School of Architecture College of Design

The Architect's Book

Workshop Summary

In architecture, ideas are expressed primarily through visual and spatial representation, such as the drawing and the model. Text is supplemental or optional, and regarded as the medium of the theorist and not the designer or practitioner. This separation results in a gap between visual perception and explicit communication of complex ideas.


Books, which incorporate visual, sculptural, and temporal aspects, as well as literary and intellectual traditions, are an inherently multi‐disciplinary form. The field of Artist’s Books, which exploded onto the visual art scene in the 1960s, emerged out of a century‐long struggle to integrate image, form, and meaning, as well as an impulse to use the book not merely as a conveyer of information or a means to reproduce existing art objects/projects, but as a fully artistic medium in itself. As such, it invites investigation from all perspectives, including the spatial and architectonic.


In this workshop, we will begin to explore a new genre we will call the Architect's Book, where the form and the meaning of an architectural design must be read simultaneously. The sensory aspects of relating to a physical book form will highlight ways of interacting with and understanding a design, and only with direct experience of the “book” will one be able to perceive its complexity. This workshop will push the idea of "reading" in architecture to go beyond the understanding of a spatial or formal idea, to include the perception of the broader thought within the project.


Workshop blog


Guest Instructor

Maureen Cummins, Artist

Maureen Cummins is a New York-based artist whose work explores the experience of marginalization. She has produced over 30 limited edition book projects based on material such as slave narratives, the Salem Witch trials, turn of the century gay love letters, and 19th century patient records from McLean Hospital, the oldest mental hospital in the United States. She is represented in over one hundred permanent public collections and has received over a dozen grants and funded residencies, including the prestigious Pollock-Krasner award. 


Faculty Instructor

Andrea J. Johnson, AIA, LEED BD+C, Assistant Professor UMN School of Architecture

School of Architecture
145 Rapson Hall
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-5743


Contact Information

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General Information
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