Library nerves and Portable Architecture


Confession: the library makes me nervous. Dewey and his decimal system makes me very uncomfortable. I often feel embarrassed as I attempt to quietly walk (impossible in squeaky boots) around and around to find the right shelf–quarto, folio, NA, TS. This, I suppose, has led to my less-than-dexterous use of the MNCat search features. While I have a beautiful pile of books on my desk, nothing was quite matching up with the visions in my head. I know I’m using fabric, but the fabric architecture and tensile architecture books weren’t right. Kinetic architecture yields zero hits and kinetic sculpture seems to get me to Calder et al (and to Wilson on the West Bank, a place I rarely visit). Tent design, tents, etc leads to amazing books in other fields that have little to no relation to camping tents and their design.

Enter keyword: portable architecture. Golden rays from heaven! The pile on my desk threatened to double in size in a matter of minutes upon discovering this trove of wonders.

It seems that Robert Kronenburg is the person to reference for information on portable architecture. If it were a logic puzzle, Robert Kronenburg: portable architecture as Bruce Wright: fabric architecture. Mr. Kronenburg even leads week-long design-build workshops in portable architecture in the French countryside at Domaine de Boisbuchet (if only I’d known!).

So that’s my excitement in the quiet land of libraries. I’m getting more comfortable with Dewey’s mad system, less embarrassed about my wanderings (though not about my squeaky boot) and looking forward to visiting the NA8480 shelf again very soon.


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