Mon's Reviews > Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution

Yes is More by Bjarke Ingels Group
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Feb 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: art-architecture, po-mo



Have you ever heard the subject architectural theory spoken in combination with terms such as 'best selling' and 'popular'?


Before I start, I would like to tell you how difficult it was to access this book through my university library.

At first I thought, well, that's the anthology of Danish firm BIG that everyone from overenthusiastic first years to I am holier than thou professors have been raving about, surely the library must have dozens of copies! But no, even though The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex alone has 5 copies just in ONE library division, Yes is More had to wait half a year before someone poor enough in my faculty to demand a copy. Then, three months later, it was promptly 'stolen' after two days on the selves. Also by someone who had the talent of tracking it down before it was catergorised and stacked between other requests such as Twilight and which ever Ian McEwan's new book happened to be. After agonising whether I should just sell out and pay $32, it finally came into my hand as the person on the wait list before me graduated before the book was recovered. The hype has died down by the time I could read it without everyone telling me how mind blowing and life changing it was.

I wonder if BIG would get a movie deal.

Anyway, I was quite surprised by the quality of this mixture of graphic narration and contemporary architectural practice. It's straightforward, compelling, and more relevant than most other contemporary architectural practice/theory books out there. So, if I am to sell this book like I would a project proposal, this is what it would look like:


Pro:

1. Starting from the basics - Ingels explains the origin of his projects and the conception of idea, modification and research along the way. It's down to Earth and approachable for both theorist and practitioner.
2. Personal - Ingels is always there in EACH and EVERY frame. You really get to know the guy and his crappy hair cut.
3. Geography - you learn a lot about Denmark.
4. Models - even though these people pride themselves on being green, a copious amount of foam models are produced. They even have a little model making room. I've never worked in an office that cares so much about model making since model making facilities and material = $$$$$$
5. Effective diagrams - BIG's methodology is clearly communicated and can easily be adopted if you're struggling to come up with your own

Con:

1. Format - Yes is More is told like a comic and it gets to you after a while. I'm not sure if they gave the intern the job of writing the speech bubbles, but they are boring as hell for someone who's trying to make the graphic 'innovative' and interesting.
2. Anthology - I'm not saying it isn't good to include such a large sample of proposals, but it is understandable why and how some of them are shot down due to budget constraint and excessive time consumption
3. Photography - some pictures are pixelated after obvious photoshopping - dude you guys are in architecture! WTF
4. Ego - this guy is narcissistic, but then he's an architect, so I guess it's justifiable for him to go all Look at me!! Look at my SHINNY ORGANIC FORMS!! AND MY ORANGE SUIT!!
5. Koolhaas whoring - Ingels worked with de Smeldt from OMA, and it's pretty obvious if you compare their works.
6. Social integration and ecology are two concerns often mentioned, while BIG has an interesting attitude towards the latter (evolutionary vernacular architecture), the former seems superficial and the results iconographic in representation.
7. Architecture - with the exception of the first few designs, BIG's originality diminishes more and more until you have OMA deja vu.


Yes is More is a lot like what BIG promotes - a contemporary attitude of problem solving as opposed to revolutionary newness. The presentation, while isn't the best, is nonetheless effective and thought provoking. It's interesting to see such a large integration of architectural theory and practice that isn't purely theoretical (*cough* Arakwara and Gins *cough*), so yeah, I'd recommend it.



Probably my favourite project. CYCLING ON ROOF WEEEEEEEE



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message 1: by Brad (new)

Brad Your LEGO graphic is the bomb!


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