Shigeru Ban awarded Pritzker Prize

On Monday March 24, 2014, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban was named the winner of this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize,

For twenty years Ban has traveled to sites of natural and man-made disasters around the world, to work with local citizens, volunteers and students, to design and construct simple, dignified, low-cost, recyclable shelters and community buildings for the disaster victims.

The citation from the Pritzker Prize jury underscores Ban’s experimental approach to common 
materials such as paper tubes and shipping containers, his structural innovations, and creative use 
of unconventional materials such as bamboo, fabric, paper, and composites of recycled paper fiber 
and plastics.


Architectural Record review & video

New York Times review

The Pritzker Architecture Prize announcement

Wall Street Journal review


Image credit: Shigeru Ban. Photo by Shigeru Ban Architects.

Palaces for the People at MCNY

March 26-Sept. 7, 2014

Sixteen drawings and numerous artifacts and photographs from the Guastavino archives in the Drawings & Archives are on display at the Museum of the City of New York. Titled Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile, the exhibition was curated by a team of scholars under the direction of Professor John Ochsendorf of MIT, author of the 2009 monograph, Guastavino Vaulting. The curatorial team included Janet Parks, Curator of Drawings and Archives, Avery Library; Professor Richard Wilson, University of Virginia; Professor Christopher Capozzola, MIT; and Chrysanthe B. Broikos, curator, the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.. Additional New York material has been added with the assistance of Martin Moeller.

The National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored the development and execution of the exhibition, from a Consultation Grant in 2006 to the implementation grant for the exhibition in 2011 as part of the “We the People” program. Additional funding came from the Institut Ramon Llull and the Diputació de Barcelona.

On April 11th, Janet Parks will moderate a panel discussion on Guastavino’s Palaces for the People: from archive to exhibition.

Exhibition website

Columbia University Libraries press release

Panel discussion with Santiago Calatrava and Jill Lerner for WNYC February 24, 2014

Panel discussion at Columbia April 11, 2014 12 pm-2 pm

Palaces for the People symposium panelists

Image credit: Jonathan Alger






Tour of old City Hall Station with the Transit Museum April 12, 2014

Panel on innovations in tile with Daniel Libeskind and more  April 29, 2014

TWC NY1 review & video

Image credit: Cathedral of St. John the Divine (interior detail); photo by Michael Freeman

Cabinets of Curiosities

When Europeans became intrigued by the exotic in the sixteenth century, they began building systematic, even obsessive compulsive collections of natural, unusual, or rare artefacts gathered from all over the world.    Known as Wunderkammer or Cabinets of Curiosities, these collections became increasingly popular over the next several centuries, yielding insights into the attitudes of collectors about the exotic and the primitive.  Cabinets of curiosities assembled in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries still hold a fascination for contemporary scholars and viewers.  Today artists incorporate the concept in their own works.  See, for example, Orhan Pamuk’s catalog of his Museum of Innocence, the catalog on Oskar Kokoschka’s own Wunderkammer, and Daniel Spoerri’s creation of a Wunderkammer for a museum exhibition.  Most recently, museum and interior designers have begun assembling their own cabinets of curiosities as described in the article by Barrett and the book by Davenne.

Author:   Seba, Albertus, 1665-1736.
Uniform Title: Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri.
Title: Cabinet of natural curiosities : locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri 1734-1765 : based on the copy in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague .
Publisher/ Date:  Köln ; London : Taschen, c2001.
Avery-LC  QH41 .S42 2001g F
     Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the eighteenth century’s greatest natural history achievements and remains a celebrated natural history book today. Amsterdam-based pharmacist Seba (1665-1736) was unrivaled in his passion for assembling a collection of animals, plants, and insects from around the world.  His collection brought him international fame during his lifetime.  In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba commissioned illustrations of every specimen and arranged for the publication of a four-volume catalog of strange and exotic plants, snakes, frogs, crocodiles, shellfish, corals, birds, and butterflies, as well as fantastic beasts, such as a hydra and a dragon.  His scenic illustrations, often mixing plants and animals in a single plate, were unusual even for the time. The more peculiar creatures from the collection–some of them now extinct–were as curious in Seba’s day as they are today.  (Revised from publisher’s description)


Author: Bessler, Gabriele.
Title: Wunderkammern : Weltmodelle von der Renaissance bis zur Kunst der Gegenwart.
Publisher/ Date: Berlin : Dietrich Reimer Verlag, c2009.
Offsite <Fine Arts> AM221 .W86 2009g

Wunderkammern illustrates cabinets of curiosity from the eighteenth century to today. Author Gabriele Bessler analyzes the historical phenomenon and shows how contemporary artists have responded to it with new configurations.  Wunderkammern were both gathering places and a forum for attempting to decipher the secrets of nature.   Regarding the Wunderkammer as a phenomenon of perception, Bessler discusses contemporary installations and environments through the work of Joseph Cornell, Joseph Beuys, Andrea Zittel and Olafur Elisasson , as well as the detailed documentation of the Stuttgart exhibition series "Art Space Wunderkammer."  The appendix provides an overview of the major German cabinets of curiosities that have been preserved or reconstructed. (Revised from publisher’s description)


Title:  La licorne et le bézoard : une histoire des cabinets de curiosités / [commissariat, Anne Benéteau]. 
Publisher/ Date:  Montreuil : Gourcuff Gradenigo, c2013.
Avery-LC: AM342 .L53 2013g
    Published on the occasion of an exhibition held in Poitiers, Sainte -Croix Museum and Espace Mendes in France , this book offers a survey of cabinets of curiosities in Europe from the sixteenth century to their incarnations today.  Abundantly illustrated with exceptional loans from major European cabinets including Ambras Castle in Austria, the Aldrovandi collections in Bologna, and others held in French museums.    (Revised from publisher’s description)

Uniform Title: Kunstkammer, Laboratorium, Bühne. English.
Title: Collection, laboratory, theater : scenes of knowledge in the 17th century / edited by Helmar Schramm, Ludger Schwarte, Jan Lazardzig.
Published: Berlin ; New York : W. de Gruyter, c2005.
Avery AA510 K966
    This volume examines the role of space in the construction of knowledge in the early modern age. Wunderkammern, laboratories and stages arose in the seventeenth century as instruments of research and representation.   The book considers the institutional framework of these spaces and their placement within the history of ideas, their architectural models and the modular differentiations, and the scientific consequences of particular design decisions.  This volume is the English translation of Kunstkammer, Laboratorium, Bühne (de Gruyter, Berlin, 2003). (Revised from publisher’s description)

Title:  Rooms of wonder : from Wunderkammer to museum, 1599-1899 : an exhibition at the Grolier Club, 5 December 2012-2 February 2013 / curated by Florence Fearrington.
Publisher/ Date:  New York : Grolier Club, 2012, c2013.
Avery-LC : AM221 .R66 2012g
    Published to accompany the exhibition "Rooms of Wonder: from Wunderkammer to Museum, 1599-1899," this volume focuses on the beautiful and elaborately illustrated catalogues produced by collectors over three hundred years to celebrate their "cabinets of curiosities." (Revised from publisher’s description)

Title: Oskar Kokoschka : Wunderkammer = Cabinet de curiosites / Roland Scotti, Regine Bonnefoit. Publisher/Date:  Appenzell : Stiftung Liner Appenzell ; Göttingen : Steidl, c2010.
Avery-LC N6811.5 .K59 A4 2010g
    Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), created his own Wunderkammer in his home.  His cabinet contained artistic and natural objects such as Greek vases, ancient fragments, Byzantine, Asian, Indian and African valuables, engravings, devotional objects, minerals, shells, jewelry, dried plants and fossils. They served Kokoschka as a source of inspiration and often appear in his paintings, watercolors, drawings and lithographs.  (Revised from publisher’s description)


Author:  Spoerri, Daniel, 1930-
Title:  Daniel Spoerri : Historia Rerum Rariorum.
Publisher/ Date:  Flensburg : Museumsberg ; Bielefeld : Kerber, 2013.
Avery-LC: N7153 .S66 A4 2013h
    Daniel Spoerri transformed the Heinrich-Sauermann-Haus on Flensburg’s Museumsberg into his own personal Wunderkammer.  The title of this show and catalogue, ’Historia Rerum Rariorum’, is derived from typical seventeenth-century Wunderkammer.  It brings together a selection of Spoerri’s works from the past two decades with a number of more recent pieces.  (Revised from publisher’s description)

Author:  Pamuk, Orhan.
Title: The innocence of objects.
Publisher/ Date:  New York : Abrams, 2012.
Avery-LC : DR739.M37 P36 2012
    This catalog represents decades of omnivorous collecting by author Orhan Pamuk.  The Museum of Innocence in Istanbul uses his novel of lost love, The Museum of Innocence, as a departure point to explore the city of his youth.  In the catalog of this remarkable museum, he writes about things that matter deeply to him: the psychology of the collector, the meaning of the museum, the photography of  twentieth century Istanbul (illustrated with Pamuk’s superb collection of haunting photographs and movie stills), and of course the customs and traditions of his beloved city.  The book’s imagery is equally evocative, ranging from the ephemera of everyday life to the superb photographs of Turkish photographer Ara Güler.  As such, the museum and catalog represent his own personal Wunderkammer.  (Revised from publisher’s description)

Author: Barrett, Katy.
Article title: A Sense of wonder.
Journal: Apollo. Feb. 2014, p.54-58.
    Museum displays are beginning to show a renewed interest in the Wunderkammer.  By applying the concept of collocating objects in this manner, it allows museum to celebrate their eclectic origins, and it helps to resolve some of the challenges of categorizing contemporary art. (Revised from introductory abstract)

Author: Davenne, Christine.
Uniform Title: Cabinets de curiosités.
Title: Cabinets of wonder.
Publisher/ Date: New York : Abrams, 2012.
Avery-LC :  AM342 .D3713 2012
    Skulls, butterflies, hunting trophies, ancient Egyptian artifacts, the alleged skeletons of mythological creatures, and many other mysterious oddities fill cabinets of wonder. A centuries-old tradition developed in Europe during the Renaissance, cabinets of wonder are once again in fashion. Shops, restaurants, and private residences echo these cabinets in their interior design by making use of the eclectic vintage objects commonly featured in such collections. Cabinets of Wonder showcases exceptional collections in homes and museums with more than 180 photographs, while also explaining the history behind the tradition, the best-known collections, and the types of objects typically displayed. Offering a historical overview and a look into contemporary interior design, this extravagantly illustrated book celebrates the wonderfully odd world of cabinets of wonder. (Revised from publisher’s description)

Avery in PBS series “The Rise and Fall of Penn Station”

Avery Library's photographs of McKim, Mead, and White's former Pennsylvania Station building are featured in the latest installment of the American Experience, a PBS series. This installment, entitled  "The Rise and Fall of Penn Station", includes photographs documenting the construction of the station that are now in the Avery Classics collection.

These photographs are now also available on the program's interactive Engineering Map of America, a crowd-sourced project that documents historical engineering projects across the country. The program itself is also available to watch online (

Katzenbach & Warren, Inc wallcovering trade catalog

Although it is only February, Avery Classics is already looking ahead to the spring New Acquisitions show.

This year's event will include a recently acquired trade catalog from the home design firm of Katzenbach & Warren, Inc. Issued in 1949, Mural Scrolls presents a series of wall coverings designed by Calder, Matisse, Matta, and Miro and offered for sale in limited editions.

This catalog joins another rare Katzenbach & Warren item in Avery Classics, a book designer's mock-up for an unpublished description of the designers' apartments:

New Avery blog from Art Properties: Public Outdoor Sculpture at Columbia

Art Properties has launched a blog dedicated to the public outdoor sculpture at Columbia University,

Maintained by Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art Properties, the blog will provide historical and current information about these works of art found at the schools and campuses of Columbia. An interactive map to locate the public outdoor sculptures at the Morningside Campus and Barnard College is also now available on the blog, or by going to

Send your photographs of the public sculptures to, and they may appear on the blog in the future.

Image credit: Henry Moore, Three-Way Piece: Points, 1967, Gift of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation (67.20.1), installed on Revson Plaza. Photograph by Larry Soucy, Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal
February 1–June 1, 2014
MoMA Architecture and Design Galleries, third floor

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal celebrates the recent joint acquisition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s extensive archive by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. Through an initial selection of drawings, films, and large-scale architectural models, the exhibition examines the tension in Wright’s thinking about the growing American city in the 1920s and 1930s, when he worked simultaneously on radical new forms for the skyscraper and on a comprehensive plan for the urbanization of the American landscape titled "Broadacre City."

Projects, from the early San Francisco Call Building (1912), to Manhattan’s St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie Towers (1927–31), to a polemical mile-high skyscraper, engage questions of urban density and seek to bring light and landscape to the tall building. Highlighting Wright’s complex relationship to the city, the material reveals Wright as a compelling theorist of both its horizontal and vertical aspects. His work, in this way, is not only of historic importance but of remarkable relevance to current debates on urban concentration.
Organized by Barry Bergdoll, Acting Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and Carole Ann Fabian, Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, with Janet Parks, Curator of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, and Phoebe Springstubb, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

Exhibition website

Columbia University Libraries press release

ArchDaily review

Architect magazine

Architectural Record review

Architizer review

Artnet News review

BlouinArtInfo review & video

Columbia News review & video


New York Times review

SAH Newsletter review

Vogue review

Wall Street Journal review

Image credit:
Frank Lloyd Wright. /St. Mark's-in-the-Bouwerie Towers/, New York Project 1927-1931.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Avery Art Properties in Anna Hyatt Huntington exhibition

Art Properties has loaned an important sculpture to the exhibition "Goddess, Heroine, Beast: Anna Hyatt Huntington's New York Sculpture, 1902-1936," which runs from January 22 to March 15 at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. Huntington (1876-1973) was one of New York City's most prominent sculptors. The subjects of her work include heroic goddesses and naturalistic animals in motion, and her works range in size from medallions to monumental public sculptures.

The bronze sculpture from Art Properties seen here is the work included in the exhibition. Entitled Cranes Rising, 1934, the sculpture shows a flock of birds first at rest in the marshes, then moving upward in a coil, with the top crane soaring into the sky. The sculpture was a gift from the artist to the University in 1950 and for decades was installed in the Philosophy Department. In 1965 Huntington also donated to Columbia her monumental sculpture of Equestrian Lincoln, which is located on the grounds of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

–by Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art Properties

Image credit: Anna Hyatt Huntington, Cranes Rising, 1934, bronze, H. 44 in., Gift of the artist, Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York (C00.837). Photo by Mark Ostrander.

CLOG (the magazine, not the shoes)

“Online press, blogs, tweets, social media, and other digital forums have drastically increased the speed at which architectural imagery is distributed and consumed today. While an unprecedented amount of work is available to the public, the lifespan of any single design or topic has been reduced in the profession's collective consciousness to a week, an afternoon, a single post-an endlessly changing architecture du jour. In the deluge, excellent projects receive the same fleeting attention as mediocre ones. Meanwhile, mere exposure has taken the place of thoughtful engagement, not to mention a substantive discussion.

CLOG slows things down. Each issue explores, from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means, a single subject particularly relevant to architecture now. Succinctly, on paper, away from the distractions and imperatives of the screen.”

-from CLOG website

Previous issues include Brutalism (a look at a defining architectural style of the postwar era); National Mall (examines the highly symbolic space of our National Mall, considering what it means to restore and re-build this space); Apple (an in-depth look at the development of Apple’s brand of architecture); and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group).

Brooklyn, N.Y.: Kyle May
Avery AB C624

CLOG will be indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals.

Practice Post-50: Edgar A. Tafel in New York

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Thursday, January 23, 2014

Edgar A. Tafel Hall
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place

Well known for his role as Wright apprentice and historian, Edgar Tafel also maintained a long productive architectural practice in New York. This event celebrates the opening of the Edgar Tafel archive at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University and will introduce the archive to the architectural community. Speakers will discuss Tafel's two most prominent projects in post-1950 New York: the Church House for the First Presbyterian Church and the SUNY Geneseo campus. The program will also take place in Edgar A. Tafel Hall, named for a person who cared deeply about bringing people together to share ideas and good stories.

Janet Parks, The Drawings and Archives at Avery Library
Tania Franco, The Edgar Tafel Archive
Kimbro Frutiger, Edgar Tafel's Religious Work: Design, Traditions, Ethics
Caroline Zaleski, Edgar Tafel and SUNY Geneseo: Lessons from Frank Lloyd Wright

Robert Silman, President Emeritus, Robert Silman Associates

Organized by: Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University and AIANY Historic Buildings Committee

Register to attend:
CES/Continuing Education credits available: AIA CES: 1 LU

Avery Library’s Edgar A. Tafel finding aid:

Tafel blog:

Image Credit: Edgar A. Tafel, Washington Square Park, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University