Architect Charles Moore (1925-1993) was not only celebrated for his designs; he was also an admired writer and teacher. Though he wrote clearly and passionately about places, he was perhaps unique in avoiding the tone and stance of the personal manifesto. Through his buildings, books, and travels, Moore consistently sought insights into the questions that always underlie architecture and design: What does it mean to make a place, and how do we inhabit those places? How do we continue to build upon but respect the landscape? How do we reconcile democracy and private land ownership? What is original? What is taste? What is the relationship between past and present? How do we involve inhabitants in making places? Finally, what is public life? As the world becomes smaller, and the uniqueness of places and landscapes gives way to sameness, Moore's celebration of the vernacular and of the surprising are more relevant than ever.
The pieces in this book span the years 1952 to 1993 and engage a myriad of topics and movements, such as contextualism, community participation, collaboration, environmentally sensitive design, and historic preservation. The essays in this book reflect as well Moore's scholarship, humanism, urbanity, and great wit.
This collaboration between two distinguished architects and former colleagues is a joyous celebration of admired places and a thoughtful consideration of the role that design has played in giving these places their memorable qualities. It is also an invitation to readers to inhabit the chambers of the book with their own imaginations to join in the making of the Memory Palace proposed. The authors' informal, witty, and anecdotal style extends to the illustrations - the freehand travel sketches, line drawings, and watercolors of places they have remembered and enjoyed. Chambers for a Memory Palace consists of an exchange of letters in which one author recalls and the other responds to the elements considered essential to the art of successful place-making. Each of the book's chapters forms a chamber, and each chamber is inscribed with personal observations on the composition of places and the architectural elements central to each building, garden, court, monument, or open space described. The examples considered in these dialogues range from classic Western tradition to Asian temples and Islamic tombs, from ancient ruins to modern cities. In "Axes that Reach/Paths that Wander," Lyndon and Moore discuss the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, the Taj Mahal in Agra, Vaux le Vicomte in France, the Beverly Hills Civic Center, and the Kimbell Museum in Forth Worth. In "Orchards that Measure/Pilasters that Temper," they consider the rhythmic spacing of elements in the Mosque at Cordoba, the Cathedral at Bourges, the thousand-pillared mandapas of South Indian temples, the facades of Schauspielhaus in Berlin, and the Seagram building in New York City. They use these and many other examples to illustrate the ways in which architecture, experience, and memory intertwine to help us experience events and places.
This is an entirely different garden book: a pattern book in which a score of landscapes and gardens are drawn, described, and analyzed not just as a bouquet of pleasures but as sources, lodes to be mined for materials, shapes and relationships, and ideas for transforming our own backyards.
Charles W. Moore, one of America's best-known architects, is O'Neil Ford Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. William J. Mitchell is Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, and Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. William Turnbull, Jr., is Principal of William Turnbull Associates, San Francisco.