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Operative Mapping

Cover Operative mapping

Maps as Design Tools

Roger Paez

Operative Mapping investigates the use of maps as a design tool, providing insight with the potential to benefit education and practice in the design disciplines.

The book’s fundamental aim is to offer a methodological contribution to the design disciplines, both in conceptual and instrumental terms. When added to the resources of contemporary design, operative mapping overcomes the analytical and strictly instrumental approaches of maps, opening up the possibility of working both pragmatically and critically by acknowledging the need for an effective transformation of the milieu based on an understanding of pre-existing conditions.
The approach is pragmatic, not only discussing the present but, above all, generating a toolbox to help expand on the objectives, methodologies and formats of design in the immediate future. The book joins together a review of the theoretical body of work on mapping from the social sciences with case studies from the past 30 years in architecture, planning and landscape design in the interest of linking past practices with future ones.


Author: Roger Paez

Size: 21 x 26 cm / 8.25 x 10.25 in.
Pages: 324
Cover: Hardcover
Illustrations: Color
Publication date: September 2019
Published by: Actar Publishers, Elisava
ISBN: English 978-1-948765-07-7
Price: 40€ / $49.95 / £37

From Crisis to Crisis


Reading, Writing and Criticism in Architecture

Anthony Acciavatti, Chris Brisbin, Sony Devabhaktuni, Françoise Fromonot, Seng Kuan, Xiaoxuan Lu, Jonathan Massey, Graham Brenton Mckay, Kamran Afshar Naderi, Angelika Schnell, Eunice Seng, Nasrine Seraji, Zhi Wenjun, Tao Zhu

From Crisis to Crisis examines how reading, writing and criticism can address the urgent issues faced by architecture today, including: the role of the architect in the era of specialization; the function of criticism in diverse political, economic and cultural contexts; and, the possibility of architectural
education to take on history, theory, civic engagement and political participation. Drawn from an international public symposium organized in the spring of 2017 by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) Department of Architecture, the book is comprised in equal parts of focused essays and transcripts of the wide-ranging discussions.
From Crisis to Crisis reflects Hong Kong’s ongoing transformation from a gateway between China and the world, to a regional hub opening up a new milieu for the cultural, economic, and intellectual resources of Asia. The HKU Department of Architecture is part of this ongoing transformation, attracting thinkers from Asia, North America, Australia and Europe to engage in critical, relevant dialogues. The publication reflects this diversity and is characterized by its flexibility, contingency, vitality, and open-endedness.


Authors: Anthony Acciavatti, Chris Brisbin, Sony Devabhaktuni, Françoise Fromonot, Seng Kuan, Xiaoxuan Lu, Jonathan Massey, Graham Brenton Mckay, Kamran Afshar Naderi, Angelika Schnell, Eunice Seng, Nasrine Seraji, Zhi Wenjun, Tao Zhu

Editor: Nasrine Seraji, Sony Devabhaktuni, and Xiaoxuan Lu

Size: 5.9 x 9.05 in. / 16,5 x 23,5 cm.
Pages: 280
Cover: Softcover
Publication date: May 2019
ISBN: English 9781948765053
Price: 29€ / $34.95 / £27


Architecture and Dystopia

Archit & Distopya_COVER

Dario Donetti, Marco De Michelis, Oliver Elser, Dominique Rouillard, Marco Biraghi, Marie Theres Stauffer, Maddalena Scimemi, Simon Sadler, Massimiliano Savorra, Anthony Vidler

As a response to the profound crisis of Western culture the emerged in the 1960s, radical artists from Italy, Austria, England and Japan called into question the foundations of modernist utopias. They transmuted the difficulties of capitalism into a repertory of startling images that revealed the disturbing realities of consumer society, even in those places still resistant to the penetration of modern architecture, such as Superstudio and Archizoom’s Florence. Their model, though exhausted in the space of experimentation, went on to inspire a generation of architects, from the High Tech movement to Rem Koolhaas, who sought to employ the paradigm of dystopia as both a visionary and a constructive method, one which could operate on the architecture of late capitalism and generate unexpected possibilities for urban planning.
In the light of these examples, how to define a unified “dystopian” method of design, i.e. a common ground for an architecture that, by its very nature, seems to resist systematization? Are the most recognizable architectural expressions of this theoretical framework—characterized by brazen displays of technology and structures of overwhelming scale—merely isolated cases, albeit of particular iconic power? Or do they belong to a wider landscape of antirational architectural projects? And to what extent are these disturbing expressions premised on the utopian tradition or, better yet, the conceptual model of “negative thought”? The goal of this book is to respond to such questions, thus initiating an open dialogue about the legitimacy of this critical category.


Authors: Dario Donetti, Marco De Michelis, Oliver Elser, Dominique Rouillard, Marco Biraghi, Marie Theres Stauffer, Maddalena Scimemi, Simon Sadler, Massimiliano Savorra, Anthony Vidler

Editor: Dario Donetti

Size: 5.9 x 9.05 in. / 15 x 23 cm.
Pages: 196
Cover: Softcover
Publication date: May 2019
ISBN: English 978-1-945-150-94-4
Price: 30€ / $34.95 / £28


Design with Life

0. Cover_ Design with Life

Biotech Architecture and Resilient Cities

Mitchell Joachim, Maria Aiolova, Terreform ONE

In the challenging context of accelerating climate dynamics, the core discipline of architectural design is evolving and embracing new forms of action. New York-based nonprofit Terreform ONE has established a distinctive design tactic that investigates projects through the regenerative use of natural materials, science, and the emergent field of socio-ecological design. This kind of design approach uses actual living matter (not abstracted imitations of nature) to create new functional elements and spaces. These future-based actions are not only grounded in social justice, but are also far-reaching in their application of digital manufacturing and maker culture. Terreform ONE tackles urgent environmental and urban social concerns through the integrated use of living materials and organisms.
Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova, founders of Terreform ONE, describe their practice through various projects and prolific research that has made significant impact to what is increasingly recognized as socio-ecological design. Together they achieve an abundant collection of projects that validate these unique experimental methods, including the Monarch Sanctuary, a new urban building type to protect butterflies from extinction; Cricket Shelter and Farm, a series of modular volumes for harvesting alternate forms of insect protein; and biodegradable structures called Mycoform that invokes principles of synthetic biology to prototype 100% compostable furniture. Design with Life documents this growing body of work and outlines an original direction for a changing discipline,
reviewing concepts at a range of scales for metropolitan areas. In an age where speed is everything, Terreform ONE reveals how future architecture and urban design practices can cultivate biological processes and create resilient answers to tomorrow's wicked problems.


Authors: Mitchell Joachim, Maria Aiolova, Terreform ONE

Size: 8.2 x 8.2 in. / 21 x 21 cm.
Pages: 420
Cover: Hardcover
Publication date: May 2019
ISBN: English 978-1-948765-20-6
Price: 40 € / $44.95 / £35


New Investigations in Collective Form


Neeraj Bhatia, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Peggy Deamer, Clare Lyster, Keith Krumwiede, Jenny Odell, Albert Pope, Rafi Segal, Charles Waldheim.

New Investigations in Collective Form presents a group of design experiments by the design-research office The Open Workshop, that test how architecture can empower the diverse voices that make up the public realm and the environments in which they exist. Today, society continues to face urban challenges—from economic inequality to a progressively fragile natural environment—that, in order to be addressed, require us to come together in a moment when what we collectively value is increasingly difficult to locate. Organized into five themes for producing collectivity—Frameworks, Articulated Surfaces, the Living Archive, Re-Wiring States, and Commoning—the projects straddle the fine line between the individual and collective, informal and formal, choice and control, impermanent and permanent.

In 1964, Fumihiko Maki published his seminal text, Investigations in Collective Form, which he framed as the beginning of a vast inquiry on collective form. In the text, a young Maki grapples with the role of urban design and the urban designer, who is “charged with giving form” to the city. The emerging challenges Maki witnessed for the urban designer resided in the series of recent changes to the urban realm, including the “coexistence and conflict of amazingly heterogeneous institutions and individuals; unprecedented rapid and extensive transformations in physical structure of society; rapid communications methods; and technological progress and its impacts upon regional cultures”. What Maki so eloquently pointed out was the need for the designer to now think simultaneously about dynamic cycles, time, and transformations, which he termed “the master program” and as well as how form (or in Maki’s terms, the “master form”) responded to these temporal scenarios. This shift demanded by Maki in the role of the architect was indeed a profound one, as the architect’s role throughout history had been to determine lines that ordered the world. We could say that the majority of architecture and urban design of the twentieth century aimed to tame the contradictory, heterogeneous, and contingent urban environment, both physically as well as socio-politically. In the past two centuries, as cities have rapidly expanded into vast urban territories that are organized through the negotiation of politics, economics, and cultural values, the ability to determine such lines of order has become progressively more complex and suspect. Instead of controlling and assimilating the individual and the natural environments they inhabit, the design-research of The Open Workshop is focused on understanding how design can embrace the diversity and indeterminacy of the urban realm.

New Investigations in Collective Form expands upon Maki’s three approaches to collective form—composition form, the megastructure, and group form. The Open Workshop’s design-research projects examine how the human and environmental subject and their individual, transforming, ephemeral, and often contradictory characteristics continuously recompose a permanent work. These approaches include Living Archives, Rewiring States, Commoning, Articulated Surfaces, and Frameworks. Living Archives and Rewiring States are time-based approaches; Commoning is an organizational and programmatic technique; while Articulated Surfaces and Frameworks are form-based. Living Archives insert the contemporary subject into the making of the archive, redefining this space as an evolving cultural project that connects us to a longer lineage of what we have collectively inherited and will pass down. Rewiring States inserts architectural form in precise relationship to various ‘states’—time, temperature, materiality, form—of processes—logistical, industrial, and infrastructural—to rewire the these systems for new socio-political actors. Commoning examines the how to share and manage resources to enable user-managed governance. Articulated Surfaces leverage the flexibility of the generic surface and test how the time-based management of impermanent processes can more fully choreograph difference, expression, identity, and scale. Frameworks are legible geometric structures that are activated by transformations from indeterminate human and environmental factors. In each approach, design is not lost but rather re-centered on orchestrating the negotiation between indeterminate subjects and determined form. It is the richness of the dynamic subject evolving through time that is foregrounded but only understood through the collective framework of architecture.


Authors:  Neeraj Bhatia, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Peggy Deamer, Clare Lyster, Keith Krumwiede, Jenny Odell, Albert Pope, Rafi Segal, Charles Waldheim.

Editors:  Neeraj Bhatia

Size: 20.3 x 20.3 cm / 8 x 8 in.
Pages: 192
Illustrations: Color
Cover: Hardcover
Publication date: April 2019
Published By: Actar Publishers / CCA ARCHITECTURE BOOKS
ISBN: English 978-1-948765-16-9
Price: 32 € / $39.95 / £36

Retrospecta 41

Retrospecta 41

Nicole Doan, Javier Perez

Retrospecta catalogs activity at the Yale School of Architecture. Each volume is a snapshot of evolving architectural and graphic design trends.
The book demarcates events such as lectures, publication releases, and outstanding circumstances that have uniquely impacted the academic, social, and political environment at the school. Concurrently, Retrospecta 41 can be construed as a prospective glance, not only by future students and faculty, but also by the community at large. As we look ahead to the rising student activism, minority impact, and female voice which undoubtedly marked this academic year, we hope these shifts continue to evolve at YSoA.


Nicole Doan, Javier Perez

Publisher: Yale School of Architecture
Size: 8 x 12.75 in. / 20,32 x 32,38 cm
Illustrations: Color
Cover: Softcover
Publication date: December 2018
ISBN: English 978-1945150845
Price: 30€ / $35 / £ 26.7


America Recovered

Chad Ress, Jordan H. Carver, Miriam Paeslack

America Recovered reveals the point where abstract political processes manifest themselves in the physical world, thus providing an alternate means of experiencing the contemporary American landscape. Collectively, the images and essays show what aspects of our everyday lives are being assigned value in the promise of a recovered America.
In 2009 President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—known as the stimulus bill. Along with the bill, the administration launched , a website “to foster greater accountability and transparency in the use of covered funds.” The now-defunct website served as a guide for photographer Chad Ress to document a variety of projects funded by the Recovery Act. America Recovered collects forty of Ress’s photographs along with essays by Jordan H. Carver and Miriam Paeslack that trace the historical, spatial, and political significance registered within the images. The two essays frame Ress’s project within a history of US American documentary and landscape photography and its implications for a generation’s relation to constructions of nationhood, progress, and recovery.
America Recovered collects forty images that mark one of the only efforts to document the breadth of projects funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Unlike the New Deal and other programs designed for employment and infrastructural development, the Recovery Act was passed without any funds dedicated for photographic documentation. Using an official government website as his guide, Chad Ress took photographs of projects across the country. The publication of America Recovered at this moment allows for a critical reassessment of the Act and its lasting impact on the American landscape.
The two essays by architectural writer Jordan H. Carver and photography historian Miriam Paeslack situate Ress’s photographs within broader discourses of urbanism, infrastructure, and politics. The question of what role the government should play in everyday life remains one of the touchstone issues in American politics. The photographs and essays ask a different set of questions, not whether government spending is good or bad, whether it worked or didn’t, but what, exactly does government spending look like. And importantly, America Recovered asks how government spending and civic identity are constructed around place.


Authors: Chad Ress, Jordan H. Carver, Miriam Paeslack

Editor: Jordan H. Carver

Size: 6.50 x 9 in. / 16.5 x 23.5 cm.
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 40 / 10
Cover: Hardcover
Publication date: March 2019
ISBN: English 978-19-45150-93-7
Price: 19 € / $22.95 / £17


Catalog 2018-2019


Books on Architecture and Design

Actar Publishers is committed to investigating the culture of the architectural, urbanism and landscape disciplines through innovative design, theory, criticism and pedagogy. Actar is focused on the works and research of established and emerging practitioners, professors, and thinkers such as Charles Waldheim, Neil Brenner, Kiel Moe, Abalos+Sentkiewicz, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, AKTII, Farshid Moussavi, Lateral Office, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, ODA, nArchitects, LAN, Rania Ghosn & El Hadi Jazairy, Daniel Ibàñez, Mimi Zeiger, among others.
Actar also participates in publishing the periodicals Bracket, New Geographies, and Kerb, documenting issues overlooked yet central to our cultural milieu. These publications have evolved out of the new disciplinary territory at the intersection of architecture, landscape, environment, and digital culture.
Since 2015, Actar’s new digital platform urbanNext has shaped and expanded architecture and design practices to rethink cities. Through urbanNext, Actar is producing new tools for its global dissemination with new impulses, new proposals, and new goals to expand architecture publishing. As an example of this very successful symbiosis between printed and digital contents, we have partnered with the First Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017 “Imminent Commons,” which has resulted in the publication of four books as well as a vast amount of videos, essays and projects at
In addition to its own publications, Actar Distribution, “Actar D” represents these premier architecture publishers to the book trade in the Americas: Applied Research + Design, Birkhäuser, Detail Books, DOM Publishers, and ORO Editions. Actar D also co-publishes and distributes books internationally from eVolo and from renowned schools of architecture including Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Yale School of Architecture; Columbia Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation; University of Virginia School of Architecture; and Cornell University.



Buildings and Almost Buildings

Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang, nARCHITECTS

Buildings and Almost Buildings explores the work of nARCHITECTS as a single project – an anti-monograph with a subtle manifesto about the open-ended, incomplete, and ambiguous in architecture.

Is architecture inherently complete? Or is it a state of incompletion and seeming inadequacy that incites us to imagine architecture as an armature for an ever-changing daily life? Buildings and Almost Buildings explores the work of nARCHITECTS as a single project – an anti-monograph with a subtle manifesto about the open-ended, incomplete, and ambiguous in architecture. Structured around a variety of modes of representation specially prepared for the book, Buildings and Almost Buildings reveals the ways in which the celebrated New York office led by Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang addresses contemporary issues of a world in flux. Across a range of buildings, public spaces, and ephemeral installations, nARCHITECTS argues for the formal and social potential of an architecture that remains somehow incomplete and ambiguously perceived—or in the authors’ words, Almost Buildings.


Authors:  Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang, nARCHITECTS

Size: 18 x 24 cm / 7 x 9.5 in.
Pages: 400
Illustrations: Color
Cover: Softcover
Publication date: Jamuary 2019
Published By: Actar Publishers
ISBN: English 978-1-948765-08-4
Price: 35 € / $39.95 / £32


Layered Landscapes Lofoten

Understanding of Complexity, Otherness and Change

Magdalena Haggärde, Gisle Løkken

This book discusses approaches towards landscapes under pressure and transformation, and the importance of unprejudiced and experimental investigations to reveal its natural and cultural complexity.

Layered Landscapes Lofoten, Understanding of Complexity, Otherness and Change aims to challenge internalized concepts about how landscapes are considered and investigated, to open for alternative research, and legitimize subjective, singular and experimental approaches as valid and appreciated as a foundation for an informed process. These approaches take into consideration both the landscape and the practices taking place in the landscape, that are consistently full of individual and collective stories and experiences —the complexity created in both time and space, which influences our societies not only as traces of historical events, but as present realities and even expectations and what is to become.

Under the concepts of complexity, imbrication, vulnerability, fieldwork, flexibility and reorientation ideas are developed, all based in the contemporary and historic layers of the dramatic and contested landscapes of the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway —where pressure from political decisions and structural changes, increasing tourism, a potential new oil industry and uncontrollable global forces’ impact on nature and societies and cause continuous transformation and alteration of landscapes and topography, surrounding the traditional and modern fishing communities.


Editors:  Magdalena Haggärde, Gisle Løkken

Size: 16 x 24 cm / 6.3 x 9.5 in.
Pages: 388
Illustrations: Color
Cover: Softcover
Publication date: December 2018
Published By: Actar Publishers
ISBN: English 9781948765060
Price: 35 € / $39.95 / £32