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A New Look at Humanism: In Architecture, Landscapes, and Urban Design Hardcover – June 1, 2016
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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About the Author
Albrecht Pichler is a practicing architect and a principal at Hart Howerton in New York. He is a native of Austria, was educated at the University of Graz, and spent his early years with Marcel Breuer, one of the pioneering architects of the 20th century.
- Item Weight : 2 pounds
- Hardcover : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1938010043
- ISBN-13 : 978-1938010040
- Publisher : ORO Editions (June 1, 2016)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,833,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Then, last week, I discovered this book. It pulls together that growing understanding of nature and human nature into a concise, practical up-date of contemporary design practice. It takes a fresh look at a science-based “humanism,” as a new kind of organizing perspective for designers – one that can continually incorporate the changing insights.
The view is broad one, encompassing ecology and the evolutionary sciences, as well as the dramatic advances in the neurosciences. It also addresses architecture and landscapes and urban places as well as the people within them – the complete environment that we actually experience.
Just as important, the book has been designed to be easy to read. The illustrations are superb and, as a practicing architect, he writes in the informal language of a design office and the vocabulary of their client meetings. So it’s clear and ready to apply in practice.
This book starts by claiming to value humanity, then explores it through an evolutionary lens, and then concludes that what's valuable about humanity is it's most basic instincts for survival. This lands the book in a Hobbesian dystopia where the ethical thing to do is to steal a fortune and then hire an architect to build you an elegant fortress in the exurbs.
What's nice about this book is the way it meanders through facets of a number of beautiful structures. This book would have gotten more stars from me if it had focused more on the little details that help structures succeed and less on the author's limited view of humanity.
A New Look is brimming with diverse sources of information - research reaped by an insatiable mind. Interwoven with this information are Hart’s own revelations and insights from his years of experience. There are gems that I’d like to metaphorically needlepoint on pillows, keeping at my fingertips the prescience and the spark of truth:
“The pleasures in finding prospects - and refuges - are embedded in our rich design vocabularies.”
“We enjoy sensing qualities that resemble healthy skin - taut or soft, fine-grained, unblemished. . .”
“The craftsmanship seems to invite close contact, as we imagine ourselves engaged in the intricate work.”
Hart is as much a student of human psyche as of the world’s best architecture. He explores our connections and our desires to connect, our hope to be transported and our need to make sense of our surroundings, our pride in owning or bonding to a place of excellence and our appreciation of the charm of plain utility.
I read this book as a student of Architecture and Interior Design. Incorporating humanism in design is imperative. Moving forward we have to design within the parameters of the limits of the earth’s precious resources. Innovators are pushing for more responsible building methods and materials. Hart asks that architects and landscape architects push forward with their own investigations in humanism.
I hate to see architecture that, in its attempt to be innovative and new, has no sense of soul or warmth. I watch new condominiums sprouting up around San Francisco and wonder that they have to look so cold and overbearing. We need the housing without a doubt, but that doesn’t require turning our backs on artistry. Maybe as Hart suggests, we need to work as hard at understanding human nature and human connections as we do at innovative new technology. (Perhaps the SF planning department can require A New Look at Humanism as a part of the permit process. . . .)
As a student I expected to read about more answers than questions and points of consideration. And as an older student coming from a background of physiology and movement, much of the physical information was redundant. I know about sight and proprioception already - I want to know more about design.
The book is dense and packed with information. I found it best to read in bursts, to let the information sink in and to ruminate a bit. I will certainly refer to it in future projects. Read this book not as a How To, but to remind you of what you probably know; to remind you that designers have a profound responsibility to to the human experience of their creations.