Recently published by Princeton Architectural Press, Public Natures: Evolutionary Infrastructures presents the wide ranging work of Weiss/Manfredi, a New York architectural firm hitting its stride. The firm now has a solid collection of work in an expanding range of typologies, including academic buildings, pharmaceutical headquarters, and parks. The common thread throughout all of these projects is the firm's approach to the design problem of infrastructure, a central concern in these typologies. For Weiss/Manfredi, addressing infrastructure requires a focus on the internal function of the building and its connection to the site and the broader surroundings. Though site has loomed large in the theory and dialogue of the modern movement, the firm's approach and accompanying visual language feels fresh and contemporary.
Public Natures presents their work with an effective mixture of diagrams, technical drawings, renderings, and photographs that avoids the oversimplified photo book seen in other monographs. This allows for architects and non-architects alike to engage with the material. Especially effective is the method of treating some of the photography as a means to explain a design concept, as seen in the explanation of the structural strategy employed for the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology. Also included amongst the individual projects are texts, including a roundtable discussion with other practitioners and theorists on the urban issues that Weiss/Manfredi are taking on in their work.
The monograph can be purchased here:
For a further discussion of Public Natures, the New York Public Library is holding a book talk on October 7th at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building with Marion Weiss, Michael A. Manfredi, Alexandra Lange, Stan Allen, and David van der Leer.