Architecture Can!

Architecture Can! HWKN Hollwich Kushner 2008-2018
Matthias Hollwich, Marc Kushner, HWKN
Images Publishing, October 2018

Flexicover | 5-1/4 x 9-1/2 inches | 216 pages | 290 color illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1864707915 | $30.00

Publisher Description:
Architecture Can! is an intriguing journey through the works and projects of the groundbreaking architecture firm Hollwich Kushner, based in New York. Partners Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner design projects at every scale: intimate, awe-inspiring, and everything in between; from residences to universities, museums, and urban plans.

As two founders of leading architecture social media network Architizer, Hollwich and Kushner frankly admit the power of social media in contemporary architecture practice. Images of new and advanced buildings and concepts travel the globe at high speed, influencing a new generation of projects before the previous generation has broken ground. To stand out, they believe, architecture must "empower people to engage with others, to produce memorable experiences, and to live with a sense of wonder."
dDAB Commentary:
What form should the architectural monograph take in the digital age? Architecture Can! is one answer. Documenting the first ten years of HWKN, aka Hollwich Kushner, the firm of Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner, Architecture Can! resembles a guidebook in size and shape. Its tall pages are more comfortable in the hands than on the coffee table. Following a short manifesto, with large text (akin to mobile-friendly websites) on yellow pages, the projects are presented like an endless scroll: images are cropped and extend to the next page and the next project. Some projects, such as their popular Wendy installation at MoMA PS1, are also given two-page spreads of full-bleed projects culled from Instagram and other social media sources. Following the colorful presentation of selected projects are all 125 projects HWKN projects to date, each presented simply with one b/w image.

Architecture Can! is best when the social media spreads add life, literally, to the projects Hollwich, Kushner, and team designed. Not all of the photos depict the buildings in a flattering or even substantial light (quite a few are selfies or photos about people in their setting rather than about the settings themselves), but they reiterate HWKN's assertion, spelled out below, that buildings are shared experiences. While I'm not convinced by Kushner's assertion that Instagram posts and the like are taking over the role of architectural criticism, but here they become a means of gauging how successfully a design imbues a place with vitality. HWKN's buildings, as Architecture Can! presents them, are lively places indeed.

Author Bios:
Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner founded Hollwich Kushner, a leading architecture firm based in Lower Manhattan ... They are a new kind of architecture firm that believes in entrepreneurship - they founded and were named one the world's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company.
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