‘Agreeably transparent and with tremendous rhythm and a sense of rationality.’ With its restrained grey cover you don’t immediately see how generously conceived this substantial volume is. Might that have something to do with the well-chosen format? The book presents the extensive oeuvre of the Antwerp firm Polo Architects, conceptual designers of urban planning, private and public sector housing projects, schools and colleges, offices, commercial properties and interior design.
In terms of rhythm the book is on the right track from the opening pages, where priority is given to an unbroken succession of full-page and double-spread bleeds by way of an instant immersive introduction to the firm’s area of expertise. The succinct table of contents delays its appearance until pages 86-7, but that is not a problem – it is as if the book is making a second breakaway. The use of columns is also ingenious, and there is efficient use of texts and architects’ photographs and plans, the effect of which is to fill this voluminous publication with much air and transparency, right down to the choice of paper.
‘Making architecture easy to understand is not given to everyone, but here we are immediately invited to pay attention,’ the panel decided. Or as the architects themselves write: ‘It is the outcome of a quest rather than a punctuation mark.’