Wunderkammer

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien

View Inside Price: $35.00


December 10, 2013
240 pages, 8 1/4 x 6
300 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300197983
Cloth

Inspired by the idea of the wunderkammer—“wonder-room” or “cabinet of curiosities”—that originated during the Renaissance, world-renowned architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien invited 35 celebrated architects and designers from around the world to create their own wunderkammers, filling boxes with objects that inspire them. This delightful book gathers together the varied, evocative wunderkammers along with accompanying statements by their architect-creators, including such luminaries as Shigeru Ban, Toyo Ito, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, Richard Meier, Murray Moss, Diébédo Francis Keré, Juhani Pallasmaa, Elias Torres, and Peter Zumthor.

An introduction by Williams and Tsien explains their fascination with the wunderkammer and looks at their own history of collecting. The boxes, each spotlighted in its own section, are explored through each architect’s essay; working drawings and sketchbook pages; construction and installation photos; a list of the items contained; and a photograph of the final box. Wunderkammer offers a new way to think about art and inventiveness, collection and meaning in everyday objects.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are the founding members of the New York-based architecture firm in their name. Their built works include the recently relocated Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.


“What an odd and delightful book. Two of New York's best architects asked 35 colleagues to each fill a wooden box with personal mementos, modern-day cabinets of curiosities 'to open a door to their minds without the need for words.' Some responded with the ephemera of architecture. Others tapped more personal inspiration, such as W.G. Clark's grab-bag that included fossilized bones, a Japanese good luck cat and Bob Dylan's 'Highway 61 Revisited.'"—John King, San Francisco Chronicle