In the News

30.11.2012, 17:01
posted in

It’s been several months since our last press round-up, so we thought it would be a good idea to quickly summarise our on-going reception by the media.

It’s interesting to see how diverse the responses have been. Financial Times architecture critic Edwin Heathcote was measured in his recent Disegno review (not yet online). Heathcote welcomed the appearance of a digital publisher of the long form but found some of Strelka Press’ authors wanting, particularly Keller Easterling, who, «normally a fine writer, falls slightly flat with The Action is the Form».

By way of illustrating the contrast in opinions, Will Wiles almost simultaneously described Easterling as «possibly the most important architectural theorist working today» and waxed lyrical on her Strelka title — «my advice is, make [The Action is the Form] your next stop, then buy her books. She knows what’s going on».

This is not to say that Heathcote was universally disappointed, as he concludes: «Finally, comes the irrepressible Sam Jacob of London-based architecture practise FAT, who has, I think, long been one of the sharpest, funniest and finest critics of contemporary design culture. Make It Real: Architecture as Enactment is an ambitious study of copying, reenactment, the simulacra and the reconstruction of architectures in history… It is, as you might expect, erudite and clever.»

As ever, Heathcote’s review is honest and direct, and perhaps the critique of Easterling just comes down to taste. As she told us herself, The Action is the Form is the first time she has made a concerted attempt to open up her work to a more general audience, and she felt like she was «really reaching people» – we should point out that the piece is also quite funny.

On a more general note, Strelka Press has been well received by reviewers so far, but what’s been lacking is an evaluation of the relative value of digital publishing in the round.

Books, Bricks and Clicks is the title of an article at Architecture Today exploring the future of architectural ebooks. AT’s tone is summarised by this extract: «The decision to inaugurate Strelka Press as an ebook publisher does not preclude future print projects, and is not driven by the cost of printing books… Rather, it is intended to allow quick responses to topical issues, and to encourage critical writing that is longer than a magazine article but shorter than conventional books.»

Initially AT seems to take a pragmatic stance about the economies and convenience of epublishing, but on closer inspection they do not make what you might call a proposition. Beyond pointing out the business sense, in more of an ideological context no one can seem to decide whether epublishing is a good thing for architecture and design publishers to pursue.

The ambiguity continues in Lucy Bullivant’s comparative review for Domus — of Alexandra Lange’s Dot-Com City and Justin McGuirk’s Edge City — in which she says: «Typifying a new genre of polemical writing about the city and its evolution, about how civic aspirations should avoid being swallowed by corporate and real estate interests, both e-books valuably open up major debates about the future of urbanism and the kind of game-changing it can effect in the 21st century.»

Kind words, but what thoughts of the value of the format? On that, Bullivant is apparently keeping her cards close to her chest.

As a final note, we appeared in Uncube Magazine’s reading list this month. If you’re not familiar with it, Uncube is a new and exceptionally well-designed digital architecture magazine with interesting content and a strong editorial direction.

Jack Self
Associate Editor