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.

  • Design Thinking in the Digital Age

    Design Thinking in the Digital Age

    Peter G. Rowe

    In 1987, Peter G. Rowe published his pioneering book Design Thinking. In it, he interrogated conceptual approaches to design in terms of both process and form. Thirty years later, in a lecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Rowe offered a reappraisal of his earlier work, describing ways in which the capacities of the digital age have changed the way we perceive and understand creative problem-solving in architectural design. In this new account of “design thinking” based on that memorable talk, Rowe charges that ideas about the “precision” and “incompleteness” of information have become exaggerated and made more manifest. He dives into the crucial role of schema theory and the heuristics that flow from it, but concedes that the “ineffable characteristics of design problems and of design thinking also appear to have remained.”

    The Incidents is a series of publications based on events that occured at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design between 1936 and tomorrow.Edited by Jennifer Sigler and Leah Whitman-Salkin

    Copublished with the Harvard University Graduate School of Design

    • Paperback $16.00
  • Architectural Encounters with Essence and Form in Modern China

    Architectural Encounters with Essence and Form in Modern China

    Seng Kuan and Peter G. Rowe

    A study of traditional and modernist attitudes toward architecture in China from the 1840s to the present.

    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.

    • Hardcover $40.00 £29.95
    • Paperback $9.75 £7.99
  • Civic Realism

    Civic Realism

    Peter G. Rowe

    A study of the shape and appearance of civic places and the social, political, and cultural circumstances that bring them into existence.

    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.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £34.95
    • Paperback $19.75 £14.99
  • Modernity and Housing

    Modernity and Housing

    Peter G. Rowe

    Peter Rowe explores the social, cultural, and expressive history of housing at two crucial moments: the first large-scale developments along modernist lines in the 1920s, and the widespread reconsideration of modernist principles in the 1970s.

    Starting from the question of how can the design of modern housing can be successful, Peter Rowe explores the social, cultural, and expressive history of housing at two crucial moments: the first large-scale developments along modernist lines in the 1920s, and the widespread reconsideration of modernist principles in the 1970s. Although the inquiry is conducted along historical and theoretical lines, it proposes to uncover practical principles that may guide the design of modern housing, each principle responding to a contemporary architectural paradox posed by modern conditions. Six detailed case studies form the illustrative centerpiece of the book. Modernity and Housing embraces three more or less parallel themes concerning modernity: the rise of technocracy and the attendant tendency of modern space to become universal while the experience of time is confined to the present; the problem of representation for a culture in which subject-centered reason has replaced metaphysical foundations; and social practices that give rise to urban concentrations and the production of mass housing on an unprecedented scale. Within these themes, the modern experience of space and time philosophically grounds discussion of local and traditional versus universal and novel building practices. The perspective of subject-centered reason grounds the exploration of the use of abstract forms and the comcomitant problem of providing for an expressive architectural language; while the unprecedented quantities of housing production raise the thorny issue of widely defining a normative building program that allows for local particularity. The case studies cover Sunnyside Gardens, New York; Romerstadt, Frankfurt-am-Main; Kiefhoek, Rotterdam; Byker Redevelopment, United Kingdom; Villa Victoria, United States; Malagueira Quarter, Portugal. An appendix contains an annotated and statistical summary of all major housing projects described in the text (about 40) with notes that include the date, size, place, architect, client, housing type, relative densities, and other items of interest.

    • Hardcover $82.00
    • Paperback $39.95 £27.95
  • Making A Middle Landscape

    Making A Middle Landscape

    Peter G. Rowe

    Today's suburban metropolitan development of single-family homes, shopping centers, corporate offices, and roadway systems constitute what Peter Rowe calls a "middle landscape" between the city and the country. Looking closely at suburban America in terms of design and physical planning, Rowe builds a case for a new way of seeing and building suburbia - complete with theoretical underpinnings and a basis for design.

    • Hardcover $50.00
    • Paperback $37.00 £25.95
  • Design Thinking

    Design Thinking

    Peter G. Rowe

    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.

    • Hardcover $29.95 £22.95
    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00