Ma­te­rial Oper­a­tions

Book by Patkau Ar­chi­tects Prince­ton Ar­chi­tec­tural Press (hardcover, 192 pages)


It’s fair to say that Patkau Ar­chi­tects are mak­ers at heart. Re­spon­si­ble for nu­mer­ous award-win­ning projects, both in­ti­mate and grand in scale, the Van­cou­ver cre­atives pos­sess a gen­uine cu­rios­ity about the ma­nip­u­la­tion of ma­te­ri­als, an ap­petite for get­ting their hands on a sheet of metal and test­ing how far it will bend be­fore it breaks. This de­sire to ex­per­i­ment has led to a new branch of the prac­tice: a re­search depart­ment re­ferred to as Ma­te­rial Oper­a­tions. Com­pil­ing 11 small-scale projects that re­flect the on­go­ing re­sults of this re­search, this book pro­vides a be­hind-the-scenes look at the stu­dio’s meth­ods and work. Chock-full of process photos, de­tailed di­a­grams and draw­ings, the pages re­veal a trial-and-er­ror method of mak­ing, and how what is learned from one project is re­fined and ap­plied to the next – in­clud­ing how the bent-ply­wood Win­nipeg Skat­ing Shel­ters evolved into Co­coons, a se­ries of folded steel dress­ing rooms for Comme des Garçons in Tokyo. A more re­veal­ing study than most mono­graphs, Ma­te­rial Oper­a­tions is a com­pelling ex­plo­ration of ma­te­ri­al­ity and think­ing that shines a light on how an es­tab­lished firm main­tains a play­ful ap­proach.

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