02/01/2011
          Provisional-Emerging Modes of Architectural Practice USA Edited by Elite Kedan, Jon Dreyfous and Craig Mutter
          Review by Mario Cipresso

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        • Timing is everything, so they say and this book arrives on shelves at a moment in time when the future of architectural practice is in question on the covers of the two premier architectural journals in the United States.  Architectural Record queries, "What Now?".  Architect magazine posits "What's Next?"  Under the soul-crushing pressure of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis, the best acronym I've heard for the recession) the architecture profession has apparently been sent reeling and just now appears to be regaining some of its footing with reports of increased architectural billings nationwide.  The discussion centers around the current, unsustainable model of practice that has been serving unsustainable building and development practices worldwide.

          Seeking that new form of architectural practice is the book, 'Provisional'.  Composed of a series of interviews taking place largely between 2005 and 2008, Provisional profiles nine architects/firms practicing in various capacities within the broader field of architecture.  The firms are a blend of established practices and some relative newcomers.  Of the several common themes that appear to tie the practices together, those at the forefront are an interest in hands-on investigation, a willingness to take on responsibility with regards to fabrication and construction and experimentation with emerging technologies and software that leads to the creation of the digital tools of architecture themselves.

          The interviews are all quite unique in that each architect comes at the topic from a different background and perspective which I found quite valuable in that it reveals moments of transition and revelation at different points in their careers.  A worthwhile read for emerging and well-seasoned practitioners, you'll come away with a notion of how your ideal architectural practice might operate..... then you'll just have to find some work to test your ideas!
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