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Ecological Design, Tenth Anniversary Edition Paperback – March 28, 2007

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1597261418 ISBN-10: 1597261416 Edition: Anv

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Ecological Design, Tenth Anniversary Edition + The Ecology of Place: Planning for Environment, Economy, and Community + Green Urbanism: Learning From European Cities
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The publication of Ecological Design was a seminal moment for the green building movement, and the book remains one of our most valuable and relevant texts today. Sim Van der Ryn is one of the fathers of sustainable design, but his work transcends time; together with Stuart Cowan, he has written a work that will inspire and inform us for years to come."
(S. Richard Fedrizzi President, CEO and Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council)

"A bench-mark pioneering work, that remains vitally relevant today, after a decade of influencing the ecodesign community, and now with new ideas and a critical assessment of the sustainability status quo."
(Dr. Ken Yeang architect and planner, Llewelyn Davies Yeang, UK)

"The fundamental ideas at work here—conserving resources, designing with nature, making people responsible for their own shit (literally)—undoubtedly deserve consideration."
(Metropolis Magazine)

About the Author

Sim Van der Ryn is professor emeritus in the Department of Architecture at the University of California - Berkeley and founder and principal of Sim Van der Ryn + Associates, an architectural firm specializing in ecological design. Stuart Cowan is a general partner of Autopoiesis LLC in Portland, Oregon, which offers design, development, and finance services internationally for large-scale sustainability projects. He recently served as research director at Ecotrust.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; Anv edition (March 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597261416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597261418
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sim Van der Ryn has been a teacher, writer, researcher, and practitioner of design for forty years. A leading authority on ecologically sustainable architecture and design, he is Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1961. As California's State Architect in the 1970s, he initiated landmark programs in energy-efficient building and environmentally appropriate technologies. His innovative designs for homes, sustainable communities, retreat centers, schools, and commercial buildings have received many awards and been widely published.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By James Ferguson VINE VOICE on February 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A new benchmark in ecological awareness. Sym van der Ryn has long been practicing ecological design, and draws on his wealth of experience to give readers many valuable insights into this growing practice. Van der Ryn warns readers to separate the wheat from the chaff as there are many persons claiming to be toeing the line when it comes to sustainable design, but few are actually doing it. What is needed is a whole new approach to eco-friendly architecture and planning development, not just more band-aids.
The book takes a fairly general approach but there are numerous references for those really interested in pursuing the subject in more depth. He outlines his principles of ecological design which begins with gaining a better awareness of your locality, by looking into the ecological history of your community. Who knows your street may be where a stream once flowed, and that your storm drain in all likelihood flows into your water source, so be careful what you dump into it!
Van der Ryn avoids the cliches and pieces together a compelling set of anecdotes and observations which will open you up the broad field of possibilities. The book is well researched and written, with the valuable assistance of Stuart Cowan, a former student of van der Ryn. It is imperative that we gain a better appreciation of our natural environment before adding any more to our built environment. Sustainable design is our only future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TXMahaRaj on January 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I must admit that I didn't read this book as thoroughly as I thought I would, but part of the reason for that is that the content was not exactly what I expected it to be. I was hoping for more examples and illustrations of ecological designs around the world, whereas this book was more informational.

I breezed through the first part, which was an overview and introduction to ecological design, which as you can imagine, is finding ways for us to live while minimizing our impact on the world around us. I didn't care much for the history lesson, either.

The five principles:

1. Solutions grow from place: understanding the unique environment before building leads to innovative designs that take advantage of local nuances

2. Accounting informs design: just like the economic accounting that businesses undertake, ecological accounting should be done to account for the impact of all aspects of building - from the amount of energy required to obtain and transport materials to the impact of the design on nearby ecosystems

3. Design with nature - just as nature breaks down materials to be used by another organism, so too should our designs mimic natural processes to minimize our impact

4. Everyone is a designer - ideas form out of necessity, so don't look to just traditional sources for inspiration

5. Make nature visible - too often we forget about what all goes into our existence because we don't see it (the pipes that bring us water, the wind blocked by the windows our our buildings, etc.)

The list of references at the end of the book is decent. Overall, the book introduces interesting ideas but perhaps not enough concrete examples (which may not have been the authors' intent)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ja Ja on September 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Worth reading, but it might not make it through my next bookshelf thinning. It has two particularly good points: the 5 principles, and the hilarious wording for the opposite of ecological design. My main complaint applies to many of the books and articles on this subject. I'd like a little less cheerleading, and a little more technical direction. Most of the world probably still needs the cheerleading.
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It sort of gets me that a lot of permaculture designers and other ecological designers whether that be in hydrology, LA, whatever, don't know of this work or just sort of pass over it. It's short, sweet, and nails home the very basic and fundamental principles that inform an ecological design process and practice. This book deserves a lot more attention, especially from permaculturists who seems to believe Bill Mollison invented all of the thoughts he popularized.

I come back to this almost annually. This is one of those works that has little details that only come out after multiple passes.
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By Erik Garcia on November 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sim is a beacon of light in an industry that is fogged over. He embraces that all issues should be discussed & planned for before building are built. Too many times projects are visions of a person with deep pockets & they lose out on the basic core issues.
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