Thoughts on ‘Binding Architecture: Drawing in the Book’ by Marian Macken

“The artist’s book… offers a different mode of presenting documentation and reading representation.” (Macken, 2014, p.225)


‘Binding Architecture: Drawing in the Book’ written by Marian Macken is an interesting read for research on my project ideas.

In the article, Macken suggests that by drawing within an actual book, you can make the page become part of the building or drawing, not just show it. Techniques applied to the pages of the book, such as scoring or cutting, allows the drawing to become three dimensional and include the materiality of the paper. The book becomes part of the drawing, not just a way to represent information.

Within the article, it is suggested by Clive Phillpot, that “artists’ books sit provocatively at the juncture where art, documentation, and literature all come together.” (Macken, 2014, p.226)

She suggests architects who have explored this median of representing, including Diller & Scofidio, Daniel Libeskind and Morphosis Architects.

It also implies that typical architectural drawings have no interaction with the page upon which it sits, you could place the lines of the drawing onto any material and the drawing would still keep its intentions, but by linking the drawing and the page, it becomes more prominent and related to its surroundings. The whole cominbed drawing becomes an artifact.

The use of artists’ books as a page on which to sit the drawing, and the use of techniques such as embossing, lithography and printing processes, allow the page to be changed and sculpted to become the drawing, constrained by the space of the book.

Examples to explain these process include:

North Terrace, Adelaide (2009) by Marian Macken for Taylor Cullity Lethlean

Folded Drawing (1971) by Sol LeWitt

Work No. 328: A Sheet of Paper Folded and Unfolded (2004)

Spreads of Influence (2010) Donna Ruff

Mies van der Rohe: Built Houses (2009) Marian Macken

Your House (2006) Olafur Eliasson (video below)

Another article to read: ‘A reflection on paper and it’s virtues within the material and invisible factures of architecture‘ Marco Frascari, which discusses the relationship between the architect and their paper. It suggests that many architects believe the paper is just a way to show and support the final drawing- the point of the architects’ role.


The article goes on to explain the model/architectural facture/tool, which suggests that the pages all together in a book create the 3D space, and can be used instead of a typical architectural model. It concludes with emphasising the point that a book with architectural content can be more than just a simple book with line drawings, but more interactive and a representation technique of a completed building.


Macken, M. (2014) ‘Binding Architecture: Drawing in the Book’, Architecture and Culture, 2:2, 225-243.

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