All posts filed under: Book review

Elements of Venice by Giulia Foscari

Elements of Venice is an extraordinarily well-researched and presented research effort, led a written by a key member of the Venice Biennale team, architect Giulia Foscari, a daughter of Venice with impeccable credentials and profound insights into the nature and history of the great, enigmatic City of Venice. This work will be intriguing for those just beginning to dip their toes into the lagoon of Venice’s cultural and architectural history. It is also a boon for those now fully immersed into the deep historical waters of La Serenissima. “Developed as a research project parallel to FUNDAMENTALS – the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Rem Koolhaas – this book introduces a radically new way of seeing Venice. With examinations of twelve different architectural elements, the guide allows readers to better understand the fundamental transformations that have shaped Venice over the past ten centuries.” This Biennale opened at the end of June 2014, with this book printed in June as well. The Foreword by Rem Koolhaas states that the presented research “…presents micronarratives revealed by focusing …

Construction Project Management by Clough and Sears

For more than thirty years, “Construction Project Management” by Clough and Sears has been considered the preeminent guide to the Critical Path Method (CPM) of project scheduling. It combines a solid foundation in the principles and fundamentals of CPM with particular emphasis on project planning, demonstrated through an example project.This Sixth Edition features a range of improvements. New pedagogical devices improve absorption of the material. Updated labor, material, and equipment pricing is incorporated into the text. Coverage is enhanced by discussions of contemporary planning and management methods such as Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) and the Earned Value Management System (EVMS). A highway bridge with a complete cost estimate, including SI units, illustrates each of the principles of project management. Using this basic information and the case studies in the appendix, readers are given project management problems and hands-on project management experience. Also new to this edition is information on the Earned Value Analysis (EVA) system and introductory coverage of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Lean Construction in the context of project scheduling. Readers will also …

Richard Meier

If it is true that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said, “God is in the details,” it might be possible to say of Richard Meier’s architecture that God is in the numbers. More than any other contemporary architect, Meier has imposed a style that is almost invariably driven by grids and precisely calculated proportions. Nor are these arithmetical elements the only predictable components of his designs. And yet his work is far from being as sterile as its rigorous white demeanor might imply. Rarely completely open, Meier’s buildings are usually a symphonic arrangement of geometric volumes composed of solids, voids, and generous glazing alternating with closed surfaces. Closed on the entry side, open to the ocean or the landscape, separating private and public spaces, double height and more where the design allows, or rather imposes, Meier’s houses announce but do not summarize his approach to larger buildings. Smooth glazed or white enameled panels alternate, too, with louvered, articulated façades, not according to the architect’s whim, but rather in function to the program and the …

Architecture of First Societies

Architecture of First Societies does more than just present the architecture of first societies. The author includes information on the environment, society and cultures that influenced the resulting architecture of those first societies. In addition to being useful for presenting the motivation of these examples of early architecture, the presentation, which includes, way of life, frequently depicted with color photographs of people who carry on some of these ways of life today, color photographs of modern day versions of the architecture, color photographs of archeological diggings of historic architecture and, finally, color photographs of the environment that the various peoples lived in with notes on climate changes that have occurred since then. Finally, the presentation includes architectural drawings, especially overhead drawings of the layout of whole villages and houses. For me, this had the effect of placing me in the context of what the author was describing. The only drawback was that, due to a large amount of extra material, there were not as many architectural drawings as I might have liked. For example, it …

CROSS PURPOSE

Small in scale but large in impact, these crosses speak through objects, colors, symbols, and patterns, all juxtaposed to deeply touch the innermost being.                                                                                                                 -—Diane Kirkpatrick CROSS PURPOSE Preface by Cathy Cash Spellman, foreword by Diane Kirkpatrick, essay by Charles A. Riley II Bespoke jewelry designer and artist Adria de Haume fashioned her first cross sculpture in 1982 to encourage the recovery of a critically ill friend. She has since harnessed the power of the cruciform to create a splendid array of personal, intricate, and truly meaningful cross-centric pieces. For three decades, de Haume’s sculptures have inspired, comforted, and delighted viewers and collectors. Cross Purpose is an exquisitely striking homage to this dominant and revered art form, illustrating the range …

Architectural Styles: Owen Hopkins

In the introduction to his visual guide to Architectural Styles, Owen Hopkins lets the reader know that architectural “style” is a 19th century creation, something that enabled architectural historians to chart developments in the appearances of buildings over time. But 220 pages later, in the book’s postscript, he asks, “In the face of ever-increasing architectural variety…what possibilities are there for ‘style’?” In both instances, Hopkins appears to be arguing against the validity of architectural style and the need for a book documenting one. Yet alas, he has written a book on such a topic, and with its focus on the visual, the book is a good introduction for students of architecture and laypeople with an interest in architecture, and a handy reference for architects who have forgotten what they learned in their history classes. In the book’s chronological format, there is an obvious move from simplicity to complexity, from “one” classical style to a plethora of styles, or, more accurately, a plurality of architects creating their own styles. The book starts with a chapter on …

Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Complete Works Volume 5

It’s 23 years since the first of Peter Buchanan’s monumental volumes on Renzo Piano appeared. The latest edition features projects completed between 2000 and 2007, plus several that are recently realised, including the London Bridge Tower (‘The Shard’). In total, the books record more than 30 years of achievement since Piano and his then partner Richard Rogers achieved instant superstar status with the completion of Paris’ Pompidou Centre in 1977. It is hard to think of any project in the intervening years that has failed to meet the expectations of Piano’s multitude of admirers. He is the archetypal architect’s architect, a pioneer who leads where others follow–for example, in the virtuoso use of materials such as timber, stone, brick and glass. Among the 14 projects recorded here (in meticulous detail, in tune with the expansive tone of the Phaidon series) are the New York Times office tower, Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church. Also included are the final phases of the Lingotto Factory Conversion …

Chandigarh Redux

Sixty years on, Werner Feiersinger’s CHANDIGARH REDUX constitutes a new chapter in the narrative. This collection of his photographs – in which he looks at the city’s architecture with the keen eye of a sculptor – casts the work of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Jane B. Drew, and E. Maxwell Fry in a new light. Werner Feiersinger captures the architecture’s solid, sculptural qualities, as well as Chandigarh’s vivid atmosphere and virtuosity. By Andreas Vass Chandigarh was the invention of a small group of technicians and administrative officers in Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s inner circle in the administration oft he East Punjab. The hesitant skeptical, factious, notoriously penniless and oft-changing leadership oft he new Indian state, which emerged from the partition immediately following the liberation of India in 1947, had come to this decision entirely on its own. Nehru and the planning staff headed by P.N. Thapar und P.L. Varma selected a handful of American and European architects and urban planners to design the city. The implementation and development of Chandigarh has been the achievement of Indian engineers, …

MIES by Detlef Mertins

Spanning sixty years, two continents and two world wars, based first in Berlin and then in Chicago, Mies van der Rohe’s career was a complex one, marked by discontinuities and struggles as much as continuities and success. Little wonder then that Phaidon’s new book, Mies – pretty much consumed the final decade of its author, curator architect and writer, Detlef Mertins. Mertins read everything written by and on Mies van der Rohe, travelled to all of his buildings and conducted an incredibly detailed study of the architectural, philosophical and scientific literature in Mies’ own libary. To describe the book that sprang from all this research as merely ‘exhaustive’ is to bring new meaning to the word understatement. Farnsworth House, Plano, Ilinois, (1945-51) – Mies van der Rohe As Mertins writes, in retrospect the trajectory of Mies van der Rohe’s career was less inexorable and more contingent upon changing contexts, challenges, clients and collaborators. While there are certainly continuities between them, how different the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois (1945–50) is from the Barcelona Pavilion (1928–9), and …

10 Stories Of Collective Housing: Graphical Analysis Of Inspiring Masterpieces

In the first line I have to mention that this book researched by a+t opens up a new horizon for understanding the housing perspective. I have hardly come across a book so well illustrated, analysed and more over interestingly presented. Ten collective housing has been discussed in ten separate chapters while bringing in necessary references and similar ideas from around the world. This is a must have for every scholar of architecture as well as practitioners and faculty members. The introduction of each architect (even responsible for little known or little documented projects) in a separate way makes a completely useful guide and abolishes the need to look it up at the library or internet further. This well documented publication has the capability of doing away with the need for further references at one pass. Learn more here: http://aplust.net/tienda/libros/%20%20%20%20%20/10%20Stories%20of%20Collective%20Housing/busqueda/10%20stories/ Graphics Credits:  a+t reseach group