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Atlas of Novel Tectonics Paperback – February 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1568985541 ISBN-10: 1568985541 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568985541
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568985541
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Any book that starts with an essay on 'The Judo of Cold Combustion' deserves a place on our summer reading list. The authors offer reflections on matter and force, material science, art and architectural history, and the interrelationship of architecture and culture. -- Architect Magazine, July 2007

Reiser and Umemoto are deep and original thinkers and I look forward to a renaissance in their work that fully reflects the wealth of clear ideas that populate this text. -- The Architectural Review, October 2006

This cerebral little manual probes some of the more esoteric aspects of architecture in pursuit of novel approaches to design -- Metropolis, June 2006

This is a book that swims courageously against the tide... it reclaims the autonomy of theoretical discourse in relation to built architecture. That alone makes it an event... Atlas of Novel Tectonics is nothing if not a fascinating collection of finely wrought conceptual miniatures. Most are of Borgesian brevity (or shorter), and there are gems among them. My favourite is the tale of the 'devolved' glass nose of the Heinkel III bomber. -- AA Files, July 2007

About the Author

Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto are the founding partners of Reiser+Umemoto RUR Architecture PC, an internationally recognized architectural firm based in New York City. Their work encompasses a wide range of scales, from furniture design to landscape and infrastructure.

More About the Author

RUR Architecture PC is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary architectural design firm that has built projects at a wide range of scales: from furniture design, to residential and commercial structures, up to the scale of landscape, urban design, and infrastructure.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 44 people found the following review helpful By El Greco on June 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book gets lots of play right now in (big "A") Architecture schools. I'm a firm believer that if your thoughts are clear, your writing is clear. This book embarks on many dialectical examples that are explained with too much "difficult writing" for its own good. Grad students of the world, beware the three DDDs that inspire some of this writing: Deleuze, Derrida and Delanda. They plow enormous fields in complicated patterns and only yield a kernel or two. Ironically, I admire Reiser + Umemoto as architects and am looking forward to a book on their more recent work.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sub-Kontinental on May 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once you sift through the esoteric jargon you'll find that the underlying "big idea" of Atlas is a bit...well, narrow-minded. It relegates the architect to the *singular* role of funny shape maker. Philosophically speaking, I'm not so down with it.

That doesn't mean Atlas isn't worthwhile however. If formalism is your bag, there's plenty of potential to tap. Certainly, it's not an easy read, nor are all of the concepts as profound as RUR would like to think, but there's definitely some provocative ideas contained therein:

"But we have other ambitions for this vitality, which now must enter and find expression in the fabric of matter itself. Let's be clear: it is not the vulgar misconception that architecture must be literally animate...but its substance, its scale, its transitions and measurement will be marked by the dilations and contractions of the energy field."

As is the case with most contemporary architectural theory, you have to do a lot of digging, re-reading and source-referencing to understand the ideas. The prose can be just as high-brow and sanctimonious as the decon philosophers that influenced it (Derrida, for instance). Complex as they may seem, the ideas embedded can be quite provocative not in a life-changing way, but more in a "novel" sort of way.

If you're into form or just want to stay up on theory, then I'd buy it.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lohr E. Miller on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
An unxpectedly fine book on architectural theory that's rooted not in politics or aesthetics or lit-crit theory, but in the worlds of physics and engineering-- a look at architecture and architectural possibilities based on the sinews of buildings rather than the ideology of architects. I'm an historian by training, and an aficionado of architecture and design theory. Reiser + Umemoto have created a small book that offers a view of postmodern architecture seen through the lens of the physically possible. Anyone who wants to imagine new cities and new styles of building needs to consider the sheer physical constraints of design, and this book is a fine place to start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Thomas on December 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume renders a comprehensive exploration and analysis of the forces (both sentient and unwitting) that influence the construct of architecture and contemporary design. Thoughtfully organized, elegantly illustrated, - an excellent addition to any designer's library.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Gavilanes on June 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
After sifting through the book, I bought it (nice illustrations, good ideas). Then I tried reading it to find it unreadable. The language is unnecessarily complex and convoluted. It makes references to all sorts of esoteric and difficult texts from science and philosophy. I am afraid what makes for a politically correct list of references in certain circles, is just a pretentious and shallow disguise to coat the text with an aura of science, philosophical depth of thought, and innovation (novelty). In the end it is just ovecomplicating what is not that radical. While I appreciate a careful/thoughtful approach at articulating the concepts and their significance, there is so much you can attach to a (simple) form. I am not kidding- you should see/read the way astrophysical or biomolecular terms and concepts are used and asserted without the healthy skepricism of true knowledge, I doubt a physicist would throw around such terms so easily. I would suggest to look at the pictures, and explore the terminology for naming the diagrammed ideas, but reading the text for me eroded the validity of the ideas because their origins and significance are exagerated to verge on the ridiculous and dellusional self importance. The ideas can be useful for students and design professionals. Paradoxically it bears a striking resemblance to it's theoretical antithesis- the Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander. Like the Pattern Language ignore the philosophical pretense, use the information for it's practical implementation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My grad student roomy was reading this book and I asked to borrow it. After just reading a few chapters I can tell this will greatly help my understanding in my architecture studio and tectonics.
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By Alex on February 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Highly recommended for those architects who seek to dig deep into the matter of design. In this case, a more fundamental way of thinking about design and thinking itself. Conceptual underpinnings are analyzed in a clear and systematic way, which is very rare in the field of architecture. The abstract concepts become clearer as you go through the book. What is great about this book is the use of diagrams. There are faults and some problems but, this book does contribute to the discourse of architecture through its reformulating what architects and thinkers have learned for the past 20 years (more or less) into a easier-to-digest format. An admirable and respectable work on multiple levels.
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