College of Environmental Design Assistant Professor of Architecture Andrew Atwood released a new book in September titled Not Interesting: On the Limits of Criticism in Architecture (Applied Research & Design).
Not Interesting proposes another set of terms and structures to talk about architecture, without requiring that it be interesting. This book explores a set of alternatives to the interesting and imagines how architecture might be positioned more broadly in the world using other terms: boring, confusing, and comforting. Along with interesting, these three terms make up the four chapters of the book. Each chapter introduces its topic through an analysis of a different image, which serves to unpack the specific character of each term and its relationship to architecture. In addition to text, the book contains over 50 case studies using 100 drawings and images. These are presented in parallel to the text and show what architecture may look like through the lens of these other terms.
Atwood's work centers on techniques of representation as historical and conceptual instruments and how they specifically relate to the production of architecture and architectural pedagogy. His machines, drawings, and other works have been exhibited widely, including shows at the Beijing Biennale, the Pacific Design Center, and the SCI-Arc Gallery. Atwood holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard GSD and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Richmond.
In 2011, Atwood established First Office with Anna Neimark in downtown Los Angeles. Their work and writing show a commitment to expanding the role of architecture in the public realm and to bringing the community into a closer relationship with art and architecture. Built projects include a collaboration on the Pinterest Office Headquarters in San Francisco, a temporary Screening Room at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, a One-Room House in Los Angeles and rehabilitation of a Shotgun House in Lexington, Kentucky. Collaborative texts have been published widely, including in architecture journals Log, Perspecta, Project, and Think Space Pamphlets. A selection of essays and projects have been compiled in Nine Essays by First Office, published by Graham Foundation’s Treatise: Why Write Alone. First Office has received numerous honors in competitions and has notably been awarded the Architectural League Prize in 2015.