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Criticism and Theory

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A Candid Guide to the Profession

Since 1985, Architect? has been an essential text for aspiring architects, offering the best basic guide to the profession available. This third edition has been substantially revised and rewritten, with new material covering the latest developments in architectural and construction technologies, digital methodologies, new areas of focus in teaching and practice, evolving aesthetic philosophies, sustainability and green architecture, and alternatives to traditional practice.

Architect? tells the inside story of architectural education and practice; it is realistic, unvarnished, and insightful. Chapter 1 asks “Why Be an Architect?” and chapter 2 offers reasons “Why Not to Be an Architect.” After this provocative beginning, Architect? goes on to explain and critique architectural education, covering admission, degree and curriculum types, and workload as well as such post-degree options as internship, teaching, and work in related fields. It offers a detailed discussion of professors and practitioners and the “-isms” and “-ologies” most prevalent in teaching and practicing architecture. It explains how an architect works and gets work, and describes architectural services from initial client contact to construction oversight. The new edition also includes a generous selection of drawings and cartoons from the author’s Washington Post column, “Shaping the City,” offering teachable moments wittily in graphic form.

The author, Roger Lewis, has taught, practiced, and written extensively about architecture for many years. In Architect? he explains—for students, professors, practitioners, and even prospective clients—how architects think and work and what they care about as they strive to make the built environment more commodious, more beautiful, and more sustainable.

In Ideas That Shaped Buildings, Fil Hearn identifies and codifies into theoretical systems the operative tenets of architectural theory from ancient Rome to the present. With this strikingly original synthesis of architectural history and theory, he constructs an intellectual armature on which virtually any architectural concept, past or present, can be positioned. Dealing mainly with the treatises that have been highly influential historically, he organizes their concepts thematically and analyzes their development through time. Straightforward and concise, Ideas That Shaped Buildings is readily accessible to architecture students, practicing architects, and the general public -- indeed anyone interested in understanding the design rationale of buildings. Its overarching message is that, far from being constricting, proper knowledge and application of architectural theory is enabling and inspiring, and makes creative freedom possible by providing the conceptual awareness needed to devise a design.After an introductory history of the development of architectural theory, the text is divided into four parts. The first deals with issues relevant to all theories of architecture. The second, treating theory from antiquity to 1800, focuses on the prescriptive conventions inherent in the classical tradition. The third, treating theory after 1800, focuses on the inspirational principles prompted by rationalist perceptions of the Gothic tradition. The fourth, treating theory since 1965, deals with rationales beyond rationalism and the influence of computers on design method and design formulation. The concepts discussed are illustrated with theoretical drawings and images of actual buildings.

The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture

Kenneth Frampton's long-awaited follow-up to his classic A Critical History of Modern Architecture is certain to influence any future debate on the evolution of modern architecture.

Studies in Tectonic Culture is nothing less than a rethinking of the entire modern architectural tradition. The notion of tectonics as employed by Frampton—the focus on architecture as a constructional craft—constitutes a direct challenge to current mainstream thinking on the artistic limits of postmodernism, and suggests a convincing alternative. Indeed, Frampton argues, modern architecture is invariably as much about structure and construction as it is about space and abstract form.

Composed of ten essays and an epilogue that trace the history of contemporary form as an evolving poetic of structure and construction, the book's analytical framework rests on Frampton's close readings of key French and German, and English sources from the eighteenth century to the present. He clarifies the various turns that structural engineering and tectonic imagination have taken in the work of such architects as Perret, Wright, Kahn, Scarpa, and Mies, and shows how both constructional form and material character were integral to an evolving architectural expression of their work. Frampton also demonstrates that the way in which these elements are articulated from one work to the next provides a basis upon which to evaluate the works as a whole. This is especially evident in his consideration of the work of Perret, Mies, and Kahn and the continuities in their thought and attitudes that linked them to the past.

Frampton considers the conscious cultivation of the tectonic tradition in architecture as an essential element in the future development of architectural form, casting a critical new light on the entire issue of modernity and on the place of much work that has passed as "avant-garde."

Studies in Tectonic Culture is a copublication of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies and The MIT Press.

Edited by K. Michael Hays


In the discussion of architecture, the prevailing sentiment of the past three decades has been that cultural production can no longer be understood to arise spontaneously, as a matter of social course, but is constructed through ever more self-conscious theoretical procedures. The development of interpretive modes of various stripes—poststructuralist, Marxian, phenomenological, psychoanalytic, as well as others dissenting or eccentric—has given scholars a range of tools for rethinking architecture in relation to other fields and for reasserting architecture's general importance in intellectual discourse.

This long-awaited anthology is in some sense a sequel to Joan Ockman's Architecture Culture 1943-1968, A Documentary Anthology (1993). It presents forty-seven of the primary texts of contemporary architecture theory, introducing each by detailing the concepts and categories necessary for its understanding and evaluation. It also presents twelve documents of projects or events that had major theoretical repercussions for the period. Several of the essays appear here in English for the first time.


Philosophical Essays

A great deal of interest and excitement surround the interface between the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of psychology, yet the area is neither well defined nor well represented in mainstream philosophical publications. This book is perhaps the first to open a dialogue between the two disciplines. Its aim is to broaden the traditional subject matter of the philosophy of biology while informing the philosophy of psychology of relevant biological constraints and insights.

The book is organized around six themes: functions and teleology, evolutionary psychology, innateness, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and parallels between philosophy of biology and philosophy of mind. Throughout, one finds overlapping areas of study, larger philosophical implications, and even larger conceptual ties. Woven through these connections are shared concerns about the status of semantics, scientific law, evolution and adaptation, and cognition in general.

Contributors:
André Ariew, Mark A. Bedau, David J. Buller, Paul Sheldon Davies, Stephen M. Downes, Charbel Niño El-Hani, Owen Flanagan, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Todd Grantham, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Gary Hatfield, Daniel W. McShea, Karen Neander, Shaun Nichols, Antonio Marcos Pereira, Tom Polger, Lawrence A. Shapiro, Kim Sterelny, Robert A. Wilson, William C. Wimsatt.

Essays in the Modern Unhomely

The Architectural Uncanny presents an engaging and original series of meditations on issues and figures that are at the heart of the most pressing debates surrounding architecture today. Anthony Vidler interprets contemporary buildings and projects in light of the resurgent interest in the uncanny as a metaphor for a fundamentally "unhomely" modern condition. The essays are at once historical and theoretical, opening up the complex and difficult relationships between politics, social thought, and architectural design in an era when the reality of homelessness and the idealism of the neo-avant-garde have never seemed so far apart.

Gardens reveal the relationship between culture and nature, yet in the vast library of garden literature few books focus on what the garden means - on the ecology of garden as idea, place, and action. The Meaning of Gardens maps out how the garden is perceived, designed, used, and valued. Essays from a variety of disciplines are organized around six metaphors special to our time - the garden muses of Faith, Power, Ordering, Cultural Expression, Personal Expression, and Healing. Each muse suggests specific inspirations for garden and landscape design.

How America Rebuilds Cities

Our cities are on the move again. Pioneering observers of the urban landscape Bernard Frieden and Lynn Sagalyn delve into the inner workings of the new public entrepreneurship and public private partnerships that have revitalized the downtowns of such cities as Boston, San Diego, Seattle, St. Paul, and Pasadena. They bring a unique combination of political and economic expertise to their analysis of this hot new marketplace, depicting a generation of mayors and administrators who differ in style from their predecessors and who have a more informed relationship with developers.

Downtown Inc. is a progress report on what has happened to our cities in the second half of this century, documenting new directions and more productive strategies for rebuilding downtown. Frieden and Sagalyn take a close look at the retail industry and illustrate how, in cities across the country, maverick developers and enterprising mayors found creative solutions to the problems presented by conservative lenders, political controversy, and shrinking Federal subsidies.

Substantial studies of four big city malls - Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, Town Square in St. Paul, the Pike Place Market in Seattle, and Horton Plaza in San Diego - show in detail what it takes to succeed: a free wheeling entrepreneurial style, flexible deals, financing on the go, and design plans that change as needed. They also highlight the inventive designs that fit these projects into crowded downtowns, attracting record crowds to their doors, and show conversely how conflicts over Columbus Circle, Times Square, and Bryant Park in New York embody the problems that cities must overcome when they try to combine private profit with civic purpose.

Downtown Inc. surveys the results to date to see if there is a real agenda for downtown in the mix of convention centers, malls, stadiums, hotels, and promotional events. Besides the obvious successes of bringing in money and reversing decay in urban centers, Frieden and Sagalyn document the emergence of new downtown economies in New York, Pittsburgh, and other cities as major job centers for a broad cross section of people.

De Re Aedificatoria, by Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), was the first modern treatise on the theory and practice of architecture. Its importance for the subsequent history of architecture is incalculable, yet this is the first English translation based on the original, exceptionally eloquent Latin text on which Alberti's reputation as a theorist is founded.

This new edition of Kevin Lynch's widely used introductory textbook has been completely revised; and is also enriched by the experience of Lynch's coauthor, Gary Hack. For over two decades, Site Planning has remained the only comprehensive source of information on all the principal - activities and concerns of arranging the outdoor physical environment. Now, new illustrations double the visual material and one hundred pages of new appendixes cover special techniques, provide references to more detailed technical sources, and put numerical standards in a concise form.An introduction summarizes the site planning process. This is followed by a case study of a typical professional project and ten chapters which provide new materials on user analysis, programming, site planning for built places, housing tenures and their planning implications, cost estimating, mapping, the reading of air photographs, site design for housing in developing countries, design strategies, environmental impact analyses, and many others - all illustrated with in-text photographs and line drawings and with Lynch's characteristic marginal sketches.Kevin Lynch is Professor Emeritus of City Planning at MIT and à partner in Carr, Lynch Associates. Gary Hack is Head of the Department of Urban Studies and planning at MIT

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