DE sign:
(Deconstructing in-order to find new meanings)

A blogging space about my personal interests; was made during training in Stockholm #Young Leaders Visitors Program #Ylvp08 it developed into a social bookmarking blog.

I studied #Architecture; interested in #Design #Art #Education #Urban Design #Digital-media #social-media #Inhabited-Environments #Contemporary-Cultures #experimentation #networking #sustainability & more =)

Please Enjoy, feedback recommended.

p.s. sharing is usually out of interest not Blind praise.
This is neither sacred nor political.

Sunday, September 7

Free Ways to Learn about #Architecture

Learning doesn't necessarily need to be formal – or expensive for that matter. Thanks to the Internet and some generous benefactors, you can further your education for free from the comfort of your own home. Top schools such as MIT and Harvard University are affiliated with free online learning resources, allowing people from all over the globe to connect and audit courses at their own pace. In some cases, these services even provide self-educators with proof for having completed courses. Keep reading after the break to check out our round-up of four free online learning resources.
In 2003, MIT officially launched OpenCourseWare – an online platform through which absolutely anyone can access the same course content as paying students – for free. The architecture section boasts over 100 undergraduate and graduate level courses, complete with downloadable lecture notes, assignments, reading lists, and in many cases, examples of past student work. Even though you won’t receive feedback from professors or certification for completing coursework, having free access to the oldest architecture department in the United States’ teachings is nevertheless an amazing resource. Below are two of the MIT OpenCourseWare architecture courses, described.
  • Architectural Construction and Computation is for students interested in how computers can facilitate design and construction. The course begins with a pre-prepared computer model, which is used for testing and investigating the construction process. The construction process is explored in terms of detail design and structural design, taking legal and computational issues into consideration.
  • Theory of City Form is one of the handful of architecture courses offered in audio and video format through MIT OpenCourseWare. The title is pretty self-explanatory – the course presents students with historical and modern theories of city form along with appropriate case studies, helping them build an understanding of urbanism and architecture for future educational and professional pursuits.
Just like MIT, TU Delft also has an OpenCourseWare platform – albeit less extensive. Even though the website does not have a designated architecture section, designers can still make use out of the prestigious school’s science and technical offerings. Available material for the majority of courses includes audio and video lecture recordings, readings, assignments, and practice exams.
  • Bio Inspired Design ”gives an overview of non-conventional mechanical approaches in nature and shows how this knowledge can lead to more creativity in mechanical design and to better solutions than with conventional technology. It discusses a large number of biological organisms with smart constructions, unusual mechanisms or clever sensing and processing methods and presents a number of technical examples and designs of bio-inspired instruments and machines.”
  • Wastewater Treatment looks at the development of wastewater treatment technologies and their application. “High-tech and low-tech systems, which are applicable in both industrialized and developing countries, are discussed.” Specific examination topics include technologies for nutrient removal and recovery, such as anaerobic treatment systems and membrane filtration techniques.
EdX, a non-profit online initiative founded by MIT and Harvard University, offers free interactive classes from some of the world’s top schools. If you decide to take a course, you can try for a certificate of achievement – or you can simply audit it, choosing what and how much you want to do. It’s up to you. A huge benefit is being able to connect with like-minded classmates all over the world using the website’s peer-to-peer social learning tools. In addition to categories like computer science, music, and economics, they have a dedicated architecture section. Two of their architecture courses, described below, are currently open to fall registration.
  • The Search for Vernacular Architecture of Asia ”is a comprehensive, dialogue-based course providing an in-depth exploration of the vernacular concept and its applications to the culture and built environments of the past, present, and future. Designed to promote discussion and dialogue while contributing to the discourse surrounding the concept of the vernacular, this five-week course will challenge the perception of tradition and stimulate a deeper analysis of one’s local environment.” As suggested in the title, the course will focus specifically on the vernacular in Asia.
  • “While the development of cities in different parts of the world is moving in diverse directions, all estimations show that cities worldwide will change and grow strongly in the coming years” – especially in the tropics, where “it is expected that the number of new urban residents will increase by 3 times the population of Europe today.” With a specific focus on Asia, Future Cities will explore design and management methods over the course of nine weeks to increase the sustainable performance of cities and therefore, their resiliency.
Open Online Academy, a platform similar to Edx, offers a more selective range of courses relating specifically to architecture, art, and design. Dr. Ivan Shumkov, the website’s founder and one of its educators, is a New York based architect, curator, and professor. He has taught at Harvard GSD, the Pratt Institute‘s School of Architecture, and Parsons The New School for Design – just to name a few. So far, Open Online Academy offers six courses, two of which are described below. Be sure to keep an eye out for when the platform expands in the fall to offer additional courses concerning leadership, negotiation, and management.
  • Contemporary Architecture analyzes “major contemporary architectural ideas, ideologies, and projects in the context of both globalization and specific local contexts” over an 8-week period. Students will study material from the 1990s onwards, submitting weekly assignments and sitting in on virtual classes and tours. After 27,000 people from across the globe participated in the course’s first iteration, it is being offered again starting June 30, 2014.
  • Designing Resilient Schools is taught by Shumkov, Arnold Rivera, and Illac Diaz, the man behind the Liter of Light project in the Phillippines, which won the Curry Stone Design Prize in 2012. The 8-week course focuses on designing resilient schools for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Phillippines on November 9th, 2013. At the end of the course, which is essentially an online version of a collaborative design studio, an international jury will select the best proposals for future implementation. The next iteration of the course starts on September 1, 2014.
The remaining four courses and their start dates are:
Whelan, Jennifer. "Four Ways to Learn About Architecture for Free" 16 Jun 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 Aug 2014.

25Free Publications to read on Architecture

Original Article can be found at

If you don’t have access to an architecture library (and even if you do), sifting through shelves can take hours. Buying books can be even more painful — for your wallet, at least. Instead, why not browse this list of 25 books that are all free and easily accessible online? Some are well-known classics of architecture literature, but we hope you find a few surprises as well.

By Vitruvius Pollio
Quite simply, one of the most influential architecture books of all time.

2. Seven Lamps of Architecture (1889)
John Ruskin was an exceptionally talented painter, philosopher and art critic in Victorian England. The Seven Lamps of Architecture, including “Sacrifice,” “Truth” and “Beauty,” is well worth uncovering — not just for the philosophical lessons but also for Ruskin’s amazing illustrations.

3. The Stones of Venice (1851)
By John Ruskin
The Stones of Venice is Ruskin’s sequel to The Seven Lamps of Architecture. If you have been or want to go to Venice, this book provides comprehensive studies and sketches of the city.

4. A History of Architecture on The Comparative Method (1905)
By Banister Fletcher
English architect Banister Fletcher and his father (Banister Fletcher Sr.) penned this book comparing the architecture of various countries, trying to find the origins of their particular styles. Particularly interesting are the sketches of uncommon periods, such as Prehistoric architecture.

5. Japan : Its Architecture, Art, And Art Manufactures (1882)
By Christopher Dresser
Considered the first industrial designer, Christopher Dresser studied the craft of Japanese design. Dresser includes his elegant Japanese influenced sketches and drawings.

6. Le Corbusier: Elements of a Synthesis (1968)
By Stanislaus von Moos
Elements of a Synthesis is a precise and systematic dissection of ’s life and work.

7. The Architectonic Colour: Polychromy in the Purist Architecture of Le Corbusier (2011)
By Jan De Heer
This book dissects and examines Le Corbusier’s relationship with Purist Painting.

8. Design and Analysis (1997)
By Bernard Leupen, Christoph Grafe, Nicola Kornig, Mark Lampe and Peter de Zeeuw
Written by a team of professors at TU Delft who advocate for “design analysis” – a way of fusing research and education for the advancement of design practices.

9. Surrealism and Architecture (2005)
Edited by Thomas Mical
Thomas Mical attempts to show the significant connection between surrealist painting and architecture.

10. The Architecture of the City (1892)
By Aldo RossiPritzker winner Aldo Rossi’s take on urban planning’s impact on the construction of the city. His urban theories were considered groundbreaking at the time this book was published.

11. Louis Sullivan As He Lived: The Shaping Of American Architecture (1960)
By Willard Connely
Willard Connelly’s biography of the influential Louis Sullivan, mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright and the man who made Chicago the steel city it is today.

12. Technics and Civilization (1934)
By Lewis Mumford – 1934
Lewis Mumford was a prominent writer, critical regionalist and opponent to suburbanization. In Technics and Civilization, he takes an analytical look at how the machine has impacted civilization throughout history.

13. Sticks and Stones (1926)
By Lewis Mumford
Lewis Mumford on American building and architecture, from vernacular to the early 19thcentury.

14. De Re Aedificatoria (1443)
By Leon Battista Alberti
Also known as On The Art Of BuildingDe Re Aedificatoria was the first book on Architecture printed during the Renaissance. It is considered by many to be as important an example of early architectural writing as Vitruvius’ Ten Books.

15. Eric Mendelsohn (1940)
By Arnold Whittick
The biography of Eric Mendelsohn, the architect known for his simple yet powerful sketches. An influential art deco architect, Mendelsohn escaped Nazi Germany, finding success abroad.

16. A History Of Architecture (1918)
By Fiske Kimball
Fiske Kimball, who worked on the preservation of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, wrote this chronological history of Architecture from before the Renaissance. An interesting take on architecture as seen through the eyes of a preservationist rather than an architect.

17. Architecture And Furniture (1938)
By The Museum Of Modern Art
These essays highlight Alvar Aalto’s designs in architecture and furniture. Originally published as a companion to a furniture and design exhibition at the MoMA in 1938, the highlight is Aalto’s early use of new and innovative wood products.

18. The Lesson Of Japanese Architecture (1936)
By Jiro Harada
With plenty of accompanying graphics, this gives an overarching perspective on Japanese Architecture from pre-Buddhist Japan until the 1930’s.

19. Four Walking Tours Of Modern Architecture In New York City (1961)
By Ada Louise HuxtableHuxtable was the first architecture critic at The New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize winner. This, one of Huxtable’s lesser known works, still has relevance to this day (even if a few of the buildings have had name changes).

20. Architecture: Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries (1958)
By Henry Russell Hitchock
A book devoted to materials and their influence on 19th and 20th century architecture.

21. Built In USA: Post-War Architecture (1949)
By Henry Russell Hitchcock and Arthur Drexler
Photos, plans and sections of the works of mid-century modern masters, including Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe and others.

22. Modern California Houses; Case Study Houses 1945-1962 (1962)
By Esther McCoy
Designed by architects such as Richard Neutra and Pierre Koenig, these houses defined west-coast architectural theory at the time.

23. White Pillars (1941)
By J. Frazer Smith
Rural American architecture tends to be passed over, so White Pillars, whichcovers the vernacular/plantation architecture of the Mississippi Valley, is a refreshing read.

24. Modern Church Architecture (1962)
By Albert Christ-Janer and Mary Mix Foley
The 20th century churches and religious buildings included here represent a paradigm shift from traditional religious architecture.

25. Thomas Jefferson Architect and Builder (1873)
By I.T. Frary
A critical look at Thomas Jefferson as an architect, including the many (architectural) mistakes he made throughout his career. A particularly intriguing section is a long history of the constant rebuilding and redesign of Monticello.

Cite:Galloway, Andrew. "25 Free Architecture Books You Can Read Online" 18 Aug 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 06 Sep 2014.

Tuesday, July 1

Aleppo Citadel "Kal'et Halab"

Featured at this Week's issue of "The Damascene Rose Window Weekly" https://paper.li/Woroud/1394570954 by an Archnet post 

How forgotten Spanish masons' tiles transformed American cities

Article: How forgotten Spanish masons' tiles transformed American cities

Throughout New York City and beyond, the largely forgotten Guastavinos built some of America'€™s greatest public spaces
Have you ever noticed the vaulted tile ceilings of the Oyster Bar inside the Grand Central Terminal? Have you ever walked under the polychrome tile arches and vaults of the Elephant House of the Bronx Zoo?
The Museum of the City of New York is revealing a secret kept for decades behind many iconic American public buildings.
At least 200 of New York’s most prominent Beaux-Arts landmarks were built more than a century ago by a father-son team of masons from Spain.
Not only did Rafael Guastavino Sr. and his son (also named Rafael) help build some of the nation’s most iconic structures between 1881 and 1962, they also revolutionized American architectural design and construction with their tile-vaulting system.

Once you identify some of their architectural chef-d’oeuvres, you’ll start seeing them all over.
Their ceilings grace landmarks around the country from the Nebraska State Capitol to the dome of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. They even ornament ordinary buildings. One of them is the Engine No. 3, a small brick firehouse built in 1916 not far from the U.S. Capitol.
Although they helped build more than 1,000 buildings in 11 countries, the name Guastavino remained largely unknown.
In an effort to shed light on the story of these avant-gardist architects, the Museum of the City of New York has just opened the exhibition “Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America’s Great Public Spaces,” running through Sept. 7.
Originally curated by John Ochsendorf, a 2008 MacArthur Fellow and professor in architecture at MIT, the exhibition first opened in 2012 in Boston. It was the result of a seven-year cooperation between Ochsendorf’s team and the city’s public library. Last year, the exhibition moved to the National Building Museum in Washington.
The latest exhibit is substantially expanded to highlight some 20 key Guastavino spaces in New York’s five boroughs.

Kindly check Full original Article http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/3/28/slideshow-forgottenspanishmasonsatilestransformedamericaascities.html

CSBE Book Lists on #Architecture

Favorite Book Lists on Architecture and the Built Environment

Copied of CSBE http://csbe.org/activities/favorite-book-lists-on-architecture-and-the-built-environment/

"CSBE has asked a number of distinguished colleagues to each provide us with a list of their favorite books on architecture and the built environment, and to explain why they selected those books. A new list will be added to the CSBE website periodically."


Nasser Rabbat

Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic ArchitectureDepartment of ArchitectureMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
This is both a story of an unusual architectural experience, the building of the village of New Gourna in Upper Egypt, and a loosely-structured philosophical musing on society, ecology, poverty, pride, craft, the built environment, modes of empowerment, and architectural professional engagement in community building.  It is also the book that marked my formation as an architect more than any other book, even though I came to be very critical of the book and the ideas of Hassan Fathy later on when I became a historian and a critic.  I read the book in its French edition in one night in 1978 (No Arabic edition was yet available anyway).  I was a fourth-year architecture student looking for ideas for a graduation project.  Fathy’s book was a revelation, an eye-opener, almost a transcendental experience (for a materialist man at least).  I stayed up all night reading and bursting with identifications with what I read.  Not only did the book inspire my graduation project but also my plans for my academic and intellectual future.  It was through my interest in environmentally sensitive architecture, which I learned from Fathy, that I graduated to looking at historical examples, and ultimately to history pure and simple.  I also learned from Fathy a certain architectural idealism, which still informs my academic politics, and a certain social realism, extracted negatively from Fathy’s writing, which still encumbers my attempts to be optimistic towards the possibility of building a fair and civic society in the Arab and Islamic worlds without a critical and sustained struggle against established socioeconomic and religious structures.
Grabar was my PhD advisor and I learned a lot from him, both in the classroom and outside, mostly over meals or drinks.  He was a charming, sublimely erudite scholar.  His impact on the study of Islamic art and architecture is immeasurable.  His opus magnum was The Formation of Islamic Art: a series of highly speculative and provocative lectures delivered in the early 1970s, the book remains till today one of the most thoughtful attempts to theorize Islamic art and architecture.  Focusing on the problems of the emergence of Islamic art and architecture in the first three centuries Hegira and their relationship to the art of Byzantium and Persia, the book investigates how a nascent Islamic artistic tradition acquired and disseminated distinct forms and meanings primarily in conjunction with its cultural, social, and ideological contexts.  This strongly historicizing framework gives the book its energy and underscores its palpable sense of purpose.  It also endows it with remarkable coherence despite the otherwise selective character of its content.  But the book's significance lies ultimately not in answering questions about the formation of Islamic art, which it actually avoids doing; it is rather in setting the tone for a whole generation of historians of Islamic art and architecture to begin to reassess the geographic, historical, religious, and cultural boundaries of their discipline.  As such, The Formation of Islamic Art became the foundation upon which most historical interpretations in the field have depended until now.
Candilis was an Azeri/Greek/French member of Team Ten, but I did not know that when I first met him.  He was the teacher of one of my teachers, who was not particularly kind, but very intelligent, and who invited Candilis to give a talk at our school at the University of Damascus. I was mesmerized by the life story of the architect and its entanglement both with his professional pursuit and his architectural modernist ideology.  Reading his book later just reconfirmed my first impression.  Here was a compassionate modernist who tried to practice what he preached, even when his firm was involved in very large, government-sponsored projects.  He and his two partners built elegant, streamlined housing projects and university campuses in the Arab world that distilled the essence of a self-historicizing, or evolutive, modernism.  His book reads like a novel with a strong but utterly sympathetic central character with a strong mission who managed to convince colleagues, bureaucrats, and ordinary citizens of the validity of his design, and built it.
This short, sweet, and lyrical book opened my eyes to the aesthetics of environmentally responsive design.  Scanning the history of spatial and architectural solutions to environmental constraints from Roman bath to Islamic gardens, Heschong presents a convincing argument about the embeddedness of environmental considerations in many human activities, cultural preferences, and design.  She explores how the senses work together to achieve what she terms delight in architecture: an aspiration for architecture akin to the kind of feeling one experience with music, nature, and art.  This small book was like an exegesis for me as I was negotiating my way around the hard science of climatology, passive solar design, and the mechanics of sustainability during my March years at UCLA.  I recommend it to every architect committed to environmentally responsive design who wants to maintain the ethics and aesthetics of his/her commitment.
April 17, 2014


Nadim Karam

Founder, Nadim karam & Atelier Hapsitus
Beirut, Lebanon
I remember buying this book from a bookshop in Aoyama, Tokyo that always stayed open until 3am – often the best time for browsing through books. Nitschke’s perceptive anthropological approach to Japanese concepts of space and time through their rituals, language, and culture is a fascinating read that gives depth to Japanese spatial concepts that have now become familiar in the West.
Rudofsky spent a lifetime challenging the traditional boundaries of architecture, touching on anthropology, fashion, and design with his curiosity and desire to heighten the sensuality of the daily business of living, eating, and dressing through design. Architecture without Architects is the product of his many travels, a humbling lesson to us architects about the beautiful simplicity of indigenous architecture.
This book was offered to me by one of my students, who felt that there are similarities between my work and Hejduk's. The book is full of drawings, plots, scenarios, objects, and subjects, all of which are intermingled with extravagant ideas and architectural shapes /installations full of imagination, elevating the observer to a parallel world full of dreams and stories.
This is a book to savor slowly. The contrast between the rigorous mathematical organization of the 55 cities that the book features in its eleven chapters and the poetry of the description of each of the cities in a manner that is not bound by any urban or physical limitations is wonderful. There is also the poignancy of the encounters between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. Not sharing a common language, they are free to wander together through the imaginative potentialities of cities, using only visuals.
This book, of course, was the product of September 11, 2011 and its aftermath in European cities that spurred a whole new enquiry into terrorism, war, and cities. I was writing “Can Cities Dream?” at the eve of our own summer war in 2006, when we had to leave Lebanon suddenly. I remember coming across this book, and how it struck a chord with me. Virilio writes in the grey areas between physics, philosophy, politics, and urbanism - sometimes straying into anecdotes, but then comes back with a perceptive punch.
May 4, 2014


Rahul Mehrotra

Professor and Chair, Department of Urban Planning and Design
Graduate School of Design
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
The following are books I read during my first three years of architectural education, and they continue to be the ones that I would say have had the greatest influence on me, and that also have stayed with me.
This book showed me how to think outside the box. The author systematically deconstructs the taboos that condition our thinking - which often limit creativity on account of the biases we already have embedded in our minds. I read this book during the month I entered architecture school, and it was the greatest introduction one could get to conceptual thinking as a critical tool for design.
This book is a classic in that through abstraction, Christopher Alexander blurs the boundaries between the vernacular, timeless, modern, and the everyday, as well as between architecture and the way people inhabit space. Besides equipping designers to think at the fine grain, it also was for me a great introduction to design research and its usefulness as we observe the world around us
The mind-blowing thing about this book was that besides communicating through its title the finite nature of our planet and its resources (something that took the world many decades to articulate), it provided an amazing insight into how systems are interconnected and into the synergies that are critical to creating a sustainable and efficient management of the planet. But the concepts here were also a fabulous introduction to understanding cities and more complex landscapes.
In some sense, this was my introduction to ecology, environmentalism, and optimistic thinking. A wonderful format of quotes, stories, ideas, and projections of the future collide in this little paperback. It went on to become a trilogy with the Peter Principle and Peter Prescription. I would describe The Peter Plan as a primer that gave real images (through people and stories) to what books like Silent Spring and other literature on environmentalism from the early 1970 were warning us about.
This is a seminal book, which I read the year after it was published. It was confusing for me as a student on account of the richness of its disparate images, but it added an incredible dimension to the otherwise pure historical narratives we were being offered in architecture school. Studying in India, this book also made sense because as students we saw the coexistence of many architectural vocabularies in the Indian urban landscape, and the book’s arguments were therefore familiar to us. But, fortunately, as one saw the implications of post-modernism, the book finally taught me to watch out for the pitfalls of the superficial caricaturing of history in contemporary architecture.
May 18, 2014


George Katodrytis

Associate Professor of ArchitectureAmerican University of SharjahSharjah, United Arab Emirates
This novel makes you see cities differently. This book is like space; every time you revisit it has a different meaning. You should read it at the beginning of your architectural career. It will open a new world of spatial possibilities that will make sense every time you visit a new city. You should also read this book before you visit Venice.
This book is a series of essays on contemporary architecture using the uncanny and alienation as a way to understand why architecture can be fragmented. The complexity of space is related to the "unhomely" modern condition.
All architects should be urbanists. This book is a manifesto about the city, the street, its media, its anarchy, and the visual interpretation of complex urban systems. It elevates the collective and participatory condition of culture into a mainstream popular approach.
Moving beyond looking at cities as romantic places made of historic squares and pedestrians, this book - through the analysis of Las Vegas - celebrates the system and dynamics of speed, of signs, of surfaces, and of artificiality. Read this book and then drive through the city.
Architectural space, like a film script, can only be experienced through time. This book is a visual essay of photographs, notations, and tectonics, constructing narratives of experience and events to geometric spaces. I bought this book in Paris when I worked with Bernard Tschumi. The next day in the office, I understood better the Parc de la Villette project. Read this book before you visit New York.
The technology of optics and war machines was in effect a simulation of space as image and representation. This book will open possibilities of looking at architectural space as illusion with edited sequence of scenes as though looking through a viewfinder. Read this book before you go to a film.
June 1, 2014

Mohammad al-Asad

Founding Director
Center for the Study of the Built Environment
Amman, Jordan

I consider James Ackerman, who is 94 years old, to be one of the greatest architectural historians of our day. This book presents an example of superb writing on architectural history, theory, and criticism. Ackerman's writing is clear, concise, incisive, and illuminating. One only wishes that most of today's architectural historians and critics are able to write half as well as and half as clearly as he does.
I do not recall who it was, but someone once wrote that if he is stranded on a deserted island and could only have one book, it would be this one. The book provides a most useful guide for designing architectural elements, spaces, and environments, ranging from a window to a kitchen to a town. It provides very thoughtful information based on how people interact with and relate to the built world around them.
This book features in-depth and honest conversations about architecture with a number of the great architects of their time including Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson, Charles Moore, Paul Rudolph, Robert Venturi, and Denis Scott Brown. I read it as a third-year student of architecture; it transformed my understanding of architecture.
Jan Gehl is one of the great urbanists of our time, as is evident in his design / planning work and his writings. Our understanding today of how cities may interact with people in a humane manner that values the pedestrian and celebrates public spaces where all can come together is very much influenced by Gehl's work and by his writings, including New City Spaces.
William Mitchell died prematurely in 2010. He was a true visionary. He wrote beautifully and insightfully about how the ongoing revolutionary changes affecting information technologies are transforming our built environments and how we interact with them. Much of what he predicted in his writings is taking place today.
Witold Rybczynski has an ability to communicate the complexities of architecture and urbanism in a crisp and clear manner to both specialists and to the general audience, but without descending into oversimplification and overgeneralization. In the first of these two books, he addresses the evolution of the house; in the second, he addresses the evolution of the city.
This book has been reprinted a number of times, most lately in 2009. It provides a sharp and witty attack on both Modern and Post-modern architecture. It also serves as a strong reminder to architects that they should not take themselves too seriously, for their influence on society and on the built environment is far more limited than they wish to believe.

D. Fairchild Ruggles

Professor of art, architecture and landscape history
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Editor’s note: After publishing a number of the lists of favorite books on architecture and the built environment, we received a note from Professor D. (Dede) Fairchild Ruggles pointing out the absence of books written by women in the lists. She commented that the lists imply that women have not written any interesting books on architecture and the built environment. The lists obviously express the choices of their individual authors and do not make claims of universalism. Still, Dede’s comments do point out the fact that the lists published so far do not fully cover the considerable diversity and richness of contemporary architectural writing, particularly in relation to gender.
Consequently we asked Dede, who herself is an accomplished author, if she would share with us a booklist that presents her selection of the writings of prominent women authors on architecture and the built environment, and also asked her if she would provide a short introduction to the list that addresses the issue of gender and the practice of writing on architecture and the built environment. In response, she developed the list and introductory comments provided below.
With Dede’s list, our endeavor on favorite booklists begins to feature a richer and more diverse selection of writings on architecture and the built environment. We very much thank her for that.
Gender is often treated as an intervention in a practice of architectural history and theory that is already in place, already gendered as male, and on which it therefore has a marginal impact. This notion of limited intervention is not a description of how things actually are, but rather a byproduct of the continuing blindness to gender as a significant force in the making of the built environment and writing about it. However, since Joan Scott’s famous “Gender: A Useful Category of Analysis” first appeared in 1986, it is no longer tenable to assert or imply through omission that gender doesn’t matter. Gender is an important aspect of how we think and write about architecture. Just as it affects the space that we write about, it has a formative effect on the writers themselves. Among other things, gender awareness teaches us to be cognizant of how we construct lists and canons that, although written with innocent intentions, serve to exclude not only women but also non-Europeans and others characterized by religious, ethnic, class, or sexual difference, the canon both creating the category of difference and then using it to justify exclusion. Awareness is key here. The incomplete list of key authors below who wrote classic texts and/or changed what we know about the built environment is a modest intervention that places women back into the conversation about favorite writers about architecture.
Wilhelmina Jashemski, Gardens of Pompeii (published in two volumes in 1979 and 1993)
This archaeological work on the gardens of Pompeii literally created a new field of study. Instead of seeing Roman (and all other) gardens entirely through the lens of literature, Wilhelmina Jashemski has allowed us to view them as archaeologically knowable entities, thus giving us a better understanding of their forms and materials.
Dolores Hayden draws important, ground-breaking connections between politics, urban space, gender, and ethnicity. Her work has provided us with a richer understanding of how Americans of diverse backgrounds have shaped their landscapes, towns, and buildings.
This book became an instant classic, stimulating architects and historians to think about registers of design that are typically ignored by architects as tasteless and yet are encountered constantly in the everyday landscape: billboards, signs, motels, parking lots, and casinos. It demands that architects “learn from the existing landscape” and “gain insight from the commonplace.”
Gwendolyn Wright writes about urbanism, the role of history in architectural design schools, and architectural history, especially the history of domestic housing. Housing — and there are far more ordinary homes built than grand museums, palaces, and public buildings — is a virtually ignored field, but it is an architectural arena in which the impact of women consumers and non-professional builders becomes most visible.
Alice Friedman is a pioneer in writing about gender in European and American architecture. In Women and the Making of the Modern House Friedman investigates the role that women architectural patrons have taken on in transforming domestic architectural design. She examines a number of iconic houses of the twentieth century, and creates detailed portraits of these houses as well as of the people who commissioned, designed, and lived in them through examining personal letters, diaries, office records, photo albums, and interviews.
Labelle Prussin is a leading historian of African architecture. In African Nomadic Architecture she extensively explores the technologies, styles, designs, as well as the symbolic and ritual meanings of the tent and related vernacular architecture in various African cultures.
This edited collection has in a short space of time gained fundamental importance. The essays examine the historiographic and socio/cultural implications of the mapping of British architectural history with particular reference to eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain. They consider a range of writings from biographical and social histories to visual surveys and guidebooks. The book has become an essential reference on methods and critical approaches to architectural history, and also the kind of evidence used in its formation.
Other women scholars who have made an impact on my own work in Islamic architecture and landscape history include Janet Abu-Lughod, whose many publications include Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious (1971); Nurhan Atasoy, whose Garden for the Sultan (2002) opened up the topic of Ottoman gardens; Catherine Asher, author of Architecture of Mughal India (1992), which is now the definitive source in that area; Naomi Miller, the historian of French and Italian Renaissance architecture as well as built garden elements such as fountains; and Ann Bermingham whose Landscape and Ideology (1986) illuminated the intimate yet masked connection between landscape and politics.

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