How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built ペーパーバック – 1995/10/1
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Buildings have often been studies whole in space, but never before have they been studied whole in time. How Buildings Learn is a masterful new synthesis that proposes that buildings adapt best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants, and that architects can mature from being artists of space to becoming artists of time.
From the connected farmhouses of New England to I.M. Pei's Media Lab, from "satisficing" to "form follows funding," from the evolution of bungalows to the invention of Santa Fe Style, from Low Road military surplus buildings to a High Road English classic like Chatsworththis is a far-ranging survey of unexplored essential territory.
More than any other human artifacts, buildings improve with timeif they're allowed to. How Buildings Learn shows how to work with time rather than against it.
"It's about time somebody wrote this book. This quirky, thoughtful volume, bursting with curiosity and intelligence, may make our everyday world more visible to more Americans. Architecture is too important to be left to architects alone."
"A stunning exploration of the design of design
How Buildings Learn will irrevocably alter yor sense of place, space, and the artifacts that shape them."
Michael Shrage, Wired
Philip Morrison, Scientific American
"An extremely attractive volume that will forever alter the way we respond to the buildings around us. We may also hope it will alter the way architects design buildings."
Harold Gilliam, San Francisco Chronicle
"A fascinating and indefinable book
How Buildings Learn is a hymn to entropy, a witty, heterodox book dedicated to kicking the stuffing out of the proposition that architecture is permanent and that buildings cannot adapt."
Stephen Bayley, The Times (London)
"The book's diagnosis is clear and to the poiny, and its illustrations of how buildings change are both fascinating and instructive. This is, in short, one of the rare books that every architect should read."
Thomas Fisher, editor, Progressive Architecture
"A book of good sound-bites and laser-sharp insight
No architecture students should complete their preliminary studies without reading it from cover to cover."
Patric Hannay, The Architects' Journal
In my case, I bought this book again because I'm planning to build my house in a couple of months and I don't want it to be yet another house that falls apart in 20-30 years because it's useless and/or ugly.
Stewart Brand is thorough and observant, and he has a fascinating perspective on the built world as it relates to time. I will be reading more of his work as soon as I have the time.
I would strongly encourage anyone thinking of building a house to get this book.
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.