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Subnature: Architecture's Other Environments 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1568987774
ISBN-10: 1568987773
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gissen defines subnatures as conditions within our cities that are often deemed filthy, fearsome, and uncontrollable. He defines 12 subnatures in three categories: Atmospheres include dankness, smoke, gas, and exhaust; Matter contains dust, puddles, mud, and debris; and Life includes weeds, insects, pigeons, and crowds. For each subnature Gissen traces the changing historical views, looks at the current attitudes towards it, and presents contemporary projects that question and consider alternatives for incorporating the subnature into architectural design. In some cases the views over time have done a complete 180, pointing to the way nature is defined socially, not objectively or scientifically. Not surprisingly the projects are today's avant-garde, mostly hypothetical, research-based, installations, or unrealized. They are examples of how Gissen's path of exploration is not unprecedented; it is tapping into more widespread reconsiderations of today's fairly uncritical acceptance of sustainability." --Archidose

"The exhilarating and at times unsettling work featured in Subnature suggests an alternative view of natural processes and ecosystems and their relationships to human society and architecture." --One Half of the Worlds Population, Approximately 3 Billion People on Six Continents, Lives or Works in Buildings Constructed of Earth

"Another book that engaged me on my hiatus from blogging is one I picked up on somewhat of a whim as it looked like a fascinating read. I wasn't disappointed, as 'Subnature: Architecture's Other Environments' by David Gissen, quickly became impossible to put down. The reason? It really tackles some interesting terrain that is definitely at the fringes of architecture and landscape, which typically addresses the realms purity and order, whether in terms of materials or the messy nature in cities." --Landscape and Urbanism

"Just the idea of exploring the design implications of Atmospheres include dankness, smoke, gas, and exhaust; Matter contains dust, puddles, mud, and debris; and Life includes weeds, insects, pigeons, and crowds gets me salivating. I've yet to read this, but Gissen seems to have tapped into the world of Dross, rust, derive and other relevant under-appreciated aspects of our material culture." --Archinect

"In Subnature, David Gissen, author of our critically acclaimed Big and Green, examines experimental work by today's leading designers, scholars, philosophers, and biologists that rejects the idea that humans can somehow recreate a purely natural world, free of the untidy elements that actually constitute nature." --Dexigner

"In his book Subnature, the architectural historian David Gissenprovides an etymological history of debris as it pertains to our perception of ruins." --TripleCanopy

"There is little point in me repeating what David Gissen has put so beautifully and engaging in print. This is simply a must read, if you are prepared to take the plunge and be prepared to see the world, and definitely your work, with different eyes." --UrbanTick

"...a clear, well-structured analysis." --archinnovations

"As the title suggests, however, Gissen's contention is that these forms not only advance more novel relations but deserve their own distinction from `nature.' He claims that while these alternative forms are not separate from nature, they are perceived to fall beneath the strata of normative nature. To arrive at this new definition, he extends the metaphysical idea that if the supernatural world exists above humankind, the subnatural world must lurk below." --Yale Architecture Magazine

About the Author

David Gissen is the former curator of architecture at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. He is an assistant professor of architecture at the California College of the Arts and the author of Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (October 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568987773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568987774
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Yves Ghiai-chamlou on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Professor Gissen's Subnature may at first seem to be an in depth study of matter such as pollution, mud or debris. Not so in my opinion. This book is also about uncovering the intagible and invisible nature of history. An experimental history whereby events in the past may help us reshape the future.
An extraordinary and poetic journey in which the immanence of matter becomes a phenomenological vehicule for dreaming new creations.
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By luca on March 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Impressed by the writers choice of topic and his casual writing approach. inspiring to read and i look forward to more form the same writer.
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