Studio Anders Abraham Architects

Press Release – A NEW NATURE

24 Marts

The complex urban condition is our new nature

A New Nature is an impressive and extensive new book by the architect Anders Abraham about the constant change of the city. The book presents architecture and urbanity as conditions rather than form and advocates thinking of the culturally created as different degrees of organisation, of spatial conditions. In order to achieve a much better qualified and more sustainable approach to working with the modern city in its continuous transformation, we should set up dynamic development principles rather than setting up form criteria in the planning of our surroundings.

Abraham gives us an indispensable tool for looking at the new nature; cities and landscapes. In his book, Abraham works with nine architectural conditions, which each represents degrees of organisation in our culture: from the lowest and most unruly level to the highest, well-ordered level. Or from the oil slick and the refuse dump on the outskirts of the city to the historic city’s monuments and towers. The degree of organisation tells a story about what we – as society and culture – give priority to, what we think is worth something.

According to Anders Abraham, it is when it comes to cohesion that things go wrong: “Architecture has problems in creating cohesion. When we design and build buildings, naturally, we need to enter into an already existing context. Even so, many houses simply stand alone side by side, rather than identifying themselves with and becoming a part of the urbanity that connects and creates cohesion in the culturally created – the new nature. Architecture is a condition that builds on relations, because that which matters one day either loses its significance or means something else the next. The city is created in the moment and it has to be central to our deliberations about urban development that we cannot retain the form, but that we can create spatial and social conditions instead.”

The work with what might be termed a sort of basic research into the city’s new nature started as rides through the run-down neighbourhoods around the automobile factories in Detroit. Anders Abraham, who was doing research work at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit at the time, found that the city did not have a solid form, but that it was rather a physical mass, which either densified or spread out, was extended or broken down. Detroit’s development was without clear objectives and recognisability; the city was in a state of constant physical transformation. Changing populations, upturns and downturns and different industrial phases all leave their mark on the city. That which was worth something yesterday gains new value tomorrow.

The observations on which A New Nature is based led to a PhD degree and a series of workshops and teaching courses at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, and they now represent the foundation for the architect’s own work form and philosophy. For the time being, the great work has resulted in the richly illustrated 580 pages book.  A New Nature is a convincing and exciting work that will inspire and move architects and non-architects alike.

Kjeld Vindum, Editor at Arkitekten, says this about A New Nature: “It is very much a visual book. The amount of outstanding drawings and photos bring us very close. Close to work with materials, right into the workshop/drawing office. Close to intense processes. Close to a very talented architect who works with great passion and dedication. An architect who allows us into his world in order to open up new worlds.”

The book concludes its own argumentation by introducing a number of Abraham’s own projects, which may help render visible and open the more abstract material’s concrete potential. In one of the projects – the small town of Brösarp, Sweden – a type of urbanity is developed that includes the social, political and programmatic elements, and which is not captured in an image of a historical town, but is a complex urban condition.

The book is in English, translated and further developed from the original manuscript.

The fine layout of A New Nature has been developed and defined in collaboration with Graphic Designer Jeanne Betak Cleemann.

Of current interest: At the beginning of April 2010, Anders Abraham’s permanent installation, Punkter mellem linjer (Points between lines) for CVU Øresund, the Metropolitan University College in Sigurdsgade in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, will be ready. It has been financed by the Danish Arts Foundation’s Committee for Environmental/Public Art. The project points towards a more organic connection between the new and old buildings – the project seeks to connect the area’s original and existing character into a new cohesive condition.

Anders Abraham lives in Copenhagen and runs Anders Abraham Architects. He is an associate professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture and qualified as an architect at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union in New York. Anders Abraham has been a visiting researcher at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and a visiting professor at The Cooper Union. A New Nature is based on Anders Abraham’s PhD dissertation in the artistic development work category, which he defended at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in 2003. Parts of the project have been exhibited, including at the International Architecture Biennale in Venice.

A New Nature


By Anders Abraham

578 pages, format 23 x 28 cm

ISBN: 978-87-87136-88-4

Recommended price DKK 500.00

Published by Kunstakademiets Arkitektskoles Forlag

Distribution Arkitektens Forlag,

For further information, please contact:

Tel. +45 2264 5355

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