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Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism Paperback – October 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolis Books (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933045787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933045788
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This is the Barack Obama of books. It tells a story about the change we need in the fields of architecture and urban design, professions that have lost their way, easily seduced by wealthy clients. And much like the presidential Democrat, this book of slightly radical ideas is attractively packaged in a way that can't be easily dismissed. Editors Bryan Bell and Katie Wakeford have compiled 30 essays by leading architects and designers across the U.S. - all accompanied by gorgeous photography. Each focuses on issues of social justice and design, and most succeed in making a compelling case for architects, urban planners and landscape designers to stop whatever they're doing and begin working for the greater public good...The authors' earnest and passionate voices come through in almost every paragraph, making this book a heartfelt journey as much as an educational one."

- Matthew Blackett, AZURE Magazine --AZURE Magazine November/December 2008


"...This visually rich book, (published by Metropolis Books) is an inspiring read for anyone, but its clear and instructive descriptions also make it a reference book of sorts for those interested in acting through architecture...

This book presents diverse examples of architectural projects directed towards the greater public good, in stories told from the perspectives of the architects. The stories aren't about the individuals themselves, but about their experiences. As they discuss projects that range from a public transit shelter in a disadvantaged neighborhood to new dwellings in a rural part of Taiwan, each designer describes the design process, challenges they faced and the proposed solutions...

Expanding Architecture is arranged into eight chapters of various topics that allow designers of all interests to relate. As a professional designer, I found it easy to be inspired by a project. What I found extremely helpful was that this book offered guidance on how to proceed with projects in a similar way to those described, showing me exactly how I could make a difference myself. The architects profiled discuss their processes step by step, telling what worked and the actions they took. It's wonderful to have a collection of stories that so strongly makes this point, by showing the broad array of projects that are already making a difference, and hopefully inspiring more like them in the future.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By map on December 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm about half-way through this book and am already amazed at all the ways designers have made a difference in their local communities, and beyond. Because a range of projects, small to large, have been included it is even more inspiring to be able to imagine how one person with a good idea and the energy to implement it could have a big impact. I think that even those outside the design profession would find that some of the included projects could serve as a model for how other professions can make similar contributions. I've had other people who are not designers pick up my book and start flipping through and ask if they can read it when I finish. I can't wait to read the rest and pass it on!
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Format: Paperback
Expanding Architecture Design as Activism collects thirty in-depth essays about the concept of "public-interest architecture", that is, building designs created explicitly with the benefit of the public in mind. Illustrated with full-color photography on virtually every page, individual essays discuss examples ranging from building housing or water systems to best serve the needs of a refugee population, to participatory planning in a Taiwanese mountain village that transforms an abandoned creek into swimming ponds for the village's future, to exploring different ways to create strong designs with minimal environmental impact, all at a reasonable profit. Enthusiastically recommended to anyone with a serious interest in expanding the humanitarian role of modern architecture, from professionals in the field to any concerned citizen voting on city planning projects.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Weisbord on October 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is filled with examples of good designs that redefine architectural resources. I am challenged to share architectural ways of thinking and space making in my own town. This book shows how good design can improve the way we work and live together!
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