Join us for a book talk with Françoise Astorg Bollack, author of Material Transfers Metaphor, Craft, and Place in Contemporary Architecture. In the book, architect, architectural historian, and preservationist Bollack presents projects that use traditional materials to build contemporary forms or use modern materials to build traditional forms, blurring the boundary between tradition and modernity in architecture.

Bollack rejects the modernist taboo against imitation and precedent, tracing the history of adaptive and imitative design from the Renaissance to the Greek and Gothic revivals and the nineteenth-century modular, cast-iron facades that Philip Johnson considered “the basis for modern design.”

The book examines eighteen contemporary projects in the US, Europe, and Japan, encompassing a broad range of building types: residential, hospitality, commercial and retail, and cultural spaces. All share an intriguing, even radical, approach to reinterpreting traditional forms and materials. Humble thatch moves beyond the farmhouse roof to clad the walls of a Danish environmental center; a photographic image of a Parisian facade becomes a scrim on the facade of a new building; the ghost of an ancient Italian basilica is outlined in wire mesh.

Organized by
AIANY Historic Buildings Committee