Transparency and luminescence have reemerged in the vocabulary of architecture, and light and "lightness" have become key concepts for a significant number of contemporary architects, as well as artists who create installations. The thirty-three projects illustrated in this book exemplify this emerging sensibility, which is examined in a penetrating essay by Terence Riley, Chief Curator of the department of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art, that places the new work in a broad historic and cultural perspective.
Recent work by these contemporary architects, artists, and designers recall the use of transparent materials in early modern structures, but they have introduced new ideas and technical solutions. In so doing, they have redefined the relationship between the observer and the structure by interposing elements that both veil and illuminate. In this architectural "lightness," buildings become intangible, structures shed their weight, and facades become unstable, dissolving into an often luminous evanescence.