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Peter G. Rowe

Peter G. Rowe is Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is Raymond Garbe Professor of Architecture and Urban Design.

Titles by This Author

Built around snatches of discussion overheard in a Beijing design studio, this book explores attitudes toward architecture in China since the opening of the Treaty Ports in the 1840s. Central to the discussion are the concepts of ti and yong, or "essence" and "form," Chinese characters that are used to define the proper arrangement of what should be considered modern and essentially Chinese. Ti and yong have gone through various transformations—for example, from "Chinese learning for essential principles and Western learning for practical application" to "socialist essence and cultural form" and an almost complete reversal to "modern essence and Chinese form."

The book opens with a discussion of cultural developments in China in response to the forced opening to the West in the mid-nineteenth century, efforts to reform the Qing dynasty, and the Nationalist and Communist regimes. It then considers the return of overseas-educated Chinese architects and foreign influences on Chinese architecture, four architectural orientations toward tradition and modernity in the 1920s and 1930s, and the controversy over the use of "big roofs" and other sinicizing aspects of Chinese architecture in the 1950s. The book then moves to the hard economic conditions of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, when architecture was almost abandoned, and the beginning of reform and opening up to the outside world in the late 1970s and 1980s. Finally, it looks at the present socialist market economy and Chinese architecture during the still incomplete process of modernization. It closes with a prognosis for the future.

A civic place belongs to everyone and yet to nobody in particular. In Civic Realism, Peter G. Rowe looks at the shape and appearance of civic places, and at the social, political, and cultural circumstances that bring them into existence. The book is as much about the making and reshaping of civic places as it is about urban architecture per se. According to Rowe, the best civic place-making occurs across the divide between the state and civil society. By contrast, the alternatives are not very attractive. On the one side are state-sponsored edifices and places of authoritarian nature. On the other are the exclusive enclaves of corporate-dominated urban and suburban environments.

In Design Thinking Peter Rowe provides a systematic account of the process of designing in architecture and urban planning. He examines multiple and often dissimilar theoretical positions whether they prescribe forms or simply provide procedures for solving problems - as particular manifestations of an underlying structure of inquiry common to all designing. Over 100 illustrations and a number of detailed observations of designers in action support Rowe's thesis.