Yes is more is an architectural book published in 2009 by Taschen and written by Bjarke Ingels, founder of the architectural Danish studio “Bjarke Ingels Group”, mostly known as BIG (take a look at their works). This book, published by Taschen is available only in English, but it is a text that every architecture-lover, professional or amateur, should read because it is very comprehensible and formative.
The main photo of the article is taken by Bujdosó Attila and it shows the 2009 exhibit “Yes Is More”, in Copenhagen, for the launch of the book.
I already made a selection of my preferred architectural books, but this deserves a space all to itself.
when we work we always have a client, a need to fulfill or a demand to meet. But we try to look beyond, and see if there are any hidden resources or any latent potential that can be activated.
Bjarke Ingels is a Yes man. He says yes to just about any demand.
It is a surprising text, one of the best architecture books I’ve ever read. And these are the main reasons:
- It’s a sort of catalog of contemporary architecture, like the architectural critic Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi said. On one hand, you can find all the common ‘’elements of grammar’’ of today’s architecture; on the other hand, you understand shapes and recurrent schemes that otherwise remain extravagances, just iconic objects and misunderstood gestures. Easy, for everyone.
- It doesn’t care about ‘’how an architecture book should appear’’. As it does it with everything else, it finds its way: it uses colors, renders, collages, a very informal language, exclamation marks, excited manners and… it uses comics. No matter how weird could seem at first. Don’t take it for granted: the architecture field is overpopulated by dogmas, very resistant and conservative, to give a serious and rigid look to architecture. Then: you have to take yourself deeply seriously, above all in the way you express yourself; there is no space for pop-culture, you must appear cultured (but in a classic way) and avoid all unrequested crazy-artistic-new expressions. The perfect model of reference is old a century: the 20s. Many intellectuals and Masters – not all, obviously – may very quickly disown you if you express like the author of the book, the social and academic pressure is not indifferent.
- It practically shows what a creative and proactive thought means, that takes advantage of any circumstance. This is the real lesson that University tries to teach to every student. The lesson that it is hard to learn every day for all of us, and the essence of the profession of an architect. You will always face something or someone: a professor, a client, a site, a law, a budget, an idea, a wrong request, a judge, a technical issue, a jury. You may object to, or you can create. If Bjarke Ingels finds the best into the compromising, why should you make a “prima donna”?
- It is a look behind the scene – just a hint – that allows you to understand something about an international architecture studio as BIG. Why there are recurrent shapes and ideas that seem a brand, what to do in front a request of a competition, how to convince a client, the importance of multidisciplinary and so on. It is very particular even the accent on the realization issue: you would not expect that a famous studio like this builds really ‘’few’’ things compared to the effective creative production. Something at the end of the process often fails, and this is another focus point that every architect faces in his work. Even a Yes Man.
If you are enough curious to start reading it, you can find it easily on bookstores or Amazon.
Are there any other volumes or books you would like to have a review of? Or a topic you’d like to read about? Suggestions accepted!