Book Cell: Octagonal Building Made Entirely From Books!

by , 02/24/10

sustainable design, green design, green architecture, recycled materials, eco art, Book Cell, de Matej Krén

Architecture is knowledge, history, research and trend. This is literally evident in Book Cell, an octagonal building made entirely from books that was installed in the Modern Art Center in Lisboa. Slovakian artist Matej Kren built an octagonal framework, filled it with books and removed it, leaving a symmetrical, enclosed room of stacked literature.

sustainable design, green design, green architecture, recycled materials, eco art, Book Cell, de Matej Krén

Book Cell was originally installed for six months in 2006, but the piece still resonates today. The books used for the piece were borrowed from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation onsite at the Modern Art Center and returned to its collection after use, making it a very site-specific, almost personal piece, and reinforcing the idea that you don’t have to use something crazy, new and disposable to make powerful art.

So what defines architecture? Despite all the crazy new angles and leaning towers of our modern Frank Gehry age, Book Cell seems to remind us that all buildings are ultimately bound by culture and knowledge, and while those limits can be confining, they can also lead us to create things that are simple and beautiful.

+ Matej Kren


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  1. asi_ka May 13, 2011 at 3:22 am

    honestly, I think printed books are a waste of resources, and this is cleverly showing that they value nor more than bricks. We should go paperless, everywhere, if you actually put it down you’ll see that it even makes sense in poor communities.

  2. ZugloiTankonyvcentrum March 26, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Thank you for posting this article. Lately we’ve been looking for interesting ways of books’ “alternative usage” and have started posting them (of course indicating the source link as well) on our bookstore’s facebook page at

  3. Koger March 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    JTruth, I recommend reading the above article. The books were stacked, not attached, and then returned to the collection from whence they came. No books were harmed in the making of this art installation.

  4. JTruth February 24, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Honestly, I think this a great peace of art, but, what I hope is that these books are blank, because regardless of the language printed on these books I guarantee there are people whom could have used the books to learn and keep their mind sharp, especially the children of the future generations whom will finish the roads we have begun to pave in all aspects of this world.

    – JTruth

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