Feature: BWAF Bookshelf, November 2013

From the BWAF Bookshelf


From left: Modern in Context: The Architecture of Suman Sorg, FAIA; Contested Spaces: Abortion Clinics, Women’s Shelters and Hospitals Politicizing the Female Body; Devon: The Story of a Civic Landmark (credits below).

The November 2013 BWAF Bookshelf features books on the architecture work of BWAF trustee, Suman Sorg, FAIA; an interdisciplinary book examining how architecture impacts women’s spaces and access to reproductive healthcare; and a book on the tallest building in Oklahoma, authored by BWAF advisory council member, Michael J. Crosbie. Books include Modern in Context: The Architecture of Suman Sorg, FAIA; Contested Spaces: Abortion Clinics, Women’s Shelters and Hospitals Politicizing the Female Body; Devon: The Story of a Civic Landmark.

By Suman Sorg
(ORO Editions, 2013)

Suman Sorg, FAIA, founder and principal of Sorg Architects in Washington, DC, has designed buildings that circle the globe. This five-book series entitled Modern in Context is an illustration of her belief and long-term investigation of portable principals of modern design in context through an examination of five notable projects. The projects featured in this ongoing series highlight a wide variety of building types and locations and their designer’s process.

Five books each detailing one project: United States Embassy-Bridgetown, Barbados; van Sweden Residence-Sherwood, MD; Skyon-Gurgaon, India; Solea Condominiums-Washington, DC; United States Consulate- Surabaya, Indonesia. Suman Sorg established her practice in 1986 and it has since become one of the largest female-owned architecture firms in the United States. As Chief Designer, Suman inspires her project teams with a strong commitment to thoughtful modern architecture that explores spatial, material, and visual experience. After careful examination of the unique characteristics of each place (site, climate, culture, community) and the programmatic requirements, Sorg Architects creates modern designs that are sculptural, and often monumental, yet geared toward the human scale. A long-standing interest in historic preservation complements Suman’s modernist leanings; by combining contemporary techniques and design strategies with the innovative handling of both traditional architectural language and indigenous building materials, Sorg Architects creates architecture that relates to its extended context in a meaningful way.

Contested Spaces: Abortion Clinics, Women’s Shelters and Hospitals Politicizing the Female Body
By Lori A. Brown, Syracuse University School of Architecture
(Ashgate, 2013)

In this book, Lori Brown examines the relationship between space, defined physically, legally and legislatively, and how these factors directly impact the spaces of abortion. It analyzes how various political entities shape the physical landscapes of inclusion and exclusion to reproductive healthcare access, and questions what architecture’s responsibilities are in respect to this spatial conflict.

Employing writing, drawing and mapping methodologies, this interdisciplinary project explores restrictions and legislatures which directly influence abortion policy in the US, Mexico and Canada. It questions how these legal rulings produce spatial complexities and why architecture isn’t more culturally and spatially engaged with these spaces.

Devon: The Story of a Civic Landmark
By: Michael J. Crosbie, FAIA, University of Hartford Department of Architecture
(Images Publishing, 2013)

This richly illustrated monograph tells the comprehensive inside story of one of the greatest architecture achievements in the history of Oklahoma City, and the states tallest building: the Devon Energy Center. The story begins with the project’s origins in Oklahoma City’s need for community redevelopment and a desire for corporate growth, through its elegant and collaborative design process, to its complex construction and realization. Intended for everyone interested in the development of landmark structures and 21st-century skyscrapers, the book is both technical and highly visual, including an impressive collection of the concept and architectural drawings and models by Pickard Chilton, the project’s Design Architect. Each expertly crafted component of this complex developmentincluding its heaven-piercing tower, its glass rotunda, the free-standing Devon Auditorium, the 50th-story restaurant, Devon Gardens, and its exquisite palette of materialsare discussed and featured. The monograph concludes with a visual essay of beautiful photographs of the completed project, captured by some of the country’s premiere architectural photographers.

Authored by architecture critic Michael J. Crosbie, the narrative takes the reader through the Centers complex history, addressing the project’s grand urban design and its vital impact on the civic, social, and urban fabric of the city. Dr. Crosbie also relates tales and insights gained from interviews of the project’s many collaborators: Devon Energy, developers, and the many architecture, design, engineering, and construction professionals. The text reveals the project as both an immense collaborative effort and as a singular vision of the philanthropic Devon Executive Chairman, Larry Nichols.

Excerpts of the descriptions were obtained from the publishers’ websites.
Photo Credits: Photos were obtained from publishers’ websites.

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