Marte.Marte – architecture book in five acts

An architecture book composed of visual essays in five acts: persons / outside / inside / ideas / actors; as intermezzi there are plans and texts in the form of written reflections by five authors: Emmanuel Caille, Andrea Maria Dusl, Marina Hämmerle, Otto Kapfinger and Anatxu Zabalbeascoa. The buildings appear in all acts, the separate pictures establish cross-references across the pages to the virtual whole. In the manner of a “road movie” the journey through the architectural landscape of Marte.Marte is deliberately separated into inside and outside. Why? The aim is to enable the viewer to experience the architecture of Marte.Marte sensually – from the void to the volume and back again. Marte.Marte build their “nests” with very precise external shells, the “semi-outside” of the internal courtyards seems itself like a split or separation, a part of the rigid spatial boundaries. The fascinating qualities of the interiors include the special scale, the way in which expansiveness alternates with constriction, the increase and reduction of the pressure of spatial states and the architects’ handling of light. In the external elevations one is struck by the way the horizontal building volumes are anchored in the ground, the special figure-ground relationships and field of forces generated by the buildings.

The graphical implementation of these qualities offers a new visual narrative of architecture in an unconventional book form. The inside / outside relationships in Marte.Marte’s architecture are woven together in a complex way. These relationships are presented in analogous form in the space of the pages of the book: aerial views of the buildings on the one hand convey an “extreme outside” in the sequence of photos of indoor spaces; on the other hand the reduced “X-rays” of the floor plans and sections form icon-like counterpoints in the “outside” sequence of images. The aerial views produce a visual miniaturization of the landscape and the buildings. By raising the buildings from the familiar plane the aerial perspective gives them a dimension of depth like a model. The magnificent series of colour images by Bruno Klomfar, Mark Lins, Petra Rainer, Ignacio Martinez forms the actual substance of the visual narrative and the images are articulated and reflected upon by informative passages of text with their own typographical design. As a volume, looked at from outside, the book seems like a building block – monochrome, compact, straight-edged and sharp without any protrusions or modelling. The voluminous, coarse-grain paper gives the book a tangible volume and a tactile lightness – a black box 163 x 225 x 41mm, with surprising insights on 416 pages. The cut edges, which are black on all sides, additionally give each panorama page an ultra-thin surround. The cover title makes its visual impact solely as the result of being partly painted – black on black