Immaterial World: Transparency in Architecture


  • By Marc Kristal (Author)
  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press (22 March 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580933149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580933148
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 2.2 x 28.8 cm

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Today the excitement in architecture derives from the tension between the need for privacy and the impulse toward community. This unique survey of buildings and interiors captures the multilayered experience that is engaged whenever we look out of—or into—a work of architecture.

Immaterial World examines the built environment as a reflection of the terrors and pleasures of exposure, information overload, and abundance of every sort. Twenty-five projects from around the world by such well-known architects as Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Morphosis, Christian de Portzamparc, Renzo Piano, and many others, are presented. These works range from complete transparency to bunkerlike opacity, depending upon who’s doing the looking and who or what is being seen.


“Rare is the book that makes one look at buildings in an entirely fresh way, but Marc Kristal has achieved that goal in this critical study.” – FORM Magazine

“Marc Kristal has created just the right kind of introductory overview to recent trends in architectural transparency . . . The photography is first-rate, the writing sharply entertaining and informative.” – ArchNewsNow

About the Author

An architecture and design journalist, Marc Kristal is a contributing editor of
Dwell, a former editor of AIA/J, and has written for Metropolis, the New York TimesArchitectural DigestElle Décor, and numerous other publications. His most recent book is Re:Crafted: Interpretations of Craft in Contemporary Architecture and Interiors. In 2003, he curated the exhibition “Absence Into Presence: The Art, Architecture, and Design of Remembrance” at Parsons School of Design, and in 2009, he was part of the project team that created the Greenwich South planning study for the Alliance for Downtown New York. Also a screenwriter, Kristal wrote the film Torn Apart. He lives in New York.