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Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture Reprint Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0826310040
ISBN-10: 0826310044
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A unique examination of building and culture.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826310044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826310040
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1964, concurrent with the exhibition Architecture Without Architects shown at MOMA, this slim volume of text and photographs radiates heat and light when reviewed almost forty years later. In fact, Rudofsky's introductory essay is so fresh today it is almost inconceivable it was written the better part of four decades ago! Offering a scathing attack on modern approaches to the landscape and to problems of living more generally in a time of rampant population growth, Rudofsky shrewdly pointed to the fact that "part of our troubles results from the tendency to ascribe to architects-or, for that matter, to all specialists-excessive insight into problems of living when, in truth, most of them are concerned with problems of business and prestige." But what transpires when the focus can be maintained on functionality, efficiency, ease of use, and a design aesthetic that remains humbly in tune with and loyal to the mood and visual imperative of the land under development? To answer these crucial questions Rudofsky takes us back a few thousands of years to the origins of architectural strivings (even preceding man's earliest efforts) and the material results thereof.
The essential point Rudofsky cares to make in these pages is that "vernacular architecture does not go through fashion cycles. It is nearly immutable, indeed, unimprovable, since it serves its purpose to perfection." Rooted in a practical, harmonious relationship with its setting, 'primitive' architecture exemplifies the art of living well through its consistent use of frugality in construction, cleanliness in line and detail, and a general respect for "creation.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. Nearly every page introduces me to something new, and thus broadens my conception of what it means to be a human being. Flipping through it at random reveals photos of gigantic Syrian water wheels, Dogon granaries, Spanish arcades, desert fortresses in Morocco, Italian hill towns, and hollowed-out baobab trees used as homes. The book is far more than a mere collection of curiosities, though: it is a challenge to our narrow conceptions of what makes a building or a city "legitimate." The book goes on to challenge us on even more fundamental levels: it radically expands one's exposure to alternate forms of living/urbanism/social networks, and exposure to the different social forms of the past always causes me to think heavily upon the ways in which the ones of our own time might be deficient (The incredible diversity of building styles depicted in this book are jeopardized and in some cases destroyed by the rise of tourism and the global marketplace; a trend that has already done irreperable damage to some of these cultures at the time the text was written.) A slim but important book, a celebration of human diversity, and a call for increased attention towards both our own lifestyles and the ones we endanger.
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Format: Paperback
A delicious document that proves that architecture has always been made by and for the people. This book almost always ilustrated by very sensuous photographs aproaches the subject that although architecture is suposed to respond objectively to problems of the «inhabitance» doesn't have to abdicate of any dramatic expression, and in fact can be enhanced that pragmatism!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A profoundly important book, written with great intellectual integrity and wit. I recommend this book to everyone I have occasion to speak about the built environment. It was reading for me in architecture school at UCB 40 years ago. I ran across it again in 2013 reread it, renewning its significance. A cherished read and visual journey.
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Format: Paperback
Architecture Without Architects by Bernard Rudofsky demonstrates

that anonymous builders achieved great form based on function.

Confess right now -- designers, planners, architects!! You don't have

this book? You don't even know about this book or its author, Bernard

Rudofsky? Verdict: You are culturally deprived, which means possibly

professionally challenged. Certainly missing chances for inspiration on the job.

This classic contains a sweeping revelation of universal traditions of

"vernacular" architecture -- structures and spaces built by untutored hands in

"primitive" cultures, many now destroyed. Their images remain as amazing

testaments to ingenious answers to survival issues and creature comforts

in remote locales which, we see, have considerable sophistication.

Today's higher education for the design professions, focused on formal issues

of a few recent centuries, may have turned you away from study of remote cultures

in distant times, viewing vernacular as "inapplicable" in a high-tech world.

On the contrary, these places and structural events (including whole mountainsides)

demonstrate the significant human act of building with nature-given materials,

for human needs and use, with sensitivity to innately purposeful form,

without a thought about the disruptive gloss of fashion cycles.

Bernard Rudofsky was a brilliant iconoclast and innovator. As a restless architecture

student in Vienna in 1923, he cut loose to undertake a wanderjahr exploring distant

places and forgotten world cultures.
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