How Buildings Learn : What Happens After They’re Built

Cover, How Buildings Learn : What Happens After They're Built

Author(s): Stewart Brand

Publisher: Penguin USA (Paper)

ISBN: 0140139966

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Reprint Edition
Paperback Publication date: October 1995

From Kirkus Reviews , 04/15/94:
Brand, founder of The Whole Earth Catalog and CoEvolution Quarterly, launches a populist attack on rarefied architectural conventions. A hippy elder statesman (once one of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters), Brand argues that a building can “grow” and should be treated as a “Darwinian mechanism,” something that adapts over time to meet certain changing needs. His humanistic insights grew out of a university seminar he taught in 1988. Catchy anti- establishment phrases abound: “Function reforms form, perpetually,” or “Form follows funding.” Thomas Jefferson, a “high road” builder, is shown to have tinkered his Monticello into a masterpiece over a lifetime. Commercial structures, Brand says, are “forever metamorphic,” as a garage-turned-boutique demonstrates. Photo spreads with smart and chatty captions trace the evolutions of buildings as they adopt new “skins.” Pointedly, architects Sir Richard Rogers (designer of the Pompidou Centre in Paris) and I.M. Pei (the Wiesner Building, aka the Media Lab at MIT) are taken to task for designing monumental flops that deny occupants’ needs. Later sections track the social meanings of preservationism and celebrate vernacular traditions worldwide (e.g., the Malay house of Malaysia; pueblo architecture; the 18th- century Cape Cod House). Brand also documents his own unique habitats. He lives with his wife in a converted tugboat and houses his library in a metal self-storage container. Here, as throughout, Brand’s self-reliant voice rings true–that of an engaging, intellectual crank. Brand makes a case for letting people shape their own environments. His crunchy-granola insights bristle with an undeniable pragmatism. — Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:
All kinds of structures–domestic, commercial, institutional–are examined as they change with time and with varied usage in this fascinating, vividly accessible book that beckons toward a new frontier in architecture. 340 illustrations and photos.

Like people, buildings change with age, forced to adapt to the needs of current occupations. This provocative examination of buildings that have adapted well, and some that haven’t, calls for a dramatic rethinking in the way new buildings are designed, one that allows structures to grow and change easily with the environment. Photos.

Booknews, Inc. , 12/01/94:
Kind of like the theory that a literary text is never closed, but is temporarily appropriated in its reading and rereading, Brand, of Whole Earth Catalog fame, proposes that buildings adapt best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants, and that architects can grow from artists of space into artists of time. As a resource or just as a read, Brand shows how to work with time rather than against it. He provides loads of examples and loads of photographs and drawings. 11×8.75 Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

The author, Stewart Brand , 07/26/97:
Now a BBC TV series In July 97 the BBC aired a 6-part TV series called How Buildings Learn. I was the writer and presenter. It got lovely reviews in the Brit press. I hope it gets picked up for US broadcast. A British edition of the book (from Orion Books) came out at the same time as the TV series. It’s better manufactured than the US edition from Penguin, so the 350 photos read more clearly. You can probably get a copy from Blackwells on the Web. Maybe Amazon will pick up the Brit edition as well? However, the US edition has some harsh comments about buildings by architect Richard Rogers that were expunged from the British edition because he is aggressively litigious about all criticism.

Customer Comments

from Toronto, Canada , 10/09/97, rating=10:
excellent, thought-provoking, calm I’ve hesitated to review this book because I’m personally suspicious of glowing praise. However, this book deserves it. Brand’s starting point is the observation that most architects spend most of their time re-working or extending existing buildings, rather than creating new ones from scratch, but the subject of how buildings change (or, to adopt Brand’s metaphor, how buildings learn from their use and environment) is ignored by most architectural schools and theorists. By looking at examples (big and small, ancient and modern), Brand teases out patterns of re-use and change, and argues (very convincingly) that since buildings are going to be modified many times, they should be designed with unanticipated future changes in mind. Of course, the same is true of programs, and I found again and again that I could substitute the word program for building, and programmer for architect, everything Brand said was true of computing as well (but much better written than any software engineering polemic I’ve ever read).

04/03/97, rating=9:
Explores Architecture and Change I learned of this book while previewing a presentation by a superior software professional working to come up with some principles and ideas for building flexible systems, and whose son (an architecture student) had sent a copy to her. Several metaphors that she included, taken from the book, were so compelling I had to buy a copy immediately. The book turns out to be interesting on many levels, interesting about buildings, unintentionally full of metaphors for software geeks like me, intriguing about what happens when concrete and steel meet the realities of change and human nature. Now if I could only find a book about How People Learn…

02/16/97, rating=9:
A must for architects and preservationists This book is one of my required texts for my master’s degree in historic preservation. Preservationists are often overly concerned with restoring buildings to a specific period and this book should change their minds! The concept of a building as a living breathing CHANGING entity is something that anyone involved with buildings should take to heart. Brand’s book is well written and easy to read, and anyone who has ever been in love with a building should read it!

08/08/96, rating=8:
Very much in the tradition of A PATTERN LANGUAGE (Chris Alexander et al), about how building evolve through remodeling over the decades. Several excerpts: Art begets fashion; fashion means style; style is made of illusion; and illusion is no friend to function…. Formerly stylish clothing you can throw or give away; a building goes on looking ever more out-of-it, decade after decade, until a new skin is grafted on at great expense, and the cycle begins again–months of glory, years of shame…. Real estate is an astonishingly unexamined phenomenon. Books on the history of architecture outnumber books on the history of real estate 1,000 to 0, yet real estate has vastly more influence on the shape and fate of buildings than architectural theories of aesthetics.

Audubon House – Building the Environmentally Responsible, Energy-Efficient Office

Audubon House: Building the Environmentally Responsible, Energy-Efficient OfficePublisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0471024961

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Synopsis:
The behind-the-scenes story of the construction of one of the world’s most environmentally sound buildings in the heart of New York City–the headquarters of the Audubon Society. Audubon and the Croxton architects sought to make Audubon House a model for design professionals around the world.

Card catalog description
Audubon House is the inspiring story of how the Audubon/Croxton team converted a 19th-century architectural masterpiece into one of the most environmentally advanced buildings ever designed. Providing a model that can be followed by owners, developers, architects, and building professionals, this book demonstrates how environmental criteria, such as sustainable use of resources, energy efficiency, and air quality can be achieved without sacrificing traditional considerations of cost, functionality, and aesthetics. Built at market cost and using only off-the-shelf technology, Audubon House is sixty percent more energy efficient than the conventional approach would have been. It saves its owners a projected $100,000 dollars annually in operating expenses, and supports an extraordinarily practical, healthy, and handsome office environment. The book is organized into two parts. Part I introduces the project and describes what members of the Audubon team discovered about the environmental impact of buildings and the types of systems that can mitigate this impact. Part II presents four essential systems at Audubon House: lighting, heating and cooling, ventilation and indoor air quality, and recycling. Particular attention is paid to the way in which these systems work together, each contributing to the performance of the whole. These goals could only be realized through the close cooperation of the architects, interior designers, environmentalists, engineers, research scientists, and contractors who collaborated on the project. The description of this collaborative process is as central to the theme of this book as the building’s many design innovations and energy-saving features. Richly illustrated with professional photographs and architectural drawings, Audubon House is both a guidepost for environmentally sound construction and an inspiring chronicle of hope for all environmentally concerned citizens.

The publisher, John Wiley & Sons:
In 1992, the National Audubon Society completed construction on one of the most environmentally advanced edifices ever built. The building’s success is due equally to the new technologies implemented, sound economic principles used to guide the project and the special collaborative approach of the design and construction team. This lavishly illustrated book examines all three elements in a manner that will show others how these principles can be applied to create buildings with improved environmental performance.

Table of Contents

TOWARD A SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE
The Built Environment: Counting the Costs
Dimensions of Sustainable Design

INSIDE AUDUBON HOUSE
Lighting and Other Energy Efficiencies
Heating, Cooling, and Energy at Audubon
The Healthy Workplace: Ventilation and Materials
Recycling at Audubon: Closing the Loop
Conclusion: A Success in the Making
Appendices
Index.

Building with Vision: Optimizing and Finding Alternatives to Wood

Author: Dan Imhoff

ISBN: 097095000

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Building with Vision: Optimizing and Finding Alternatives to Wood

The United States has both the rare fortune and the dubious distinction of being among the only industrialized nations to use wood as its primary material for residential buildings. While other developed countries have evolved masonry and other building systems not reliant on wood, on average, a full acre of trees is consumed to build just one house in the United States. And, for every twenty houses built, enough waste is typically left over to frame another house.

Combining environmental philosophy, practical information, and dynamic visuals, Building with Vision makes accessible many solutions to wasteful tree-dependent construction and design. In addition to identifying the benefits, challenges, and applications of the recommended alternatives to contemporary American construction, this book details building methods to minimize wood waste, maximize efficiency, and emphasize the unique aesthetic properties of non-wood materials.

Part resource guide, part photo essay, this 136-page gem features beautifully composed, nearly tactile photographs that bring to life an array of alternative materials. Case studies highlight successful building projects that utilize innovative and effective framing, siding, insulation, roofing, and finishing materials and techniques.

Building systems featured include Rastra, a new kind of interlocking block made of recovered Styrofoam packaging; Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) made of plywood, OSB, or strawboard with a thick foam core; and a variety of “Eco-Crete,” super-insulating concrete systems. A wide range of finish materials are discussed as well: panel board made from agricultural crop waste, flooring derived from used tires, natural linoleum and certified woods, and cement countertops embedded with finds from the urban waste stream.

“This book can be a lifesaver for trees and our limited architectural horizons. It invites challenges to its critiques. Let the debate begin.” — Ralph Nader

“Building with Vision is timely and extremely useful, a must-have resource for every architectural studio across the country.” — Sim Van der Ryn architect, director of the Ecological Design Institute

About the Author Dan Imhoff has authored dozens of articles and essays on issues ranging from forest conservation and paper production to the global economy, sustainable agriculture, and green building. Imhoff’s articles have appeared in Sierra, Saveur, Whole Earth, Communication Arts, Orion Afield, and many books and journals. With his wife and two children, he lives part-time in an off-the-grid home produced with many certified and salvaged, wood and non-wood materials.

Born in Parma, Italy, Roberto Carra is an internationally renowned photographer, graphic designer, and art director.

softcover :: 9″ x 8″ :: 136 pages, color photographs :: b/w photographs bibliography :: resource list

Simply Build Green : A Technical Guide to the Ecological Houses at the Findhorn Foundation

Simply Build GreenAuthor(s): John Talbott

Publisher: Findhorn Press

ISBN: 1899171908

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Simply Build Green : A Technical Guide to the Ecological Houses at the Findhorn Foundation

Revised
Paperback, 224 pages
Publication date: September 1997

The theory, practice and products used in the Eco-Village Project at Findhorn. Combines standard building techniques and methods with the basic philosophy of ecological building and its application. Includes many b&w pictures.

Indoor Air Quality Case Studies Reference Guide

Indoor Air Quality Case Studies Reference GuideAuthor(s): George Benda, Editor

Publisher: Fairmont Press

Hardcover: 216 pages

ISBN: 0881733059

ISBN-13: 978-0881733051

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This book provides you with the benefit of both good and bad experiences in indoor air quality management over the past decade. The case studies are presented with commentary to guide you in capturing the lessons learned, offering you a sound basis for making sound decisions relative to indoor air quality in your day-to-day work in building design, construction and operation. Each case study contains the details you need to fully understand what went right as well as what went wrong. The insightful analysis presented with each case is designed to assist you in generalizing the results for applicability to other types of settings, and to guide you, both in preventing potentially costly indoor air hazards, as well as in resolving challenging existing problems. Supporting technical and scientific data is presented for each case.

6 x 9, 220 pp., Illus., Hardcover

Passive Solar Commercial and Institutional Buildings: A Sourcebook of Examples and Design Insights

Passive Solar Commercial and Institutional Buildings: A Sourcebook of Examples and Design InsightsAuthor(s): Paris, France International Energy Agency, S.R. Hastings

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0471939439

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Paperback, 464 pages
Publication date: March 1994

The publisher, John Wiley & Sons:
Collected results of research performed by solar experts from 12 countries during 1986-1991. Features 45 building case studies and expands their findings through parametric studies using computer models. Encourages the design of buildings adapted to and profiting from their environmental climate. Covers effective passive solar concepts in residential and commercial design. Discusses both the energy-saving and aesthetic effects of daylighting design.

Booknews, Inc., 06/01/94:
Presents the results of research carried out by solar experts from 12 countries between 1986 and 1991, featuring 45 case studies of buildings–both commercial and institutional–that range from a large university complex with multiple atria in Norway to a sports hall employing a mass wall in Spain. Insights gained from these projects have been expanded by conducting parametric studies using computer models, some of which were developed specifically for this International Energy Agency research. Practically rather than aesthetically illustrated with b&w charts, drawings, photographs, and plans. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Table of Contents

Parts of the Book
Chapters
Integration of Strategies
References

SOLAR USABILITY
Introduction
Internal Gains
Simulation Studies with an Ideal Heating System
Simulation Studies with Actual Heating Systems
Conclusions
References

SOLAR HEATING
Introduction
Direct Gain Systems
Air Collector Systems
Air Flow
Windows
Mass Wall Systems
Transparent Insulation Systems
Absorber Walls
Storage Systems

DAYLIGHTING
Introduction
Classification of Strategies
Examples
Detailed Results
Analysis
Tools
Conclusions
Recommended Reading

COOLING
Introduction
Strategies
Examples
Analysis
Tools
Conclusions
Recommended Reading

ATRIA
Introduction
Typology
Case Studies
Examples
Design Insights
Atrium Analysis
Tools
Conclusions
Recommended Reading
Appendices
Index.

Concepts and Practice of Architectural Daylighting

Author: Fuller Moore

Publisher: Van Nostrand Reinhold (Trade)

ISBN: 0442264399

ISBN-13: 978-0442264390

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This work provides architects with the necessary conceptual framework and analytical tools to integrate daylighting into building design at the earliest stages. The author includes numerous examples and model studies with an emphasis on predictive techniques.

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Author(s): Don Booth, Jonathan Booth, Peg Boyles

Publisher: Community Builders Publication

ISBN: 0960442235

ISBN-13: 978-0960442232

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Back in 1983 Don Booth’s company, Community Builders was one of the premier developers of energy efficient homes in New England. This privately published book was probably written to help prospective customers understand the technology and boost sales. No matter what his reason, Don’s book became a classic of the genre. Calling upon his experience, he goes step-by-step through the theory and practice of building super insulated and passive solar/geothermal homes. The explanations are clear, the examples are informative and it provides just the right amount of technical detail. If you are planning to build a new home, read this book first. The principles you learn here will save you thousands of heating and cooling dollars. It has already saved me from a very expensive mistake.

Unlike most books on this topic, you can actually read this book without stunning your brain. Instead of bulking up the book with endless pages of sun elevation charts or conversion tables, Don includes twenty ‘reviews’ of solar/geothermal homes by their owners, designers and builders. These vary from the comic to the insane as the early pioneers struggle to build their dream homes. Some of these stories would make good movies. My personal favorite is the lady who lives in a tent on the site while her home is built. We watch with dismay as construction delays move completion deep into the cold New England winter. Finally, she moves gleefully into the shell while waiting for the windows, only to have her children complain that the tent was warmer. Who says we can’t learn from the mistakes of others.

Planning for Biodiversity: Issues and Examples

Planning for Biodiversity: Issues And ExamplesAuthor(s): Sheila Peck

Publisher: Island Press

Paperback: 232 pages

ISBN: 1559634014

ISBN-13: 978-1559634014

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A significant consequence of the development of natural landscapes is habitat loss and fragmentation that results in widespread loss of biological diversity. While scientists have made great strides in determining principles and concepts fundamental to preserving biodiversity, their work will have little impact unless it is understood and implemented by those who are making on-the-ground decisions about land use.”Planning for Biodiversity” provides an accessible introduction to ecological concepts for planning professionals and students. Sheila Peck explains why planners should be concerned with habitat preservation and presents practical approaches to incorporating conservation principles into planning efforts. The book.introduces a clear framework for understanding biodiversity explains concepts related to ecosystem structure and function discusses the effects of size and connectivity on habitat quality and species movement suggests conservation priorities at different scales presents elements of reserve design examines types and sources of information considers the causes of uncertainty in biodiversity planning and the need for monitoring and adaptive management.In each chapter, Peck presents case studies that explore the practical implications of the concepts examined, and provides contact information for each group involved in the case. Case studies include the Beaverhead/Deerlodge National Forest, Montana; Pinhook Swamp Linkage, northeastern Florida; National Gap Analysis Program; CALFED Bay-Delta Program, California; and numerous others. In addition, she includes planning guidelines which summarize the main points of the chapters, and a useful glossary of ecologicalterms.”Planning for Biodiversity” synthesizes and explains important ecological concepts and represents the first guide for planners that clearly details how to incorporate conservation plans into their work. Planners, landscape architects and designers, planning and design students, developers, local officials, and anyone interested in designing and developing more ecologically sound land-use projects will find the book an invaluable resource.