- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press (August 6, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262014610
- ISBN-13: 978-0262014618
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice (MIT Press)
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"This down-to-earth critique of the profession is important for the future of architecture . . ." - Charles Holland, RIBA Journal
This book is highly unusual for an architecture opus: it is well written, it is funny, and it is wise in so many ways. I literally 'couldn't put it down,' as the old book review-saw goes, and read it in one sitting...Cesal finds useful parables for architects and their predicament in the most unusual places: the relationship of bartenders to bar owners, how prostitutes are and are not like architects, and how a good architect is like a fire extinguisher...Cesal offers a unique, refreshing take on the profession.(Michael Crosbie Architectural Record)
Down Detour Road is an essential roadmap to the present architectural scene and the challenges that it faces. With a tragicomic eye, Eric Cesal exposes the hubris that has led so much architectural education and practice into an impotent cul-de-sac, and succinctly presents a pragmatic and hopeful way out.(Jeremy Till, Dean of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster, and author of Architecture Depends)
This manifesto-memoir comes none too soon to rescue Architecture from the trash bin of postmodernism. Lucid, intelligent, and visionary, this small book is destined to become a guide for 21st century architects. Cesal reconnects his profession to the humanities from which it is becoming estranged, and to the economy, culture, and technology of an America radically different from the one built by previous generations. This tract cuts the knot of the confounding jumble all humanities and academic disciplines face, with the swift blade of an Emerson or de Tocqueville. And let me tell you: a real human being wrote this, he breathes warmly from every page.(Andrei Codrescu, author of The Poetry Lesson)
About the Author
Eric J. Cesal holds master's degrees in business administration, construction management, and architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. He is now living in Port-au-Prince, managing and coordinating Architecture for Humanity's design and reconstruction initiatives in Haiti.
Top customer reviews
I came across the book completely by chance. I was wandering the shelves at the local national-chain bookstore and, as I often do, came upon their steadily shrinking selection of architecture books. Having perused most of the titles in the past, it didn't take me long to spot the handful of new titles that had arrived since my last visit. Among them was Down Detour Road. I spent a few minutes reading the introduction. Here in my hand was this book that immediately struck me. The author was writing about issues that plague my mind. It makes sense. He graduated from architecture school five months before I did, so he was stumbling through the same economic minefield as I was. He was also older than the average architecture graduate, much like myself. I felt I had found a kindred spirit. It seemed the book held a world of possibility. So naturally I put it back on the shelf and walked away. I don't have a job, nor the steady supply of money that comes from such an endeavor. So I waited until I got home to order it online.
The book does a wonderful job of explaining how the economic crisis happened, how it affected architecture, and how it highlighted a litany of problems that already existed. From the rubble it works to help refocus what it is to be an architect and how we might empower the role of architecture for the good of the profession. With a wonderful combination of comedy, tragedy, and personal anecdote, this book gives a direction for the role of architecture without suggesting it's form or aesthetics. It is a manifesto for the service that is architecture rather than the product often called architecture. This may be a bold statement, but I think any and every architect and architecture student out there should read this book. Read this book, you won't be sorry.
Jack E. Andersen, AIA
The author does an excellent job of laying out the current terrain of the profession, and provides insight into the recovery of the profession.