Building Work

Hort’s intriguing set of books for landscape architect Rainer Schmidt is an elegant but deceptively complex take on the traditional architectural monograph.

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Project Description
We developed a publication made up of six books for Rainer Schmidt, Landschaftsarchitekten + Stadtplaner, published by Birkhäuser Verlag. The book project devotes itself to the central themes of Schmidt’s work, documents around forty selected projects and includes several essays on landscape architecture and urban planning.

The individual books are each variants of the B series format and have a consistent 192 page range. Typography and composition are scaled proportionally to the format of each book.

Both the product and graphic design reference the conceptual elements of landscape architecture. They form an autonomous layer of the design creating a neutral platform for the different contents

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Landschaftsarchitekten + Stadtplaner, designed by Hort

How did the project originally come about?
The publisher suggested a collaboration. Our first presentation was very well received by the client and also by the publishing house and editor. Following this we were commissioned to realise the project.

What was the original brief and did it change at all?
The brief was formulated in a very open way. A book concept should be developed for the comprehensive monograph of the work of Rainer Schmidt Landschaftsarchitekten + Stadtplaner, this was to include a range of independent essays.

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Did this project present any particular challenges, and if so how were these overcome?
One of the biggest challenges was to bring each of the individual books to a unified number of pages. The implementation of typography and layout/grid on the unique formats was really complex. The search for the right box construction which enabled ease of access to the six books was a very time intensive process.

What do you think has worked particularly well?
The play with the individual formats and the connected reference to graphic and product design functions very well. The experimental handling of the medium changes the interaction with the respective formats and achieves a differentiated discussion of the corresponding content.

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What was the client's feedback?
The client commented that in the field of landscape architecture there was no other comparable publication. What also impressed was the coherence between the photography and renderings, present, past and future. However throughout the company enthusiasm was not unanimous – the book has also proved successful in polarising opinions.

Technical spec
For the design of the cover we used Relative by Colophon Foundry.

Title: City by Landscape, The Landscape Architecture of Rainer Schmidt 
Client: Rainer Schmidt Landschaftsarchitekten + Stadtplaner, Munich, Germany 
Publisher: Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, Switzerland 
Editor: Thies Schröder, Berlin, Germany 
Lithography: Heinrich Holtgreve
Date completed: January 2014

Photography by Michael Kohls

hort.org.uk