05/21/2007
          MVRDV: KM3: Excursions on Capacities MVRDV
          Review by Chris Warren

        • "Three-dimensionality can be seen as architecture's fundamental existence, the profession's acclaimed domain. In times of globalizations and scale enlargement, an update of this definition seems needed: meters turn into kilometers, M3 becomes KM3."

          KM3 is the newest tome brought to us by the group at MVRDV. Similar to FARMAX and its explorations of densities, this publication is loaded with ideas and projects, the large majority of which remain unbuilt, or even unbuildable. This agglomeration gives the reader a brick of over 1400 pages of type, photographs, renderings and sketches that will literally stand on its own on any shelf. Apparently, MVRDV first wished to publish each chapter (ten in all) as a series of smaller volumes, but concede that the cost of doing so was not feasible.

          Throughout the bulk of pages, many extravagant ideas are presented. Most of these are simply unresolved sketch exercises reminiscent of the broad range of concepts found in any progressive architecture school. But, there is also documentation of elegant built work interspersed throughout, such as the Frosilo apartments in Copenhagen and the Patio 2 residences in The Hague. A sometimes surprising amount of effort is devoted to topics of research, the hypotheses of which reap interesting conclusions, such as in the study of stacked pig farming in the Netherlands.

          KM3 does not break from common criticism of books of this nature - there is an abundance of flair, yet a distinct lack of rigor; perhaps another excursion on capacity could have shortened this book to one third its size. The progressively experimental nature of the publication can be commended, however, and readers should be surprised with the built work that is presented in KM3, as much of it has scantily been published.

      Discuss
        05.21.07 I should add that this book is shipped with an accompanying interactive CD. / Chris
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