Jul 08 2011

Book Blog: Boxes by Yung Ho Chang

by Sahar Baharloo

Boxes by Yung Ho Chang

As you read this, somewhere in China (or Dubai or Singapore), a hot shot celebrity architect is designing an inorganic, conceptual glass building that looks like it is going to fall over at any moment. This has been the trend for some time and while I am not even going to pretend to be an architecture expert, I don’t anticipate this changing anytime soon. While I have nothing against buildings like this personally, it is refreshing to know that some architects put function before form. Yung Ho Chang is one of those architects. His approach to projects is holistic. Preferring to use local or recycled materials, he looks at buildings as mini-cities, serving many kinds of people with different needs ranging from the spiritual to the logistical. Chang’s buildings are intended to harmonize, not clash with what is around it.

Boxes was made as companion to the eponymous show at Chambers Fine Art gallery in New York City in 2005. Luckily for his audience, Chang wanted to avoid the usual boring trappings of architectural exhibitions of framed blue prints and renderings of happy generic people strolling through courtyards. He had the wherewithal to know what puts non-architects to sleep. Chang decided to have this book serve as a mini-exhibition, one that people can carry around put together wherever they go.

As you can see from these spreads, Chang’s style tends to be modular and not just because modular looks cool.

Normally, I am would scoff at such a long line length, but it was actually pretty easy to read.

Credits for the design.

DIY Architectural sculpture.

I know the bar isn’t particularly high, but this has to be the world’s coolest colophon.

If I have succeeded at piquing your interest, check out the work of architecture firm Atelier Feichang Jianzhu, which not only was founded by Chang, but was the first independent architecture firm in Beijing. You can see pictures of Chang’s modular designs in real space at the Jinhua Architecture Park in Jinhua, China.

If you have  $10 dollars (plus $5 shipping) burning a hole in your pocket, you can purchase your very own copy of Boxes from Chambers Fine Art.

Edit: This lovely book was designed by Liu Zhizhi. Read all about him in this New York Times piece about Chinese design or check out his work from his sadly, now defunct studio in Beijing.

Book Blog is a weekly showcase of book design from ArtAsiaPacific’s areas of coverage and is written by AAP’s designer Sahar Baharloo. All images were taken by our photo editor Alis Atwell.