Suspended between two beautiful California hills, this remodel spans a creek and boasts a waterfall in the back yard.
To build such a house anew is no longer allowed in California, but following strict guidelines, we reconceived an existing structure, transforming the relationships between home, water and land. A steel frame inserted beneath the original floors anchors the home to the rocky hillsides, thus allowing us to remove supporting columns from within the creek bed.
A human-made object in nature may exist in harmony or disparity. Our goal was to deepen this home’s connection to the environment, creating a place where our clients can live immersed within an exceptional landscape. Taking care to protect and restore the land, we suspended the renovated house between two wooded hills, where it overlooks a rushing waterfall and spans the creek below.
A third floor addition strikes a more slender profile facing east, to engage the breadth of the site. The experience is one of being in nature and also humbled by it.
The goal with this unique site was to enhance the relationship of the structure to the nearby bodies of water and the rock face. Rather than bearing down and disturbing the creek below, the new structural system has been anchored to the bedrock within the flanks of the hill, suspending the home
The Art Newspaper (December 6, 2022) – The books team at The Art Newspaper has waded through the piles of art tomes published this year so you don’t have too. Below, each editor has picked three publications that shone through in 2022.
A Revolution on Canvas: The Rise of Women Artists in Britain and France 1760-1830 by Paris A. Spies-Gans (Paul Mellon Centre/Yale)
The miniaturist Sarah Biffen (subject of the excellent Without Hands show at Philip Mould gallery in London, until 12 December, and accompanying publication), born with no arms or legs, was one of many professional women artists to exhibit in major venues in Paris and London between 1760 and 1830, beyond the few currently celebrated (Angelica Kauffman, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, etc.), as Spies-Gans’s exhaustive, groundbreaking research reveals in this beautifully produced book.
Käthe Kollwitz: A Survey of Her Works 1888-1942, edited by Hannelore Fischer (Hirmer/Käthe Kollwitz Museum)
This year has been a particularly good one for stand-alone publishing on historic and Modern women artists, and women’s significant influence within the international art world—fingers crossed this signals a shift (at last) from niche to mainstream. Honourable mention goes to Lund Humphries’s Illuminating Women Artists series, with two books in the bag (Luisa Roldán and Artemisia Gentileschi) and two more scheduled for 2023 (Elisabetta Sirani and Rosalba Carriera). It was a brutal selection process, but the first of my top three, from the many excellent books we reviewed over the last year, is Fischer’s Käthe Kollwitz. Kollwitz’s brilliance requires no introduction, but this exquisitely illustrated survey, while exploring her many iconic works, draws attention to lesser-known imagery including her subtly erotic subjects.
Jo van Gogh-Bonger: The Woman Who Made Vincent Famous by Hans Luijten, translated by Lynne Richards (Bloomsbury)
Chicago University Press’s first English translation of the Parisian art dealer Berthe Weill’s 1933 memoir was pipped to the post by this superb biography of the equally extraordinary Jo van Gogh-Bonger. So much has been written on Vincent van Gogh that you wonder what more can be said. It turns out much more on the woman who was the early driving force behind the Dutch artist’s legacy.
Gareth Harris, book club co-editor and chief contributing editor
Monumental Lies: Culture Wars and the Truth About the Past by Robert Bevan (Verso)
More and more commentators are making their voices heard in the clamour around today’s so-called “culture wars”, outlining the ideologies behind the destruction of, for instance, historic statues. Bevan astutely argues that those who manipulate our cultural past are shaping our future, making the case that historic buildings have become battlegrounds for right-wing and nationalist political arguments. Interestingly, he also questions the authority of Unesco. In one of many polemics, he says: “At the same time as its role in protecting culture has become suffocated by national interests, Unesco now appears to operate on the premise that any wartime damage should be undone.”
The Value of Art by Michael Findlay (Prestel)
This updated version of The Value of Art, first published in 2012, features important new material, focusing on, for instance, the rise of NFTs. Findlay asks, “where are the NFT art critics?… there is little discourse on the relative aesthetic qualities of the images themselves”. He also has strong opinions on “protest art”, saying: “In very broad terms, artists represent the protesting class while collectors represent the museum trustee class, and while the cultural ecosystem needs both, on issues of social justice they are often on different sides of the barricades.”
The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art by Gregory Sholette (Lund Humphries)
As a key member of the activist group Gulf Labor Coalition, Gregory Sholette has a unique perspective. Sholette examines this fascinating subject “from the perspective of an artist and activist who has been active in the field since the 1980s,” writes the art historian Marcus Verhagen in the introduction. This informed analysis spans more than 60 years of art activism, from the Situationist International group of social revolutionaries (1957-72), which directly engaged with the student uprisings in Paris in May 1968, to Black Lives Matter today, which has “unquestionably set a new high bar for protest aesthetics”, Sholette says.
José da Silva, book club co-editor and exhibitions editor
Stop Tanks With Books by Mark Neville (Nazraeli Press)
Neville’s photobook of Ukrainian life before Russia’s invasion in February is both a call to arms—the photographer sent 750 free copies to influential people who might “have it in their power to help Ukraine”—and a stark reminder that Ukraine was already at war in its east, as depicted in the photographs of soldiers manning trenches and checkpoints. However, it is the tender portraits of everyday life—people at the beach, in school, at a rave, eating ice cream—that really bring home the tragedy that has unfolded in Ukraine.
The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood and the Mind-Baby Problem by Julie Phillips (W. W. Norton & Company)
While most of the case studies in this book are from the literary world, the opening section on Alice Neel is a searing account of the complexities of balancing (or not) being a mother and an artist—and the often heavy price women pay. Neel, for example, can sometimes come across as brutal and uncaring, but these labels would rarely be used to describe an artist father in the same situation. Neel said that for much of her life she felt she “didn’t have the right to paint because I had two sons”. The book explores the difficult issues around the subject with no judgment and or neat conclusions—and is all the richer for it.
Raphael by David Ekserdjian, Tom Henry et al. (National Gallery Global Ltd)
If you missed the standout Raphael show at London’s National Gallery earlier this year, its catalogue is the next best thing. The rich imagery and texts make it the perfect coffee table book for art history buffs to dip into over the holiday season. There are also tasty titbits to tell the family over Christmas lunch, such as the belief that the Vatican’s foundations began cracking at news of Raphael’s death. Or when Munich’s Alte Pinakothek sold Raphael’s masterpiece Bindo Altoviti because it was believed at the time to have been painted by his assistant Giulio Romano, to buy what turned out to be a discredited Matthias Grünewald…
Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals by Oliver Bullough
Britain, according to this damning book, is a land of dirty money. It has become the country of choice for dictators wanting to hide their cash, and oligarchs wishing to launder their reputations. Yet instead of waging war on this illicit finance, we’re helping it to propagate. Our national debasement is a sordid story, but Oliver Bullough canters through it with wit and such a colourful set of case studies that it is at least a little easier to stomach. His account begins with the Suez crisis in 1956, which Bullough pinpoints as the moment when Britain’s imperial power crumbled and the nation searched for a new role in the world. The job we chose? Playing Jeeves to kleptocrats. Since the Brexit vote there has been a lengthy debate about what kind of country Britain should strive to be; Bullough argues convincingly that we haven’t spent enough time scrutinising what it has already become. Ros Urwin Profile, £20 Buy a copy of Butler to the World here
Megathreats: The Ten Trends that Imperil Our Future, and How to Survive Them by Nouriel Roubini
Nouriel Roubini is not known as “Dr Doom” for nothing, and this book from the economist who predicted the 2008 financial crisis is a bleak look at some of the horrible threats facing our survival on Earth, from economic collapse to a new cold war and the rise of artificial intelligence. But it is also an important wake-up call to how fragile modern civilisation is. Roubini lucidly lays out the challenges we face. Maybe save reading this until after the festive period. TK John Murray, £20 Buy a copy of Megathreats here
A Pipeline Runs Through It: The Story of Oil from Ancient Times to the First World War by Keith Fisher
In this epic, deeply researched history of oil, Keith Fisher, who spent 15 years on the book, takes us from the Byzantine era to the US oil boom of the 19th century and the rise of barons such as John D Rockfeller, and ends with the First World War. He unsparingly shows what a great but terrible industry oil exploration has been. No one comes out well, but the brutality involved in clearing indigenous communities to open up areas for exploitation are harrowing, especially the cruelty from what would become Royal Dutch Shell. TK Allen Lane, £35 Buy a copy of A Pipeline Runs Through It here
Still Wanderer | Italy in 4k – Grottammare is a town on Italy’s Adriatic coast, in the province of Ascoli Piceno, Marche region. It receives over 500,000 tourists a year. The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic” in Marche, Grottammare is a medieval village beloved by Franz Liszt . In fact, every year around the second half of August, the Festival Liszt brings together pianists from all over the world
Financial Times – The FT’s global business columnist Rana Foroohar looks at why the US should bring manufacturing jobs back home. In the second of three films based on her new book, ‘Homecoming: the path to prosperity in a post-global world’, she follows the all-American supply chain of clothing company American Giant, to see how it impacts jobs, businesses and communities
Video timeline: 00:00 Made in America, Again 01:20 An all-American supply chain starts here 03:17 What went wrong with globalization? 07:00 The cotton gin – a risky business 09:53 Automation at a high-tech mill 13:16 Why manufacturing is important 19:59 The family-run finishing factory 23:21 Worker innovation at the sewing factory 27:33 Education, training and community 29:07 A moment for change?
ArchDaily – Anton Markus Pasing who was the Overall Winner of The Architecture Drawing Prize in 2019 was selected as Digital Category winner this year. His drawing ‘The Wall’ plays on ideas around the beginning, the end and the finite.
Corippo is a mountain village in the Verzasca valley some 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) from Locarno, at the north end of the artificial Lake Vogorno and 20 km (12 mi) from the border with Italy. The houses are built from the local Ticino granite with slate roofs and have changed little for several hundred years, leading the Italian writer Piero Bianconi to describe Corippo as “Verzasca’s gentlest village”.
Its early 17th century Church of the Blessed Virgin Annunciata (later the Blessed Virgin Carmine) was extended in the late eighteenth century. Corippo’s architectural value has caused the entire village centre to be placed under a conservation order, and in 1975 the European Architectural Heritage Congress named the village as an “exemplary model” for historical preservation. Corippo was originally part of the larger parish and commune of Vogorno (though maintaining a certain degree of autonomy), before becoming a fully independent municipality in 1822. The village first became connected to the wider world in 1883 when a road was built linking it to the Verzasca valley road.
The system is based on simple flat pack modules made from recycled reinforced polymer. These are extremely strong and resilient and can be easily transported and assembled on location
The modules can be assembled in different configurations to provide floating foundations for floating infrastructure, public spaces or housing.
A growing acknowledgement of sea level rise and an increased risk of urban flooding has contributed to a sharp increase in interest in building on water, but current solutions, including polystyrene filled concrete foundations and plastic pontoons are inflexible, difficult to transport and highly unsustainable.
MAST has envisioned a new system of simple of flat-packed modules made from recycled reinforced plastic, that can be easily transported around the globe and assembled into countless configurations, providing a secure floating foundation. The system offers a sustainable and highly flexible solution for building almost anything on the water; from floating houses in Seattle, to floating campsites on Oslo fjord, to saunas on Hobart’s riverfront.
The system was inspired by gabion construction, an ancient technology which utilises mesh cages filled with rubble to create extremely sturdy, low cost foundations. In this case the concept is inverted; and the modular ‘cages’ are filled with locally sourced, up-cycled floatation supporting the weight of any structure built on top. they are also much more adaptable than existing solutions since floatation can be added or adjusted at any time if weight is added or shifted around above.
Land on water will provide a climate resilient and adaptable solution for the construction of new floating buildings worldwide but could also lead to an entirely new type of dynamic and organic off-grid floating community and an alternative to the large master-planned floating cities currently under development which repeat many of the mistakes made by urban planners in the middle of the 20th century.