At the RIBA, discover books on new international architecture and the historic Arc de Triomphe…
Some of the new books that have recently arrived into the collections of the British Architectural Library at the RIBA have come with some noteworthy statistics: The two volumes of Top 101: World’s Top New Buildings published in 2011-2 weigh in at a hefty four kilograms each, whilst the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile published in 1845 measures in at 69 cm tall and 53 cm wide – large enough to need a table to itself when opened to be read.
The new additions include several series of books with a global outlook and devoted to modern architecture. Chinese publisher JTart’s World Architecture, a set of eight books published over the last couple of years, lives up to its name and covers projects from every continent. The volume on museums includes projects such as Atelier Christian de Portzamparc’s Hergé Museum in Belgium, Kengo Kuma and Associates’s Xinjin Zhi Museum in China and Tabanlioglu Architects’s Sipopo Congress Center in Equatorial Guinea. The titles of the other volumes reflect modern needs and the range of specialised purposes that architects often must accommodate when master planning and designing new buildings: apartments, hotels, hospitals, offices, urban complexes (such as shopping malls), sport facilities and transport. Each volume is copiously illustrated with colour photographs with every building getting a few pages, a contrast to a much older book that has also recently come to the Library.
Gifted to the RIBA by Rocklock Productions, and once used in filming, the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile by J. D. Thierry is devoted to just one structure. Through its engravings of architectural features, elevations, plans and sections, this book is a beautiful and detailed visual record of one of the world’s most recognisable monuments a few years after it was officially opened. Sadly, Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin, architect of the Arc de Triomphe, died before the arc was completed and so he never saw Thierry’s book.
Browsing through the hundreds of projects in World Architecture, it will be interesting to know if any of those buildings will gather enough interest and historic significance to have a single dedicated volume large enough to require a whole table to be read!
The books published by JTart have been catalogued and most of the projects in them listed and searchable in the online catalogue. Find them in the Library’s Reading Room at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place. Thierry’s Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile is stored offsite with other oversized (or ‘elephant’) books, but in the Reading Room are a range of works devoted to this landmark, published from the 19th century to as recently as 2007. The Library and collections are free to everyone to enjoy, but please check the online catalogue or contact the Library beforehand as advanced notice is required to see certain items. Images from the collection of Paris‘s other monuments and architecture from across the world can be seen on RIBApix.
All images © Wilson Yau / RIBA, British Architectural Library
Thanks to Jonathan Ridsdale (Acquisitions Librarian, RIBA) for the information used in this post.