joseph giovannini rounds up a century of wild form-making with 'architecture unbound'

joseph giovannini rounds up a century of wild form-making with 'architecture unbound'

the disruptive avant-garde


noted architecture critic joseph giovannini presents a retrospective of architecture’s wilder shores with his newly published book: in architecture unbound. through his book, giovannini traces a century of the avant-garde to transgressive and progressive art movements that roiled europe before and after world war I, and to the social unrest and cultural disruption of the 1960s.


manifestos produced during this pivotal and fertile period opened the way to tentative forays into an inventive, anti-authoritarian architecture in the next decade. built projects broke onto the front pages and into public awareness in the 1980s, and took digital form in the 1990s, with large-scale international projects landing on the far side of the millennium. architecture unbound is available for purchase through rizzoli new york here.

architecture unbound joseph giovannini
architecture unbound: a century of the disruptive avant-garde by joseph giovannini © rizzoli new york, 2021



a retrospective by joseph giovannini


in the prologue of architecture unbound: a century of the disruptive avante garde, joseph giovannini (see more here) notes: ‘with strategies of explosion, collision, and fragmentation, architects were introducing forces that dislocated architecture’s system of thought and construction predicated on gravity. architects produced fresh astonishments, some fantastical. the buildings worked, and they worked well, but perhaps their highest and best function was to fascinate.’

architecture unbound joseph giovannini
diller scofidio + renfro, museum of image and sound, rio de janeiro, brazil (see more here)
commission 2009, expected completion 2022 | image courtesy of diller scofidio + renfro



the evolution of form-making


architecture unbound tracks complex historical developments and conceptual influences across the century, presenting an authoritative and illuminating history of the twentieth-century avant-garde and its evolution into digital form-making in the twenty-first century.


he profiles influential practitioners and their most notable projects including frank gehry’s guggenheim bilbao and walt disney concert hall, zaha hadid’s guangzhou opera house, daniel libeskind’s jewish museum in berlin, rem koolhaas’s cctv tower, and herzog and de meuron’s bird’s nest olympic stadium in beijing. he includes scores of other projects and architects who contributed to the groundswell of work that established a broadly based movement that has continued in an ongoing digital phase.

architecture unbound joseph giovannini
bernard tschumi architects, parc de la villette, paris, france, 1982-98
photograph J.M. monthiers, courtesy bernard tschumi architects



architecture unbound


the avant-garde focus of giovannini’s text, which includes claude parent and paul virilio’s theories of the oblique, is translated into the book’s trapezoidal format and inventive typographical layout, designed by celebrated graphic designer abbott miller of pentagram. giovannini analyzes this innovative and daring epoch of design with the evocative prose and finely drawn insights of a book that will earn its place on bookshelves as an essential addition to the contemporary architecture canon.

joseph giovannini rounds up a century of wild form-making with 'architecture unbound'
zaha hadid architects, paris 2e: islamic art extension to louvre, paris, france, 2005
image courtesy of zaha hadid architects

joseph giovannini rounds up a century of wild form-making with 'architecture unbound'
preston scott cohen, lightfall, herta & paul amir building, museum of modern art, tel aviv, israel, 2010 (see more here)
photograph by preston scott cohen, inc.


tom wiscombe architecture, the main museum of los angeles art, los angeles, california, 2014-2017

image © tom wiscombe architecture

joseph giovannini rounds up a century of wild form-making with 'architecture unbound'
frank gehry, gehry partners, vitra design museum, weil am rhein, germany, 1989
photograph courtesy of gehry partners, LLP


co-Op himmelb(l)au, rooftop remodeling falke strasse, vienna, austria, 1983-1988

photograph © gerald zugmann/vienna



project info:


title: architecture unbound

author: joseph giovannini

publisher: rizzoli

date published: october 2021

available for purchase here

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