The MIT Press, a university press affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has launched the MIT Press Open Architecture and Urban Studies, an exhaustive digital collection of rare, sought-after, and previously out-of-print books on the subject of the built environment.
Many of the titles now accessible through MIT Press Open Architecture and Urban Studies have never before been available in ebook form due in part, according to a news release, to “complex design requirements and the prohibitive cost of image permissions.” Thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Open Book Program, an initiative co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, these books—all published between 1964 and 1998—are now available to peruse. And in addition to securing long-out-of-reach image permissions, the MIT Press was also able to solicit “fresh forewords that bring new insights to bear on many of these classic texts.”
Many of the thirty-plus titles will also be available on the open-access platform PubPub.
“The books in this collection are drawn from an absolutely formative period in the discourse of architectural and urban history and theory,” said Timothy Hyde, associate professor in the MIT Department of Architecture, in a statement. “These are essential publications to have available again, as they represent to some degree the founding of an independent discipline.”
In its announcement, the MIT Press calls out a few specific titles as particularly important: The two volumes of The Staircase by John Templer, On Leon Battista Alberti: His Literary and Aesthetic Theories by Mark Jarzombek, Possible Palladian Villas: (Plus a Few Instructively Impossible Ones) by George L. Hersey and Richard Freedman, and Making a Middle Landscape by Peter Rowe. Also available are Constantinos Doxiadis’s Architectural Space in Ancient Greece, Jean Gottman’s Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States, Architecture in the Scandinavian Countries by Marian C. Donnelly, Donald Leslie Johnson’s Frank Lloyd Wright vs. America: The 1930s, Gilbert Herbert’s The Dream of the Factory-Made House by Walter Gropius and Konrad Wachsmann, Moshe Safdie’s Beyond Habitat, and more.
You can view the entire collection, described as “a quintessential blend of theory, practice, history, and technology,” here.