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Patterns of Home: The Ten Essentials of Enduring Design Paperback – October 4, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Coauthors (along with several other writers) of the landmark design guide A Pattern Language, Jacobson and Silverstein join with their architectural partner, Winslow, to further simplify building design by distilling the principles they previously set forth as ten essentials for residential homes. These fundamentals cover such subjects as making the best use of light; keeping all parts of the house from windows to walls to rooms in proportion; and including "in-between" places like porches, window seats, alcoves and sunrooms in the design of the home. Some of their concepts are fairly abstract; for example, they suggest imagining the home as not just a building but a "site" that contains both indoor and outdoor rooms, and they counsel readers to "let the overall form of the house grow naturally out of the forms of its various parts, rather than being superimposed from the outside." These theories are complemented by more concrete advice about how to measure out a human-sized room, balance private and common spaces and much more. The authors include diagrams and color photographs of 33 actual homes with detailed explanatory captions. While it is aimed predominately at professional designers, this guide is useful for anyone contemplating a new home or making renovations to an existing one; certainly it will change the way readers think about the architectural spaces around them.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Why are some houses such a pleasure to visit or inhabit? This spin-off from A Pattern Language, which has been a design resource for decades, successfully answers that question. California architects Jacobson and Murray Silverstein helped coauthor A Pattern Language, and with partner Barbara Winslow they have chosen ten principles or patterns of house design that they consider most important (and which serve as chapter heads): "Inhabiting the Site," "Creating Rooms," "Sheltering Roof," "Capturing Light," "Parts in Proportion," "Flow Through Rooms," "Private Edges, Common Core," "Refuge and Outlook," "Places in Between," and "Composing with Materials." Each pattern is illustrated with sketches and photographs, as the authors provide beautiful examples of 33 homes by various U.S. architects or designers, mostly in the western United States. The well-organized text and layout combine with the 410 outstanding color photographs and 155 black-and-white illustrations to help the reader visualize these patterns in practice. Highly recommended for public libraries and libraries supporting architecture courses.
David R. Conn, Surrey P.L., BC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; Reprint edition (September 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156158696X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561586967
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Max Jacobson (1941 - currently alive and well) was born in Houston, raised in Denver, and received his first degrees in engineering from Boulder and Berkeley. After a couple of years working as an engineer, he returned to Berkeley to study architecture, receiving a PhD in architecture in 1975. During this period he contributed as a co-author to the book "A Pattern Language", 1977.

A licensed architect in California, he co-founded the Berkeley architectural firm JSWD in 1975 (, and with his partners wrote "The Good House" (1990), and "Patterns of Home" (2005). His most recent book is "Invitation to Architecture", available in April, 2014, co-written with Shelley Brock.

Married to Helen Degenhardt, practicing architecture for 35 years with his partners, co-authoring all his publications, learning from his architecture students in community college, he really does nothing on his own!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 121 people found the following review helpful By K. Parsons on December 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Patterns of Home" simply is a wonderful book. It contains some of the most beautiful residences anywhere, gorgeously photographed and described. The book also makes a lot of sense. In a time when so many "design" books are self-serving treatises on a particular style or philosophy, "Patterns of Home" steers clear of jargon and techno-babble. The book delivers ten distinct, yet complementary studies (patterns) that serve to wonderfully illustrate how a house can truly be a home. I am an architect in private practice and I design several custom homes or estates per year along with my commercial, institutional and other commissions. While this in no way makes me an expert, it does allow me to highly recommend this book to those seeking to improve the livability of their home, or design meaning into a home. Even if one is not involved in, or contemplating such a project, this book is a great source of ideas and... well, it has a great deal of tremendous pictures!
I am heartened to see Jacobson, Silverstein and Winslow put forth such an accessible, readable and pleasant book on a subject that has been dangerously worn out recently. The material in "Patterns of Home" is not necessarily new, but the presentation of it in such a thoughtful manner is valuable and meaningful. The arrangement of the material is logical, starting with site planning, spatial relationships, and the basics of shelter, light and proportion. The transition into feeling, perception and texture is seamless and rewarding to experience.
The chapter (pattern) on "Refuge and Outlook" addresses a concept dear to my heart. My own home high in the Southern California mountains embodies much of this concept.
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Peter H on January 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I treasure "Pattern Language", the book, and was excited to see this followup.The premise of looking back at the patterns and reducing them to a few (10) "super" patterns sounded promising.The charm of the original"Pattern Language" book lay in its quirky drawings, and its reliance on the reader to reflect on any personal experiences with the particular pattern being discussed. The lack of glossy photos gave substance to concepts. The new book follows in the footsteps of the "Not so big house" books method of discussing concepts while surrounded by photos. Undoubtedly, the success of those books gave rise to the structure of this one. I find drawings infinitely more communicative of design concepts than photos. The photos here distract the eye, making it harder to focus on the principle being espoused.The authors walk you thru certain homes or rooms which supposedly illustrate the concept at hand. I found the process sort of phony and aggrandizing of the architect's vision. Hello, but the point/power of "patterns" is that they are time-tested,non- regional, gut-level design parameters not requiring architectural vision. The, after the fact, microanalysis of houses to make their every aspect seem utterly preconceived by the genius architect is sophomoric. Again, the power of these patterns is that if you put them "in play", good things, especially unforseen things, happen. Predictably. Hopefully, this book, along with the "Not so big house" books will inform the house buying/building community of design realities routinely ignored.
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109 of 120 people found the following review helpful By TheSongsofDistantEarth on February 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a HUGE fan of 'A Pattern Language', and found this book in the local library. It took me a while to realize that this book is a far cry from its predecessor. I found the patterns themselves interesting, but over-distilled from the quirky things that made 'Pattern Language' so wonderful...that book is full of the HUMANITY of places that people can create, and the effects on how places feel to us, how we interact, and how we live our lives in the context of these places.
My big problem with this book is with the photographs. I actually had a hard time seeing and feeling the point of the patterns. These are all, for the most part, big, expensive architect showcase homes of the west coast. How about showing these patterns in more modest or 'hand made' type houses? How about showing some of these patterns in desert homes, or old european homes? Homes in Mexico or in Greece? How about the patterns shown in other world homes? All these homes are fancy and's ok to show some of those of course, but if the book is about PATTERNS, then the best illustration of a PATTERN is to show it in a wide variety of disparate settings.
This book, which I sat down to relish, was actually dull. It didn't stir my imagination and get the desire flowing the way 'Pattern Language' did. It's probably worth a look, but do as I did and request it from your library, and read it. Then decide if you really want it. I didn't.
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Gilbert S. Perreira on September 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Skip this book. Instead get "A Pattern Language" which is the quintessential work of Christopher Alexander. Alexander is the real genius behind the "Patterns" of this book. There is almost nothing new in this book "Patterns of Home."
In the late 1960's and 1970's Alexander and his group (including two of these authors), formed the Institute of Environmental Structure in Berkeley, California. Alexander was clearly the spiritual and intellectual leader of this effort. "A Pattern Language" is a compilation of that thorough effort. Alexander et al's book remains the most important treatise ever on the subject of Architecture. It disseminates a clear and concise identification of basic patterns that make a house a home, for example, pattern 115 of 253 - Courtyards that Live. In addition, "A Pattern Language" is written for us, in the hope that "we the people" can use the patterns to guide the development of wonderful homes and communities. Alexander's book is accessible to all of us.
These co-author's of Alexander's great book include two of the authors of "Patterns of Home." These guys are sidekicks and it shows. For example, in the forward to this book, they acknowledge working on this book part-time while engaging in a full-time architectural practice. They didn't put a life-force effort into this book, although it appears the photographers did. The illustrations and photographs are almost exclusively of high end giant homes in the price range of $300 to $500 and up per square foot! The vast majority of people do and will live in homes built to a budget of $100 psf or less. In short, this is a picture book for coffee tables that shows what an architect can do with an open-ended budget.
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