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What we're reading: 'XS Future: New Ideas, Small Structures'

September 22, 2009 |  1:00 pm

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"XS Future: New Ideas, Small Structures" by Phyllis Richardson (published by Universe, a division of Rizzoli International Publications) celebrates extreme buildings. (As in extremely small.) The third in a series of books devoted to small-scale constructions, the tiny volume with an acid-chartreuse cover looks at the works of those who are stretching boundaries of design while exploring the performance of building materials.  

"It is sometimes in the most outlandish ideas that the kernel of a new possibility is found and allowed to take root resulting in more useful and efficient materials and methods," writes Richardson. 

For photos and Richardson's commentary from the recently published book, which offers a collection of small structures with big ideas from around the globe, go to the jump. 

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Above: M-Velope Two, Los Angeles, California by Michael Jantzen . "In his M-Velope series, Jantzen has taken the standard material of garden furniture -- hardwood slats -- and rearranged it into shifting planes and unusal angles so that the familiar gazebo becomes both a functional shelter and a far more intriguing piece of backyard sculpture."

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Permanent Camping, Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia by Casey Brown Architecture. "The aim of this compact retreat for two people is to provide a place to come and experience the wonder of the area -- a sheep station on a pristine mountain in a remote area of New South Wales -- that is permanent but also minimal. The latter quality has been interpreted in the true sense of the word, not as a glowing glass box with gleaming white interiors, but truly minimal in the impact on the site and intrusion on the landscape. Hence the tittle, 'permanent camping.' "XSFuture_pg076-077.jpg lighted severalsmllsx

Jinhua Architecture Park, Lighted Tea Rooms, Jinhua, China, by Liu Jiakun. "At night, the lighted Tea Rooms appear like delicate paper lanterns set out in the landscape. Close up, the visitor appreciates the elegant utility of industrial materials."

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Reading Space, Jinhua Architecture Park by Herzog & de Meuron.  "The structure was made of dyed concrete using on-site formwork. To arrive it the final form, the architects began with a geometric pattern that they had used in a masterplan for a nearby city centre. To make the pattern more dynamic, it was projected into a cube using a computer program. The resulting visual spatial grid rendered a form that offered such features as seating and reading spaces."

-- Barbara Thornburg

Photo credits: In order of appearance: Rolling Summer House courtesy of Charley Whinney; M-Velope Two by Michael Jantzen; Permanent Camping by Penny Clay; Lighted Tea Rooms by Iwan Baan; Reading Space by Iwan Baan.

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