Steen Eiler Rasmussen

Steen Eiler Rasmussen was Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and Visiting Professor at M.I.T., Yale, Pennsylvania, and the University of California, Berkeley, and lectured widely at universities in Europe and the United States. He was author of London: The Unique City, called "the best book on London as a town,” and other books.

  • London, Revised Edition

    London, Revised Edition

    The Unique City

    Steen Eiler Rasmussen

    This study of London and of English social history and manners traces the city's growth from its original walls, emphasizing how the lives of its people shaped the character of the city. Since its first publication in 1934, the book has become a minor classic on the subject. This revised edition contains a new chapter, "Forty Years After: An Essay on London New Towns," in which Rasmussen describes the New London as a continuation and perfection of the special pattern of the 17th and 18th centuries which made it so completely different from other continental cities planned during that period. There are also some new views on historic London, an account of the old English system of measures that was basic to residential London's original layout, and additional illustrations.

  • Towns and Buildings

    Towns and Buildings

    Steen Eiler Rasmussen

    Today's bustling tourism has proved itself a double-edged sword: on the one hand it acquaints great numbers of people with cities and sights they might otherwise have missed; on the other it focuses on individual landmarks that the city as a whole is obscured and confused. Steen Eiler Rasmussen concentrates here on the town as a unity, as a whole composed of buildings and places.

    Most of the town plans are scaled to 1:20,000 for easy over-all comparison; several famous places are reduced to 1:2000 for closer comparison. The buildings are for the most part presented in three views: the first, en face: then the same view, minus the façade; and finally a top view, as if the upper stories had been removed. The result is a picture not of static façade and monument but of rooms and houses and towns where people live.

    • Hardcover $15.00
    • Paperback $38.00
  • London, Third Edition

    The Unique City

    Steen Eiler Rasmussen

    The author, a Danish architect and town-planner, published his book on London to show his compatriots that they had a 'great deal to learn from that form of civilization in which London has taken the lead'. It aroused wide interest in the Scandinavian countries. Later he felt that it was of even more importance to tell the English, 'that civilization which we admire and imitate as best we can'.

    His is not an architectural book; yet it gives more about London buildings that matter to the Londoner – the houses in the West End and Bloomsbury squares, the suburban villas and semi-detached houses, the East End cottage-dwellings, and why they have developed in their particular way – than any architectural work. As the writer sees it, the influences that have moulded London are: a constitutional monarchy living outside, if close to, London, a strong and independent trading class, jealous of its rights and especially of its rights to open spaces and the pursuit of sport; and its inhabitants' 'utter ignorance of what was being said and done in other countries'. The importance of sport to the people is a theme to which he constantly returns; 'sport', he says, 'is the music of the Englishman'. The difference between London and the Continental city is to him complete – the spreading city and the compact city. After reading his deeply-studied, diverting and original book London will be seen with new eyes. Its pages seem to illuminate the city from within.

    • Hardcover $15.00
    • Paperback $4.95
  • Experiencing Architecture, Second Edition

    Experiencing Architecture, Second Edition

    Steen Eiler Rasmussen

    A classic examination of superb design through the centuries.

    Widely regarded as a classic in the field, Experiencing Architecture explores the history and promise of good design. Generously illustrated with historical examples of designing excellenceranging from teacups, riding boots, and golf balls to the villas of Palladio and the fish-feeding pavilion of Beijing's Winter Palace—Rasmussen's accessible guide invites us to appreciate architecture not only as a profession, but as an art that shapes everyday experience.

    In the past, Rasmussen argues, architecture was not just an individual pursuit, but a community undertaking. Dwellings were built with a natural feeling for place, materials and use, resulting in “a remarkably suitable comeliness.” While we cannot return to a former age, Rasmussen notes, we can still design spaces that are beautiful and useful by seeking to understand architecture as an art form that must be experienced. An understanding of good design comes not only from one's professional experience of architecture as an abstract, individual pursuit, but also from one's shared, everyday experience of architecture in real time—its particular use of light, color, shape, scale, texture, rhythm and sound.

    Experiencing Architecture reminds us of what good architectural design has accomplished over time, what it can accomplish still, and why it is worth pursuing. Wide-ranging and approachable, it is for anyone who has ever wondered “what instrument the architect plays on.”

    • Hardcover $10.00
    • Paperback $27.00