I was on pins and needles all morning knowing that my doorbell would ring, that there would be a bicycle courier standing there waiting for me – and that he or she would then hand me my very first copy of The BLDGBLOG Book.
And it arrived! It’s real, it’s in my hands – and it looks fantastic.
[Image: The BLDGBLOG Book, published by Chronicle Books, designed by MacFadden & Thorpe, and illustrated by Brendan Callahan. Visible here are images by Joe Alterio, Alex Dragulescu, Sir Peter Cook/Archigram, Lateral Architecture, Michael Cook, Stanley Greenberg, Alexis Tjian, myself, Joel Sanders, Örvar Atli Þorgeirsson, NOAA et al., Lebbeus Woods, NASA et al., Ron Blakey, the USGS, David Maisel, and Brendan Callahan].
So amazing to see this thing in real life!
From a series of Microsoft Word documents, to an ever-changing suite of PDFs, to a year and a half of long, long nights editing more than 125,000 words’ worth of content, it’s now bound, inked, and sitting here looking around at the world it tried to describe.
And there’s so much to say about it, I don’t even really know where to begin.
It’s got five major chapters and a huge bibliography; it’s got interviews, full-color photo spreads (by Simon Norfolk! David Maisel! Edward Burtynsky! Ilkka Halso! Bas Princen! and more!), as well as original illustrations by my colleague at Dwell, Brendan Callahan; it’s got maps and plans and architectural sections; it’s got renderings; it’s got 19th-century British ruin paintings, W.G. Sebald, and J.G. Ballard; it’s got FAT, geology, and rogue tunneling machines; it’s got urban farming, icebergs, archaeology, and Archigram; it’s got a saddle-stitched paperback binding that can open up flat, as well as multi-colored paper and an awesome use of a changing page grid; it’s got two original comic strips by BLDGBLOG (my first!), drawn by Joe Alterio and printed on the inside covers; it’s got runaway climate change, undersea cathedrals, artificial reefs, lost cities, oceangoing utopias, and the Chinese Olympics; it’s got injected landforms, spray-foam monuments to the nuclear power industry, Gustave Doré’s black and white visions of the underworld, and the architecture of Gothic horror; it’s got blimps, retractable villages on the British coast, the San Andreas Fault, underground warfare in the mountains of Afghanistan, and a short interview with Alex Trevi (among so many other interviews! dozens! from Sir Peter Cook, Sam Jacob, and DJ /rupture to Lebbeus Woods and Mary Beard); it’s got exploding stars, simulated mountain ranges on Venus, Mars habitats, and a quantum tomb for Albert Einstein; it’s got Minsuk Cho, China Miéville, Christopher Wren, Frederick the Great, and Paradise Lost.
Man, I’m so excited and so genuinely pleased to see this thing in person after such an incredibly long time putting it together.
Check out some spreads here – and feel free to order the living crap out of this thing on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.co.uk, or simply go straight to the source and pick up a copy through Chronicle Books themselves. Also, how incredibly interesting is it for me to see, on Amazon.com, which books customers “also bought,” from Eyal Weizman to 306090 and Neal Stephenson. It’s good company to be in!
So expect more information about the book over the next two months, including voluminous and genuine thank yous for all the people who helped put it together – from my editor, Alan Rapp, and my designers, MacFadden & Thorpe, to everyone who contributed the book’s eye-popping range of 300+ images – as the actual publication date approaches.
But, for now, I just couldn’t let today go without mentioning how happy I am to see this thing. Hello, book.