Ornament and Identity

Ornament & Identity: Neutelings Riedijk Architects
Neutelings Riedijk Architects
Hatje Cantz, March 2018

Hardcover | 9-3/4 x 11-1/2 inches | 336 pages | 260 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-3775742153 | $85.00

Publisher Description:
Ornament and Identity is the successor of the well-received At Work, a publication by renowned Rotterdam based architecture firm Neutelings Riedijk. In their new publication they convincingly demonstrate that buildings with a powerful expression create new local identities in a globalized world.

In twelve themed chapters Moiré, Image, Seam, Emblem, Letter, Pattern, Cutout, Ridge, Grid, Lozenge, Relief and Filigree, readers are guided on the exploration of the connection between form, meaning and contemporary ornaments.

Images of realized buildings, intriguing scale models, material samples, and unique ornaments designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects illustrate the craftsmanship and their search for expression and identity.
dDAB Commentary:
Neutelings Riedijk's buildings are easily recognizable: covered in dimples, ripples, and other surface textures, and with complex, sometimes Piranesi-like interiors that belie their relatively straightforward exteriors. The Dutch firm presents their palette of formal maneuvers in Ornament and Identity, a title that clearly expresses why they design buildings the way they do. To fully explain what drives their practice, partners Willem Jan Neutelings, Michiel Riedijk, and Carl Meeusen fill the book's introduction with a series of paired terms (order and type, abstraction and figuration, whole and fragment, etc.) that argue for "fresh views" as a means of constructing local identities. Following are twelve chapters that "can be interpreted as the architectural representation of the binary terms" from the introduction.

The twelve chapters, with names like emblem, pattern, and lozenge, are used to structure 36 buildings and projects, three per chapter. The buildings are presented solely with full-color photographs (no plans or other drawings), while the projects are described with model photos rather than renderings or drawings. The former's photos put the emphasis squarely on the various types of ornament -- such as the hands on the facades of the City History Museum MAS -- while the models convey the porosity and spatial ingenuity of their projects. Each chapter is prefaced by a grid of four detailed images, but those images do not necessarily refer to projects in the same chapter. Without an index or table of contents for the projects, the only way to find a particular building or project is to flip through the book, slowly absorbing the many ways Neutelings Riedijk use ornament to infuse their buildings with identity for its users and residents.

Author Bio:
Neutelings Riedijk Architects was established in Rotterdam in 1987. Its partners are Willem Jan Neutelings, Michiel Riedijk, and Carl Meeusen.
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