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Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World: An Investigation into the Evolutionary Roots of Form and Order in the Built Environment Paperback – January 1, 1997

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0262531467 ISBN-10: 0262531461 Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews


Everyone who builds or hopes to build in our cities and countryside needs to know what this book has to say. Its merging of insights from history, anthropology, and architecture provides a timely antidote to the prevailing inhumane practices that have put the continuity of our urban civilization in peril.

(Carroll William Westfall, Professor of Architectural History, University of Virginia)

Give the way all too much 'architectural discourse' today uses architecture only as an occasion for an esoteric language-game that, while it would locate itself somewhere between architecture and philosophy is responsible to neither, Crowe's broadly anthropological inquiry into Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World impresses one with its commitment to clarity and responsibility. Crowe invites us to look at the built environment as 'a kind of nature unto itself,' but also to consider the way this second nature threatens de-sensitize us to nature, including our own. Crowe would recall us to Aristotle's understanding of the city as a place for 'the good life,' where such concerns intersect with the comparatively invariant needs traditionally addressed by architecture and a thoughtful consideration of technology and the strain it has placed on the environment. The much-discussed threat to the ecosystem and the deepening problems of the city makes this a timely book that deserves a wide audience.

(Karsten Harries, Yale University)

Norman Crowe seeks the wonderment of a cooperation between thenatural and the man-made world, and he does so with the hand of anexcellent writer. As a professor and teacher of architecture, hehas reached out well beyond most of his colleagues to understand the history and ideas governing the current state of architecture's relation to nature.

(Kent Bloomer, Yale University)

Norman Crowe offers a plausible set of interpretations of the nature of the world that humankind has already built, as well as useful guidance on how we might build better in the future than we are doing now. In contrast with many conventional books that deal with the architecture of the past, he teaches us to see buildings not just as facade patterns and spaces, but also as experiences, feelings, symbols, manmade landscapes, places. This is enormously important.

(Edward Allen, architect)

About the Author

Norman Crowe is past Director of Graduate Studies in Architecture at the university of Notre Dame, where he has been teaching and practising architecture since 1974.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262531461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262531467
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,059,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
Nature and the Idea of a Man Made World describes the origins of a built environment and its relatonship with nature. Norman Crowe explains how our early ancestors used nature as a precedent in creating the earliest forms of architecture. As technology evolved over the centuries, architecture and urban planning lost the relationship with nature that allowed it to exist. Crowe gives concise examples of how people experience their environment and the buildings around them that that offers valuable lessons to an everyday reader or a professional architect. The text itself is not overburdened with technical terms, and the many illustrations help prove crucial points. The final product is an easy reading, informative, and enjoyable book explaining our place in the world.
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Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World: An Investigation into the Evolutionary Roots of Form and Order in the Built Environment
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