Architecture

You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction. After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in the form of three books which will, in their words, "lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building and planning, which will we hope replace existing ideas and practices entirely." The three books are The Timeless Way of Building, The Oregon Experiment, and this book, A Pattern Language. At the core of these books is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical (it implies a radical transformation of the architectural profession) but it comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people. At the core of the books, too, is the point that in designing their environments people always rely on certain "languages," which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a forma system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable a person to make a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. "Patterns," the units of this language, are answers to design problems (How high should a window sill be? How many stories should a building have? How much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees?). More than 250 of the patterns in this pattern language are given: each consists of a problem statement, a discussion of the problem with an illustration, and a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seemly likely that they will be a part of human nature, and human action, as much in five hundred years as they are today.
For the Swiss-born architect and city planner Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887–1965), architecture constituted a noble art, an exalted calling in which the architect combined plastic invention, intellectual speculation, and higher mathematics to go beyond mere utilitarian needs, beyond "style," to achieve a pure creation of the spirit which established "emotional relationships by means of raw materials."
The first major exposition of his ideas appeared in Vers une Architecture (1923), a compilation of articles originally written by Le Corbusier for his own avant-garde magazine, L'Esprit Nouveau. The present volume is an unabridged English translation of the 13th French edition of that historic manifesto, in which Le Corbusier expounded his technical and aesthetic theories, views on industry, economics, relation of form to function, the "mass-production spirit," and much else. A principal prophet of the "modern" movement in architecture, and a near-legendary figure of the "International School," he designed some of the twentieth century's most memorable buildings: Chapel at Ronchamp; Swiss dormitory at the Cité Universitaire, Paris; Unité d'Habitation, Marseilles; and many more.
Le Corbusier brought great passion and intelligence to these essays, which present his ideas in a concise, pithy style, studded with epigrammatic, often provocative, observations: "American engineers overwhelm with their calculations our expiring architecture." "Architecture is stifled by custom. It is the only profession in which progress is not considered necessary." "A cathedral is not very beautiful . . ." and "Rome is the damnation of the half-educated. To send architectural students to Rome is to cripple them for life."
Profusely illustrated with over 200 line drawings and photographs of his own works and other structures he considered important, Towards a New Architecture is indispensable reading for architects, city planners, and cultural historians ― but will intrigue anyone fascinated by the wide-ranging ideas, unvarnished opinions, and innovative theories of one of this century's master builders.

"I would much rather build than write about building, but when I am not building, I will write about building — or the significance of those buildings I have already built." — Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright built a body of works and drawings to illustrate and explain his work: collections of designs with commentary that temperamentally parallel that work: irascible, radical, powerful and dense, astonishing and simple in its clarity. One of his earliest published works illustrates the parallel, preserving thought and design at a prophetic moment, shortly before Wright's genius and fame captured two continents and many converts. The Wasmuth portfolio of drawings (named after the original German publisher) is reproduced here from an extremely rare first edition (1910).
Wright's polemical preface indicates the importance he attached to the drawings and their publication: ". . . the work illustrated in this volume, with the exception of the work of Louis Sullivan, is the first consistent protest in bricks and mortar against this pitiful waste [academic, inorganic styles]. It is a serious attempt to formulate some industrial and aesthetic ideals that in a quiet, rational way will help to make a lovely thing of an American's home environment. . . ." "Home environment" for Wright was the Midwestern plain; these these drawings, perhaps his earliest experiments in organic design, partake of the Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin prairie with their emphasis on the horizontal ("the line of domesticity") and the environmental motif: "A beautiful elm standing near gave the suggestion for the mass of the building," Wright says of the Winslow house in River Forest, Illinois, a dwelling he cites as the first embodiment of many of his ideas. Elegant full-page architectural drawings and plans show Wright's atelier in Oak Park, Illinois, many homes, cottages, banks, a burial chapel, Unity Church temple, a concrete house designed for Ladies' Home Journal and numerous studies for buildings, treated as problems in design, that were never built.
The republication of this rare work gives access again to what has been called "the single most important collection of work published by Frank Lloyd Wright." Students of American architectural genius will find here the seeds of Wright's greatness.
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect and engineer flourishing in the first century B.C., was the author of the oldest and most influential work on architecture in existence. For hundreds of years, the specific instructions he gave in his "Ten Books on Architecture" were followed faithfully, and major buildings in all parts of the world reveal the widespread influence of his precepts. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, he was "the chief authority studied by architects, and in every point his precepts were accepted as final. Bramante, Michelangelo, Palladio, Vignola, and earlier were careful students of the work of Vitruvius." His book is thus one of those rare works that have been supremely important in the creation of the greatest art masterpieces.
Vitruvius describes the classic principles of symmetry, harmony, and proportion in architecture; the design of the treasury, prison, senate house, baths, forum, and temples; the construction of the theater: its site, foundations, and acoustics; the proper style and proportion for private dwellings; the differences between the Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian styles; methods of giving durability and beauty to polished finishings; and many other topics that help us understand the methods and beliefs of the Roman architect.
It is a direct, authoritative, and detailed introduction to the ancients' methods of construction, the materials of the architect, and the prevailing aesthetic beliefs of the times; but it is also a work of art. Vitruvius wrote in such a fascinating manner, and digressed from his subject so often (as, for instance, when he wrote about the winds, Archimedes in his bath, and why authors should receive awards and honors at least as often as athletes), that his book has had a continuing appeal to the general reader for many centuries. Besides being an instructive treatise on nearly everything connected with Roman and Greek architecture, it is an entertaining description of some aspects of the life and beliefs of the times. This edition is the standard English translation, prepared over a period of several years by Professor M. H. Morgan of Harvard University.
"I believe architecture must be the beginning of arts, and that the others must follow her in their time and order; and I think the prosperity of our schools of painting and sculpture, in which no one will deny the life, though many the health, depends upon that of our architecture." — John Ruskin.
In August of 1848, John Ruskin and his new bride visited northern France, for the gifted young critic wished to write a work that would examine the essence of Gothic architecture. By the following April, the book was finished. Titled The Seven Lamps of Architecture, it was far more than a treatise on the Gothic style; instead, it elaborated Ruskin's deepest convictions of the nature and role of architecture and its aesthetics. The book was published to immediate acclaim and has since become an acknowledged classic.
The "seven lamps" are Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Life, Memory, and Obedience. In delineating the relationship of these terms to architecture, Ruskin distinguishes between architecture and mere building. Architecture is an exalting discipline that must dignify and ennoble public life. It must preserve the purity of the materials it uses; and it must serve as a source of power and renewal for the society that produces it. The author expounds these and many other ideas with exceptional passion and knowledge, expressed in a masterly prose style.
Today, Ruskin's timeless observations are as relevant as they were in Victorian times, making The Seven Lamps of Architecture required reading for architects, students, and other lovers of architecture, who will find in these pages a thoughtful and inspiring approach to one of man's noblest endeavors.
This authoritative edition includes excellent reproductions of the 14 original plates of Ruskin's superb drawings of architectural details from such structures as the Doge's Palace in Venice, Giotto's Campanile in Florence, and the Cathedral of Rouen.
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