Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Books with Holes

Think of books with holes cut through the pages -- not children's books, mind you -- and probably nothing comes to mind. But I couldn't help trying to recall other books with holes after seeing Columbia GSAPP's Abstract 2010-11. While I'm boggled by the potato gracing the cover, it's clear that three differently sized circles are cut through the entire book, cover to cover.

[Abstract 2010-11 | image source]

The first book that came to mind, one I actually used to own, is Chora L Works, which documents Peter Eisenman and Jacques Derrida's competition entry for Parc de la Villette in Paris. Square holes are cut through the book until it's midway point, where full pages create color backdrops for the cutouts. The diagonal grid of red squares are those cutouts. It's a frustrating book, since the cutouts don't relate to the page layout (minus some of the drawings), so words are missing from the already difficult text. No wonder I got rid of it, and no wonder the average Amazon rating is 1.5 stars.

[Chora L Works | image source]

Another title that comes to mind is a forthcoming book by ORO Editions that I saw a mock-up of at the AIA Convention in May: Hour 25: HKU Architecture Papers. The book is quite a bit more complex in how it cuts through the book's pages. Two semi-circles are cut into each page about a thickened line that is rotated a few degrees relative to the previous and succeeding page. The cover below makes it clear how this line then rotates clockwise a full 360 degrees from front to back. But the sample pages to the right indicate that the semi-circles were taken into account in the page layout; on pages with text the paragraphs actually follow the circles' arcs.

[Hour 25: HKU Architecture Papers | image source]

Thanks to an anonymous comment, another book with holes is Koolhaas Houselife, which is actually a DVD and companion book. (My previous blog post on the film by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine) Both are about OMA's House in Bordeaux, which features, among other things, circular windows; the cover sees the house's caretaker cranking open one of these oculi. The circular cut through some of the book's pages enable the dvd to be nested within the book.

[Koolhaas Houselife | image source]

Per Trevor's comment, here is a look at Jonathn Safran Foer's Tree of Codes. The publisher's descriptions says the book has "a different die-cut on every page ... Initially deemed impossible to make, the book is a first — as much a sculptural object as it is a work of masterful storytelling. ... Inspired to exhume a new story from an existing text, Jonathan Safran Foer has taken his "favorite" book, The Street of Crocodiles by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz, and used it as a canvas, cutting into and out of the pages, to arrive at an original new story ..."

[Tree of Codes | image source]

If you can think of other architecture-related "books with holes" please comment. I'd love to add more to this post.