A Slow Manifesto by Lebbeus Woods

People / Products / December 4, 2015

On Dec. 15, Princeton Architectural Press will publish “Slow Manifesto,” a collection of 70 of Lebbeus Wood’s noteworthy articles from the last major work of his career, his blog. Running from 2007-2012, it served as both a public journal and forum for people to question and comment on the posted works. “Slow Manifesto” highlights key articles spanning architectural theory, education, politics, criticism, and more. A+A recently interviewed Clare Jacobson, editor of the book, via email:

Why is Lebbeus Woods an important figure in contemporary architecture?

Woods’s most important legacy is his architectural thought—his appreciation of and devotion to the political, social, and urbanistic importance of the built world. In an era when architectural form often takes precedence over all other design issues, Woods reminds us of the consequences of our buildings.

What’s the meaning of “Slow Manifesto”?

“Slow Manifesto” is the title Woods gave to a January 7, 2009 blog posting. It’s one of the most poetic pieces of writing in the collection. Yet it is also very weighty—a condensed call to action for architects. We chose it for the title of the book because together the book’s texts form a slow manifesto. I hope that as readers move from the first page to the last, they gradually come to understand the rich variety of ideas that Woods expounded.

How did you select the entries that you did for this book?

I wanted the book to read as any good book does—that is, as a story that takes the reader on a logical route with some happy surprises along the way. Woods laid the groundwork; I followed his chronology in ordering the texts. I then chose to cut entire texts rather than to condense texts, as Woods’s writings are so succinct. Finally I tried to create a kind of rhythm to the entries—with serious and light essays, historical studies and contemporary commentary, etc.—while being mindful of important issues and momentous events that were essential to the blog and, thus, the book.

What’s the intent of the book?

I don’t think there’s a real word for this, so I’ll just say that the intent is to “bookify” the blog. Blog and book forms have different parameters, points of entry, traditions, and readers. Woods’s blog remains online; the book provides an alternate format that offers benefits in its physical form, its linear organization, and, hopefully, its editing. And, truth be told, printing Woods’s final major work as a book gives it concreteness and validation.

For more, go here.

Image credits:

Filename: LW-016…p17bl

Caption: Lost and Found 5, 1973
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-018…p18
Caption: Sarajevo, from War and Architecture, 1993. Proposal for the reconstruction of the Electrical Management Building
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-046…p47r

Caption: Solohouse, 1988–89
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-046…p47l

Caption: Solohouse, 1988–89
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-054…p49

Caption: City of Fire, 1981
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-056…p51

Caption: City of Water, 1981
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-069…p61

Caption: Metastructure, from Bosnia Free Zone, 1993. The wall of the Bosnia Free State
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-104…p96

Caption: Aerial Paris, 1989. Aeroliving Labs: a community of heavier-than-air structures in the air over Paris. They drag immense sheets of lightweight material through the earth’s magnetosphere.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-127…p109

Caption: Question Site, 2000
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-143…p125

Caption: New Tissue, from War and Architecture, 1993
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-147…p129

Caption: High Houses, from War and Architecture, 1993
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

Filename: LW-184…p153

Caption: From Architecture-Sculpture-Painting, 1979
Image Credit: Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

 

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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