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Alternative Histories

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Alternative Histories
204 pages, colour and black and white, soft cover with thread-sewn binding
235 × 300mm.

Named one of the Most Beautiful Swiss Books of 2019 by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture

Winner of the Festival International du Livre d'Art et du Film 2020 Gold award as the best book of the Architecture category.

"Given that I'm an architect who loves models, this book makes me wish time travel were real or my first-ever trip to Dublin, though not planned, happens when Alternative Histories manages to open. But the decision to photograph the models in close-ups, revealing their materiality and textures, also plays a part. It makes the book something of a tease, as if it were designed to spur readers to want to see more of the models. Whatever the intentions, the photos — combined with the book's craft — make for a printed companion that is a joy to behold."
A Daily Dose of Architecture Books

With an essay by Marius Grootveld
Photography by Thomas Adank and Guus Kaandorp

Published to celebrate the Alternative Histories exhibition, first presented in London and at CIVA Brussels from 6–29 September.

Acknowledging that architecture is a corpus of inherited ideas, Alternative Histories began with a question: could a contemporary architect, with their own references, make a model that would respond to a drawing from the past? This book collects the 85 models produced by the same number of practices alongside the architectural drawings that prompted them, all of which are held in the UK-based archive of Drawing Matter. Taken as a whole, the responses challenge the facile understanding of concepts of reference, history or influence as drivers of contemporary architectural thinking. From methods to materials, the project opens up not only new ways of looking at the past, but also a series of conversations about how architects today shape their present.

Co-curated by Jantje Engels and Marius Grootveld.

The cover was produced in three versions, with photography by Thomas Adank, showing models by Edelaar Mosayebi Inderbitzin Architekten, Bardakhanova Champkins and Sergison Bates London.

Designed by Studio Mathias Clottu, and published by Drawing Matter (2019).