AA’s covers: Issue 374, November 2009

Relaunching a magazine? A challenge. Embodying this renewal? A tall order… Under these circumstances, the creation of the cover becomes difficult, and sensitive. Personifying the event? Unthinkable. Finding someone to do it, even more so…

“All were part of this new issue…
but none had the right to the cover… so they all made the cover!

The all-consuming personality of Jean Nouvel is already sufficiently associated with the publication. While he is behind the renewal, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, with a logo he designed himself, is not ‘his’ magazine. Neither will it be a ‘AAJN’ product. In the pages of the ‘first’ 374th issue, a series of other distinguished figures follow on from each other: Claude Parent, Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton, Jean-Philippe Vassal. Too utopian? Too pragmatic? Julien de Smedt, Francis Kéré, Frank Gehry… too much? So who should be on the cover of this issue? An architect? Again? Perhaps it should be like the other front covers of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui? The 1930 issue, for example, the ‘first first issue’, bare and abstract? Or like the ‘seventh first issue’ —the numbering started again each year— dating back to 1936 with, for the first time on the front cover, a photograph: a ‘weekend home’ on the Danube by architect Lajos Kozma… Yes, why not put a photographer on the front cover? Bernard Plossu? Or an artist? Yves Bélorgey? Both of them? JR? All were part of this new issue… but none had the right to the cover… so they all made the cover! A composite image, designed by Sophie Laurent-Lefèvre and Serge Barto, with the eyes of Rio’s favelas, the façades of the Novartis Campus and the classrooms of the Nantes School of Architecture. A perfect embodiment of the ambition set, just ten years ago, for a magazine considered as a ‘collective work’… and not one of a single man.

© AA 374, Novembre 2009
© AA’s 374th issue, November 2009

This “come back” on an old cover by Jean-Philippe Hugron is extracted from AA 434 – Ageing well in place-, our latest issue, available on our online store.

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