Sigurd Lewerentz

The last piece in the remarkable and elegant new collection of Sigurd Lewerentz titles, Sigurd Lewerentz Pure Aesthetics : St. Mark's Church has just arrived. In detail, it is the most intimate of all the titles.

The architect was asked by one of the parishioners to explain the strange shape of the vaulted brick roof. Was the shape for the acoustics?

Lewerentz answered, "Well, yes, it is possible that it is also good for the acoustics, but I will tell you what it is : it is purely aesthetics."
Sigurd Lewerentz Pure Aesthetics : St. Mark's Church, 2021
354pp, 218 color plates, 10 line drawing, cloth, Stockholm, $75.
"At the age of 77, the architect Sigurd Lewerentz (1885-1975) was commissioned to design a church. Some of the parishioners worried that he was too old to manage the project, others that his low-key designs looked like a garage. 

The building that he achieved is, like a late play by Samuel Beckett, austere in means but luxurious in thought and imagination. Everything – walls, floors and ceilings, inside and out, pulpit and altar – is as much as possible formed of one material - brick - that performs a kind of magic. The interior is like an exhalation, a bubble, which since bricks are unlike soapy film, seems miraculous.
Everyone who knows his work agrees that Lewerentz was a craftsman. He went daily to the construction site of St Mark’s in the Stockholm suburb of Björkhagen, a church he realised just before St Peter’s, discussing every detail with the builders.

He forbade the common practice of cutting bricks to make them fit a given location, insisting that they remain whole, a rule that requires forethought and skill to follow. He worked with brickworks to achieve exactly the tone and finish he wanted on their products. He had a powerful sense of the sheen on a bronze rail or a copper lightshade or the sharpness of the shadows of a classical moulding. He invented new ways to make steel-framed windows and doors, and set up a company to manufacture them.
It’s also widely agreed that he was in some sense spiritual, but that’s a quality that can take many forms. As indeed can craftsmanship. And beyond their acknowledgment of his spirituality and craft, architects choose their own version of Lewerentz. For some it’s about the deep shadows in his churches, from which areas of light emerge. For others it’s his expression in architecture of modern religious experience. One or two focus on the new life that he gave to ancient classical detail in his early designs." 
- From the Guardian London, 10.4.21

The Lewerentz exhibit has just opened in Stockholm. It will be at ARkDes Museum until August 2022.
Lewerentz Titles
(A+) Sigurd Lewerentz - Architect of Death and Life
2021, 712 pp, 492 color plates, 264 halftones, cloth, Park Books, $160.   
A four year project, the catalog to the massive exhibit to open Fall 2021 in Stockholm at ArkDes Museum, the exhibit itself designed by London's Caruso St. John Architects. The catalog is structured in three parts - Biography, Photographs and Archive - each thorough, new, intensive and beautifully displayed. There has always been extraordinary interest in Lewerentz's work, from around the world - he is the legend and myth, he is the formidable enigma. It is the Woodland Chapel that designers travel around the world to visit, to hold. It is the flower shop in Malmo, the churches St. Marks and St. Peter. 
This is the first extensive display of Lewerentz work since the 1980s and shall finally bring the genius of this intensely private architect to a brilliant, open view. Born in 1885, his first major project, with the more voluble Erik Gunnar Asplund, came when he was 30 years old, the Woodland Cemetery, which has since been designated a Unesco World Heritage site. Here, in a difficult year, a catalog of passion and knowledge, of history and presence, of such intent and labor that it is a literal inspiration. And a remarkable honor.

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Sigurd Lewerentz : Drawing Collection 1+2. a+u
a+u Special Issue, 2021, Tokyo, paper, 416 pp, $120.
This is a remarkable collection, virtually all of the archived drawings of Lewerentz. Originally in two paperback volumes. The editors of a+u have combined the material into one large 418 page volume. It is to occasion the opening of the exhibit on Lewerentz, coming this October to Stockholm. The drawings are arranged and presented chronologically, then bracketed with the wonderful full color a+u photography. We had feared the volumes were long out of print - it is a pleasure they have, for the moment, returned.
The long and remarkable trail of Sigurd Lewerentz. 
The honor of these brilliant publications.
I am proud to have them here & proud to have a bookshop for them.
Fall 2021

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Peter Miller · 304 Alaskan Way South · Post Alley · Seattle, WA 98104 · USA