Temporary Architecture Now!

Cologne-based publisher Taschen is known for its picture-rich books that focus on art, design and architecture. In 2011 it launched Temporary Architecture Now!, a publication that sets itself apart from the other architecture books in Taschen’s collection.

The book focuses on “architecture on the move”, a topic that gives place to new-style architects and designers you’ve not yet heard of. Written by Philip Jodidio, Temporary Architecture Now! is a rich source of examples that fit with the wave of temporary architecture that’s taking over the planet. Here today, gone tomorrow.

As economic problems make some shy away from grandiose, long-lasting buildings, the temporary factor in architecture is more relevant than ever before. Temporary Architecture Now! features a wide variety of architectural structures designed for the fourth dimension, ranging from ephemeral emergency buildings to flexible concert and performance venues. Furthermore, the book covers some examples of typical contemporary pop-up pavilion architecture for exhibitions and fairs. It contains work by good ol’ architecture firms like OMA and Zaha Hadid, but also young and innovative offices that have a more temporary approach, such as Raumlabor, Fantastic Norway and the Office of Mobile Design.

Featuring NASA’s International Space Station (ISS), the stage designs of the Rolling Stones’s ‘A Bigger Bang’ and U2’s ‘360°’ world tours and even the opening ceremony of Beijing’s Olympic Games in 2008, the book’s definition of ‘temporary’ is a bit blurry. Nevertheless, there’s a bunch of refreshing examples covered. Some of them were showcased earlier on Pop-Up City, such as the cardboard clouds by Fantastic Norway, LOT-EK’s Puma City and the amazing Spacebuster by Raumlabor, one of our all-time favorites. Another Raumlabor creation featured in Temporary Architecture Now! is Moderato Cantabile, an unconventional festival center for the Steirischer Herbst Festival 2008 that took the form of a large grey explosion, “a shape and structure which develops a fascinating force at the exact moment of its dissolution”.

LOT-EK’s container stores for Uniqlo combine temporariness with flexbility. Introducing the Japanese fashion brand to the United States, the New York-based designers transformed nine shipping containers into unique little pop-up stores that generated plenty of publicity. The easily transportable containers, which were fully equipped with shelving space, cash-wrap and fitting room, were spontaneously dropped in nine New York neighborhoods including West Village, Jones Beach, Cobble Hill Brooklyn and Coney Island.

A project that deserves some attention is Studio East Dining by Carmody Groarke, a pop-up restaurant in Stratford, London. Built on top of a 35 meters high multi storey car park, Studio East Dining offered an amazing view over the 2012 Olympic Park. Its translucent form contained a large dining room, made up from a cluster of interlocking timber-lined spaces, which related to key rooftop views and allowed up to 140 guests to be connected in a communal dining experience. It took only ten weeks (!) to design and build the temporary restaurant.

The strength of Temporary Architecture Now! is its wide focus on the subject of temporary architecture and design — looking at a space station from an architectural perspective is definitely interesting. On the other hand, it’s its weakness since the book doesn’t further elaborate on temporary architecture as a structural urban strategy to tackle contemporary problems. Nevertheless, Temporary Architecture Now! is a nice publication that offers a good introduction to the world of temporary architecture and design, that appeals to a larger group of people than just architecture and urban enthusiasts. Check it out.

Temporary Architecture Now!
Philip Jodidio
Taschen, Cologne
Flexicover with flaps, 19.6 x 24.9 cm, 416 pages
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
Price: € 29.99
ISBN: 978-3-8365-2328-8