- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 1, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140139966
- ISBN-13: 978-0140139969
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 67 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
All buildings are forced to adapt over time because of physical deterioration, changing surroundings and the life within--yet very few buildings adapt gracefully, according to Brand. Houses, he notes, respond to families' tastes, ideas, annoyance and growth; and institutional buildings change with expensive reluctance and delay; while commercial structures have to adapt quickly because of intense competitive pressures. Creator of The Whole Earth Catalog and founder of CoEvolution Quarterly (now Whole Earth Review ), Brand splices a conversational text with hundreds of extensively captioned photographs and drawings juxtaposing buildings that age well with those that age poorly. He buttresses his critique with insights gleaned from facilities managers, planners, preservationists, building historians and futurists. This informative, innovative handbook sets forth a strategy for constructing adaptive buildings that incorporates a conservationist approach to design, use of traditional materials, attention to local vernacular styles and budgeting to allow for continuous adjustment and maintenance.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Brand founder of The Whole Earth Catalog and CoEvolution Quarterly, launches a populist attack on rarefied architectural conventions. A hippy elder statesman (once one of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters), Brand argues that a building can ``grow'' and should be treated as a ``Darwinian mechanism,'' something that adapts over time to meet certain changing needs. His humanistic insights grew out of a university seminar he taught in 1988. Catchy anti- establishment phrases abound: ``Function reforms form, perpetually,'' or ``Form follows funding.'' Thomas Jefferson, a ``high road'' builder, is shown to have tinkered his Monticello into a masterpiece over a lifetime. Commercial structures, Brand says, are ``forever metamorphic,'' as a garage-turned-boutique demonstrates. Photo spreads with smart and chatty captions trace the evolutions of buildings as they adopt new ``skins.'' Pointedly, architects Sir Richard Rogers (designer of the Pompidou Centre in Paris) and I.M. Pei (the Wiesner Building, aka the Media Lab at MIT) are taken to task for designing monumental flops that deny occupants' needs. Later sections track the social meanings of preservationism and celebrate vernacular traditions worldwide (e.g., the Malay house of Malaysia; pueblo architecture; the 18th- century Cape Cod House). Brand also documents his own unique habitats. He lives with his wife in a converted tugboat and houses his library in a metal self-storage container. Here, as throughout, Brand's self-reliant voice rings true--that of an engaging, intellectual crank. Brand makes a case for letting people shape their own environments. His crunchy-granola insights bristle with an undeniable pragmatism. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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This book is primarily synthetic in its focus. There aren't any brand-new ideas here, but there are many powerful methods and ways of thinking from other disciplines that Brand has brought to bear on the problem of making buildings that stand the test of time. Those whose backgrounds are not as diverse as Brand's (and whose is, really?), will be exposed to many unconventional ways of thinking about buildings. The reader will come away with a powerful sense of possibility and a deeper understanding of the built environment.
Whether you're an expert or simply have an interest in the structures we build around ourselves, you'll find much to admire in this thought-provoking exploration of buildings through time. It's every bit as relevant and ground-breaking today as it was when it was published.
This book has opened my eyes to many hidden realities about home building.
I am soon starting a bungalow at my farm,I am glad to be reading this book.
All new home builders should read this book before taking on a major construction project.
While highly specialized rooms such as auditoria do not usually lend themselves to significant modification over time, or to strategies such as "loose fit," Brand's advice about the risk of architectural experimentation in the fundamental form of most buildings is spot on. This book is an extremely engaging read, and also serves as an excellent introduction to other key literature on architectural programming, scenario planning, the evolution of the architectural profession, and so forth.
As other reviewers have suggested, anyone who lives or works in a building can profit from reading this book. I would add that anyone who works in the construction or facility management industries, or who expects to be involved in planning a building project from the perspective of the owner or user, has a duty to seek out the sort of education that this book provides.