Friday, 16 April 2010


I would dearly love to have a copy of this book; Kohlmaier & von Sartory's taxonomy of 'dusty fata morgana', Houses of Glass. It has been a great source for The Architecture of Failure, but I'd dearly love to be able to purchase a copy of my own; the only problem is that it has been out of print for a long time, and I don't really want to pay sixty sheets for it. But it really is a fantastic book, a sort of obsessive counterpart to the Arcades Project, collecting and comparing all the differing skeletal remains and spectral documents of these ferro-vitreous leviathans, saving for the archive utopian fragments of a collective dream.
Whereas stylistic architecture recapitulated history, the builders of the glasshouses had to conceive designs for contents that were ephemeral – plants or exhibitions. The trend toward the temporary was inherent in the plant houses and the exhibition buildings, and it expressed itself in the construction. Not suitable for industry and serving only for exhibitions or recreation, many of the glasshouses were left to decay, unappreciated, in less than a decade.
Of the buildings included in this catalogue, fewer than half are still in existence and many of these are threatened with demolition. In this respect, the catalogue is not only an inventory of the historically important glasshouses but also a chronicle of senseless destruction.

SO: if you see a copy, let me know...

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