Releasing Reinier de Graaf’s book Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession, published by Harvard University Press. Consisting of a collection of essays, the book brings together Reinier de Graaf’s thoughts about architecture in the 21st century as well as accounts of some of his own tragicomic experiences in the field.
Architecture, we like to believe, is an elevated art form that shapes the world as it pleases. Four Walls and a Roof challenges this notion, presenting a candid account of what it is really like to work as an architect. During Urban Books, De Graaf shares his views on the complexities of architecture’s relationship to developers, politicians, bureaucrats, and consultants. Drawing on his own tragicomic experiences in the field he discusses the key factors defining this complex nature of a simple profession, from suburban New York to the rubble of northern Iraq.
Four Walls and a Roof tells the story of a profession buffeted by external forces that determine – at least as much as individual inspiration – what architects design. Perhaps the most important myth debunked is success itself. To achieve anything, architects must serve the powers they strive to critique, finding themselves in a perpetual conflict of interest. Together, architects, developers, politicians, and consultants form an improvised world of contest and compromise that none alone can control.
The launch for Four Walls and a Roof will take place on Friday, October 6 in Amsterdam at Pakhuis de Zwijger at 8 pm.