First published in January 1971, a+u – Architecture & Urbanism – is an architectural magazine in Japanese and English that provides information on architecture around the globe to a global readership. As Japan’s only monthly periodical dedicated to disseminating information on architecture around the world, a+u has been widely and actively read by the architecture community since its inaugural issue. The magazine’s research network extends around the globe, covering more than 100 countries. It features direct reporting on individual architects in various countries, and each issue is edited from a unique perspective to efficiently deliver the latest trends to readers. In addition, essays penned by architects, critics and historians help guide thinking on tomorrow’s architecture, greatly influencing the industry inside and outside Japan.
a+u is a staple in the architectural world with its now classic format of monographies and issue long in depths of a specific project. The content is mainly communicated through images, and as such the layout takes a step back, always following the same modernist formula.
All Latin type is set in Our Bodoni, a cut of Bodoni devised by the late Massimo Vignelli to match the x-height of his beloved Helvetica. Japanese is set with Adobe’s Kozuka series, utilizing both the Gothic and Mincho version. And while the Latin is used for larger titles, running texts present both scripts equally side by side, grounded on the same baseline grid. The use of Our Bodoni might seem curious at first, as there is no Helvetica to match, but the more you think about it the more it makes sense. The enlarged x-height provides a much better match with the Japanese, where characters always set at full height. Its also the house type of design consultant Massimo Vignelli (credited with creating the magazine structure), so it could also be just that.