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Unfinished Encyclopedia of Scale Figures without Architecture

by Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample and MOS The MIT Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 1256 pages
AU$222.99 NZ$230.43
Product Status: In Stock Now
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More than 1,000 representations of the human figure in architectural drawings by architects ranging from Aalto to Zumthor, removed from their architectural context.


Architects draw buildings, and the buildings they draw are usually populated by representations of the human figure - drawn, copied, collaged, or inserted - most often to suggest scale. It is impossible to represent architecture without representing the human form. This book collects more than 1,000 scale figures by 250 architects but presents them in a completely unexpected way: it removes them from their architectural context, displaying them on the page, buildingless, giving them lives of their own. They are presented not thematically or chronologically but encyclopedically, alphabetically by architect (Aalto to Zumthor). In serendipitous juxtapositions, the autonomous human figures appear and reappear, displaying endless variations of architecturally rendered human forms.


Some architects' figures are casually srcawled; others are drawn carefully by hand or manipulated by Photoshop; some are collaged and pasted, others rendered in charcoal or watercolors. Leon Battista Alberti presents a trident-bearing god; the Ant Farm architecture group provides a naked John and Yoko; Archigram supplies its Air Hab Village with a photograph of a happy family. Without their architectural surroundings, the scale figures present themselves as architecture's refugees. They are the necessary but often overlooked reference points that give character to spaces imagined for but not yet occupied by humans. Here, they constitute a unique sourcebook and an architectural citizenry of their own.


A wave of excitement may rush over the reader while surveying the 1000+ scale figures in the book's collection.

Michael Meredith is a Principal at MOS, an internationally recognized architectural practice based in New York. His writing has appeared in Artforum, LOG, Perspecta, Harvard Design Magazine, and other publications.

Hilary Sample is a Principal at MOS, Associate Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture Planning, and Preservation, and author of Maintenance Architecture (MIT Press).

MOS, cofounded by Meredith and Sample in 2003, was the recipient of the 2015 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum National Design Award in Architecture, the 2010 American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award, and the 2008 Architectural League of New York Emerging Voices Award.