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urbanism

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What does the word “nature” mean to you? It may conjure up images of lush, rolling fields, rushing rivers or impenetrable woods. You’re probably not picturing many people or buildings, and it’s likely that the colour green features prominently.  The third issue of Hinterlands magazine takes as its starting point a similar thought exercise. The introductory note from editors Hanna Döring, Freia Kuper and Maike Suhr invites the reader to visualise a meadow - and immediately bursts this idyllic, imaginary bubble to point out that “nature” as we often think of it is a fiction. More

Utopia Ending is an impressive new addition to our architecture shelf.⁠ ⁠ The utopia in this case is the city of London while the ending was created by the change in the housing market over the years - from the post-World War II expansion based on social housing to today's finance-driven development of the city. The investigation through photographs and essays makes it clear: investment in social housing has been almost completely scrapped and the new buildings are financial assets for global investors rather than housing for Londoners. Buy...

Concrete has accelerated the way we build. Faster and cheaper, our blue and green planet is getting greyer by the minute. The grey slabs are supposed to protect us from nature. From heat, from rain, but in reality they are not as effective as we would like. Concrete buildings are prone to have inadequate temperature control. They need to be air-conditioned (another environmental disaster) to create a living space that we feel comfortable in. Also, our all-concrete environment can exacerbate natural disasters when urban and suburban roads cannot absorb rain and cause flooding. In cities, the heat-island effect is amplified by concrete's absorption of heat.⁠ ⁠ Not to mention the impact of the concrete industry on our climate during the construction process. Taking all stages of production into account, concrete is said to be responsible for 4-8% of global CO2 emissions. Only coal, oil and gas are materials that are a greater source of greenhouse gases. And at the same time, a lot of water is needed. Another basic resource for life that is becoming increasingly scarce. And if you haven't heard about the sand shortage that leads to sand mafias and causes the mining of entire beaches, throwing whole biotopes out of balance, you should look into it.⁠ ⁠ The disadvantages of concrete are so numerous that we can't even mention them all in one post. And since sand is incredibly important component for concrete but increasingly hard to come by, concrete’s biggest pro-argument - and the only argument that really seems to count in a capitalist society - that it is cheap, is also likely to vanish. So where do we go from here? How can we build in a CO2-neutral way in the future? What do we build with when resources become scarce? That is exactly what this book is about. Buy...

Is this city being built up or torn down? Is it even the same city? The same streets? ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Transformation processes are the focus of Georg Aerni’s new photographs. The Swiss photographer and artist shows plastic greenhouses that have annexed whole swathes of land for agricultural mass production, residential houses that have been built overnight on the city outskirts without construction machines and literally noiselessly. He points his lens at olive trees that have grown over centuries into figures full of character, at creepers that conquer leftover spaces between high-rises and motorways, and at mighty rock faces that are being gnawed by erosion.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ With the merging of art and documentation that is typical of Aerni’s work, Georg Aerni—Silent Transition makes the signs of change the object of a contemplative observation and at the same time asks challenging questions: about our handling of natural resources, about the social backgrounds to cities growing out of control, about the regenerative force of nature. ⁠⁠ Buy...

In architecture, the ground is usually used only as a passive foundation. This book explores the possibilities of buildings that merge with the ground, the earth and the landscape.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The evolution of architecture is also an evolution away from nature. The 1960s was the key moment when buildings were at their most clinical. Since then, more and more architects are trying to reconnect with nature. They work with the landscape and the special features of the site. But of course, this is not an invention of the modern age, it is what architecture has been for millennia. And so this book embarks on a journey around the world and through the history of architecture in search of examples of buildings and building methods that are not only in harmony with the landscape, but also make use of its special characteristics. In this way, these buildings are almost an extension of the earth's crust. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ One of the many fantastic examples are the churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia (seen in the first picture), which are not built upwards but downwards, literally carved out of the ground. You could call them a kind of negative architecture. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Many of these historical examples were previously undocumented, so this book also serves as a kind of archive with first architectural drawings of these buildings, categorising them and making connections between methods and aesthetics.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Buy...

This is a stunning and heartbreaking photo book at the same time. French photographer Mohamed Bourouissa's iconic visual account of violence, social inequality, but also unexpected beauty and tenderness in the Parisian banlieues is published here in its entirety for the first time.⁠⁠   Buy...


[vc_row][vc_column width='1/5'][/vc_column][vc_column width='3/5'] We all have an idea, when we travel there, of what a particular city is really like, or at least what it should be like: we picture Venice without all the tourists, Paris without the graffiti, London without the painfully-expensive ticket prices on the Tube. But those things are part of the truth of the place, aren’t they? And to deny them is to deny the reality of our lived experience of the world. Which is where Desired Landscapes comes in.

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⁠In 1930, duck farmer Martin Maurer from Flanders, Long Island, decided to build a huge shop in the shape of a duck to advertise and sell the Peking ducks he bred. But in this fantastic little book you will also find a fruit shop in the shape of an orange, a dog grooming salon in the shape of a dog, a supermarket in the shape of a shopping basket and a hot dog shop in the shape of a hot dog. Unlike other buildings, they are the literal embodiment of a thing itself, widely displaying their function rather than hiding it behind four austere walls.⁠ ⁠ It is a tribute to Learning from Las Vegas - a book that first highlighted these structures and changed the world of architecture, and a tribute to these buildings themselves that enchant our grey days and make us question these anonymous concrete and glass bricks. What might our built environment look like if we gave free rein to creativity and expression?⁠   Buy...

Do you remember the time when cash was king in Berlin? When you were lost if you left the house without cash? You couldn't pay with a card practically anywhere. Well, that has changed. Like Berlin on so many other levels. Now you can pay with your watch, with your mobile phone, and of course with card, while physical money is all too often refused. And yet, right in this moment of change, ATMs are popping up all over Berlin in the strangest places. It seems like a last rebellion in urban space before cash disappears altogether. The book "Berlin Cash" features 72 colour photographs of ATMs by Peter Bünnagel.⁠   Buy...

Many cities in Europe are once again restricting social life, but this time it feels different. The first lockdown in spring had a collective feeling. We were separated, but we were closer together in heart than on any other "normal" day. We were supportive and said that we would get through this together. That spirit is not there this time. The excitement about the novelty of this situation has disappeared, and so somehow the limitations feel more exhausting. Probably because we have to deal with them alone this time. ⁠ So while our cities are operating in low-power mode, it may be the right time to record what we are really missing. What is it that makes a city? Living the City - Of Cities, People, and Stories is an architecture book that focuses on the non-physical elements that make up our cities. After a first look at urbanites it expands into emotionally and poetically charged stories that consider very basic activities such as loving, living, moving, working, learning, playing, dreaming, and participating. This publication focuses on the human side of cities, on what happens after houses are built, traffic is strategically controlled and parks are created.⁠   Buy...