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The Function of Ornament Paperback – February 15, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book represents a return to architectural research as drawing. If it's a harbinger for 2007, I'm excited to see what else Actar and whoever else dares to draw can come up with. --Archinect

The Function of Ornament is a primer for the digital age, with Foreign Office Architects Farshid Moussavi demonstrating how the computer is as fine a form generator as any pattern book. --Wallpaper Magazine

-- A remarkable array of forms. --Metropolis Magazine

Undeniably powerful. -- Architect's Journal

A compelling study of affect manifest in clearly presented case studies with savy representations of various architectural techniques. --Documents

A thoroughly and beautifully illustrated book that gives a broad overview of the various affects achieved by mostly contemporary buildings. --Archidose

A thoroughly and beautifully illustrated book that gives a broad overview of the various affects achieved by mostly contemporary buildings. --Archidose

The impressive array of diagrams are extremely clear and useful... If you are looking for component and systems analysis of projects such as Future Systems' amorphous Selfridges Department Store or Herzog and de Meuron's embossed copper skin at the De Young Museum; look no further. --Death By Architecture

A thoroughly and beautifully illustrated book that gives a broad overview of the various affects achieved by mostly contemporary buildings. --Archidose

The impressive array of diagrams are extremely clear and useful... If you are looking for component and systems analysis of projects such as Future Systems' amorphous Selfridges Department Store or Herzog and de Meuron's embossed copper skin at the De Young Museum; look no further. --Death By Architecture

About the Author

Farshid Moussavi is Professor in Practice in the Department of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her London-based firm, Foreign Office Architects (FOA), is recognized as one of the most creative design firms in the world, deftly integrating architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture in their projects. They have produced numerous critically-acclaimed and award-winning international projects, most notably the Yokohama Ferry Terminal in Japan. Prior to establishing Foreign Office Architects (with Alejandro Zaera Polo) in London in 1992, she worked with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Genoa and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam. Michael Kubo is Teaching Associate in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the US Director of ACTAR. He graduated with an M.Arch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and with a B.A. in Architecture from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. With ACTAR, he is the editor of Desert America: Territory of Paradox (2006), Verb Conditioning (2005), Seattle Public Library (2005), Verb Connection and Verb Matters (2004), Phylogenesis: FOA's Ark (2003), and The Yokohama Project (2002). He previously collaborated with Rem Koolhaas and OMA / AMO as Associate Editor for the Harvard Guide to Shopping (2001), Great Leap Forward (2001), and Mutations (2000).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Actar (January 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8496540502
  • ISBN-13: 978-8496540507
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Emcee on May 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
In this graphic guide to building ornamentation in the twentieth century, Moussavi and Kubo have collected an interesting cross-section of architectural projects that demonstrate the mechanisms through which contemporary architecture connects itself to current culture.

Through the selected case study projects, the editors endeavor to illustrate the means through which ornamentation is the very essence of the building. Not being merely 'ornamental' and self-indulgent, the articulation presented is indeed the agent of the architect's ideas.

Various materials and effects are investigated ranging from 'dematerialized light' to 'relief patterns'. The impressive array of diagrams are extremely clear and useful. A typical system is defined through perspective views, sections, pattern diagrams, detailed assembly drawings and relevant notes.

If you are looking for component and systems analysis of projects such as Future Systems' amorphous Selfridges Department Store or Herzog and de Meuron's embossed copper skin at the De Young Museum; look no further.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By archiman on June 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a technical manual as a couple reviewers seems to wish, nor a survey of ornament in architecture. Nor does it ever claim to be such--reviewers should review a book not wish it was a different book. Instead it represents the results of graduate level research at Harvard Graduate School of Design into a revitalized understanding of the role of ornament in architecture and how one employs technical and material means to produce architecture effects and phenomena. As such the book is extremely clear, useful and elegantly designed and thoughtfully organized. Great for students and professional who want to think.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joong Won Lee on February 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I guess, to me at least, the title of the book is bit misleading,
it should be "how to make an interesting building skins"
Because this book provides ample examples of great building skins of
contemporary (some past) architecture.

Graphics, analysis, and categorization are the 3 strong points of the book.
Each example is analyzed in the order of following:

1. elements (typically material)
2. key design concept
3. organization and assembly of key building skin
4. overall effect

For example, for Laban Dance Center by Herzog de Meuron, three different
colors and glasses are introduced, how they are used according to the program
inside, how the glasses are put together as double-layer enclosure, and
the daytime/ nighttime effects are analyzed.

The book speaks with graphics, limiting the number of words used.
The graphics were painstakingly achieved. Really delivering the message
clearly and concisely. Hence, essence of the project concept is easily
graspable, yet, at the same time, being graphics, it leaves room for
subjective interpretation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AB on January 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after a fellow colleague recommended it to me and I must say it's become one of my favorite books because of its explicit and clear way of explaining the concepts of the buildings selected. All architecture books should be written this way. Farshid did a great job of validating her standpoint of ornament... A concept that has been re-defined in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles Crawfod on February 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Beautiful and useful; as a Professor of Architecture I will be recommending this volume to all of my students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fred de Ket on October 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An amazing book showing details on how to make several ornaments on your building with up-to-date examples.

Don't expect a theory novel, but a graphic and schematic summation of different design possibilities for ornamenting buildings.
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