Client—Rice School of Architecture
Editors—Sean Lally and Jessica Young
8.125 inches by 10375 inches, 166 pages, sewn paperback
Softspace, the book, began its life as Softspace the exhibition, held in the Spring of 2004 at Rice School of Architecture. The project changed fairly significantly as it became a book, but it’s safe to say that the exhibition played a critical role in how we approached the development and presentation of the book. Softspace is number 41 in the Architecture at Rice publication series, which has a long history of supporting collaborations between Rice faculty and other academics and professionals.
The book takes stock of a moment in design and research occurring now, while attempting to point to where we may be headed with work such as this; work that seeks to break down, or challenge, the preconceived opposition between form and space, for example; work that explores the material conditions that exist between the envelopes of geometry and structure; and work that explores alternatives to the standard techniques of representation that reinforce pervasive and conventional notions of both how to make architectural space and what constitutes this space. The book is projective in nature, rather than documentary, and looks to suggest possible futures rather than give answers.
Given that, we refrained from organizing the material into distinct chapters, presenting instead a more continuous progression, where each contribution can build upon the subject matter of the others. The book presents contributions from emerging architectural practices, architectural theorists, and designers. Contributions are presented in the form of essays, primarily, that are then supported by images and lengthy descriptions of particular architectural and design projects completed by the contributing offices. This results, visually and organizationally, into two “tracks” or streams of information, allowing the reader to engage the material and ideas in two different ways.