How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built
DescriptionBuildings have often been studied whole in space, but never before have they been studied whole in time. Architects (and architectural historians) are interested only in a building's original intentions. Most are dismayed by what happens later, when a building develops its own life, responsive to the life within. To get the rest of the story - to explore the years between the dazzle of a new building and its eventual corpse - Stewart Brand went to facilities managers and real estate professionals, to preservationists and building historians, to photo archives and to futurists. He inquired, "What makes some buildings come to be loved?" He found that all buildings are forced to adapt, but only some adapt gracefully. How Buildings Learn is a masterful new synthesis which 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. A rich resource and point of departure, as stimulating for the general reader and home improvement hobbyist as for the building professional, the book is sure to generate ideas, provoke debate, and shake up habitual thinking. 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 Chatsworth - this is a far-ranging survey of unexplored essential territory. More than any other human artifact, buildings improve with time - if they're allowed. How Buildings Learn shows how to work with time rather than against it.
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"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