buildings either reflect their systems of production or recollect earlier styles and motifs. This division between production and representation is in some ways an extension of that between modernity and tradition. In this book, David Leatherbarrow and Mohsen Mostafavi explore ways that design can take advantage of production methods such that architecture is neither independent of nor dominated by technology. Leatherbarrow and Mostafavi begin with the theoretical and practical isolation of the building surface as the subject of architectural design. The autonomy of the surface, the "free facade," presumes a distinction between the structural and nonstructural elements of the building, between the frame and the cladding. Once the skin of the building became independent of its structure, it could just as well hang like a curtain, or like clothing. The focus of the relationship between structure and skin is the architectural surface. In tracing the handling of this surface, the authors examine both contemporary buildings and those of the recent past. Architects discussed include Albert Kahn, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Alison and Peter Smithson, Alejandro de la Sota, Robert Venturi, Jacques Herzog, and Pierre de Meuron. The properties of a building's surface—whether it is made of concrete, metal, glass, or other materials—are not merely superficial; they construct the spatial effects by which architecture communicates. Through its surfaces a building declares both its autonomy and its participation in its surroundings.

    • Hardcover $10.75 £8.99
    • Paperback $34.95 £28.00
  • Approximations

    Approximations

    The Architecture of Peter Märkli

    Mohsen Mostafavi

    An introduction to the work of maverick Swiss architect Peter Märkli.

    The Swiss architect Peter Märkli is best known for La Congiunta, the gallery in the canton of Ticino that houses the reliefs of the sculptor Hans Josephson. He has also designed many residential projects in Switzerland. His unconventional approach, combined with his understanding of materials and color, make him a unique figure in contemporary European architecture. Approximations focuses on Märkli's work from 1982 to the present. It traces the professional and political impact on Märkli's early work of Hans Josephson and the architect Rudolph Olgiati. It also shows how the elemental, almost "archaic" quality of Märkli's work is influenced by a wide variety of sources, including Greek antiquity, the Renaissance, the simple farmhouses of the Po Valley, African and Mexican art, and Matisse's paintings. The book contains an essay by Mohsen Mostafavi and an extensive conversation between Märkli and Marcel Meili.

    • Hardcover $45.00
  • On Weathering

    On Weathering

    The Life of Buildings in Time

    Mohsen Mostafavi and David Leatherbarrow

    On Weathering illustrates the complex nature of the architectural project by taking into account its temporality, linking technical problems of maintenance and decay with a focused consideration of their philosophical and ethical implications.In a clear and direct account supplemented by many photographs commissioned for this book, Mostafavi and Leatherbarrow examine buildings and other projects from Alberti to Le Corbusier to show that the continual refinishing of the building by natural forces adds to, rather than detracts from, architectural meaning. Their central discovery, that weathering makes the "final" state of the construction necessarily indefinite, challenges the conventional notion of a building's completeness. By recognizing the inherent uncertainty and inevitability of weathering and by viewing the concept of weathering as a continuation of the building process rather than as a force antagonistic to it, the authors offer alternative readings of historical constructions and potential beginnings for new architectural projects.

    • Hardcover $50.00 £40.00
    • Paperback $34.95 £28.00

Contributor

  • Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays

    Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays

    Robin Evans

    Introduction by Mohsen Mostafavi The late Robin Evans (1944-1993) was a highly original historian of architecture whose writings covered a wide range of concerns: society's role in the evolution and development of building types, aspects of geometry, modes of projection, military architecture, representation of all kinds. No matter what the topic, however, he always drew on firsthand experience, arriving at his insights from direct observation. This book brings together eight of Evans's most significant essays. Written over a period of twenty years, from 1970, when he graduated from the Architectural Association, to 1990, they represent the diverse interests of an agile and skeptical mind. The book includes an introduction by Mohsen Mostafavi, a chronological account of the development of Evans's writing by Robin Middleton, and a bibliography by Richard Difford.

    • Paperback $26.95