The Charged Void
By Alison Smithson
(The Monacelli Press, Hardcover, 9781580931304, 336pp.)
Publication Date: March 17, 2005
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The Charged Void: Urbanism is the companion volume to The Charged Void: Architecture; the two together comprise the complete works of Alison and Peter Smithson. For the designers, architecture and urbanism were inseparable: buildings encapsulate urban ideas; urban systems are the means by which buildings function effectively. This second book collects both urban and architectural designs that have specific implications for city form into fourteen thematic chapters: the Team X Doorn Manifesto with its worked examples (Close Houses, Fold Houses, Terraced Crescent Houses); large-scale designs such as the Berlin Hauptstadt, Hamburg Steilshoop, and the Kuwait Urban Form Study; and built manifestations of urban ideas, notably the Economist Building of 1959-64. More than a collection of work, The Charged Void: Urbanism represents a record of a focused thought process concerned with the qualities of urban life—a thoughtful and witty collection of observations, decipherings, and recommendations for understanding and improving the complex nature of the city.
Alison and Peter Smithson produced one of the most significant and influential bodies of work of the second half of the twentieth century. Their books include Urban Structuring, Ordinariness and Light, Without Rhetoric, The Shift, and Team X Primer. Alison Smithson died in 1993, and Peter Smithson died in 2003, two years after the publication of The Charged Void: Architecture.