Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ten Books on Architecture Part 4

The two books in this post, Pei and Mies Van der Rohe are both made with perspex (plexiglass).

Pei's book was inspired by his pyramid complex which forms the main entrance to the Louvre in Paris.  Some people find this modern structure juxtaposed with the period architecture of the Louvre jarring, but I love it.  The glass and steel structure denies the essential characteristics of the pyramid which are solidity and immutability.

To make the pyramid I cut triangles from perspex.  To cut a sheet of perspex you need a plastic laminate cutter which you use to score the surface of the perspex

I snapped the scored line along the edge of the table

and then cut the triangular pieces

Any sharp edges were smoothed with a file

I used an etching needle to engrave the perspex with the structural pattern of the pyramid 

Holes were drilled into the perspex

The pieces were tied together with fishing line and the paper pages added to the front of the triangles

The structure folds in half to slip into its slipcase

For Mies Van der Rohe's book I used photographs of skyscrapers I took in Chicago in 2005.  The images I used show buildings with other buildings reflected on the surface. This was intended to show the spread of Mies van der Rohe's influence on the building of minimalist steel and glass skyscrapers, as both an architect and an educator at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.  Mies was a pioneer of the skyscraper - he designed one (which was never built) in 1921 for a competition and this foreshadowed his skyscraper designs of the late 40's and 50's.

Perspex pages were cut to size and holes were drilled to tie the sections together.  I used a jig to get the holes in the same place on each sheet, and an old telephone book is a great thing to drill into. 

The double-sided photographs were punched with tiny holes and sandwiched between two sheets of 2 mm thick perspex which would be tied together to form a concertina book.

The next post will feature Book 2 Suger.


dinahmow said...

True essence is when the complex appears simple and simplicity suggests great effort.

ronnie said...

I've never worked with perspex - and so I've found you explanation and pictures of working in this medium totally fascinating..... I must say I'm very tempted to find me some perspex (and a perspex cutter!) and have a stab at perspexy art!

Helen M said...

Great comment Di, those few simple words say so much!

Nothing like getting out the heavy duty tools like drills is there ronnie? Let me know if you want any more tips.

ersi marina said...

I've never worked with perspex either and I really appreciate your walking us through your process. The Mies Van der Rohe book captivated me.

Amanda said...

I love perspex works and I'm also a huge fan of Mies van der Rohe, so these books delight me. I've also photographed reflections in the mirrored highrises here in Brisbane. I love the way the image is distorted.

Helen M said...

Thanks ersi, as I said to ronnie, if you want any more tips on the perspex, email me.

Those distorted images are fabulous Amanda, and even though I found a reason to use those 2005 Chicago pics, I still can't help collecting them - the latest additions were taken in Dublin recently.