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

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; Anv edition (March 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597261416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597261418
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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By Lisa A. Jones on April 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Van der Ryn writes a good book, slightly dated... Some issues are complex but this is a good read for design professionals or any persons with influence in that field.
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