The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community

The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of CommunityAuthor(s): Peter Katz, Vincent Scully

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

ISBN: 70338892

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245 pages December 1993

An exploration of new suburban communities and neighborhoods on the edge of the 21st century.

The New Urbanism is a movement that seeks to restore a civil realm to urban planning and a sense of place to our communities. It is a tangible response to the failed Modernist planning that has resulted in unchecked suburban sprawl, slavish dependence on the automobile, and the abandonment and decay of our cities. Katz, who heads a marketing and design firm, brings together in this informative and accessible book the voices and case studies of the young architects and planners who practice the New Urbanism–Peter Calthorpe, Andres Duany, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, among them. They gear their designs to the scale of the pedestrian and seek to promote a symbiotic relationship between urban development and public transportation. An often published example of this movement is the community of Seaside, Florida. Extensively illustrated with plans, diagrams, and color photographs and renderings, this highly instructive book is a must for architecture and urban planning collections, and suitable for general readers.
– Thomas P.R. Nugent, New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Table of Contents:

I. Introduction;

II. Examples of the New Urbanism:

  • Satellite Towns;
  • New Towns on the Edge;
  • Urban Insertions;
  • Urban Reconstruction;
  • Regional Plan, Policy Studies;

III. Appendix, Reference Material. Index. 11 x 8 1/2. 500 illustrations.

Buildings of Earth and Straw : Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw Bale Architecture

Buildings of Earth and Straw : Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw Bale Architecture

Author(s): Bruce King

Publisher: Chelsea Green

ISBN: 0964471817

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Buildings of Earth and Straw : Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw Bale Architecture

Paperback, 169 pages
Publication date: April 1997

Chelsea Green’s The Rammed Earth House and The Straw Bale House chronicle the possibilities and realities of straw bale and rammed earth construction. Buildings of Earth and Strawfills in the gaps for professional builders, contractors, engineers, inspectors, lenders, and architectural students. It includes special construction requirements of earth and straw, design capabilities and limitations of these materials, and documentation of testing data for use in addressing the concerns of officials. This book offers the nuts and bolts of rammed earth and straw bale building techniques, and why they are so spectacular, durable, and earth-friendly.


“Bruce King has produced a book that is both long overdue and quite timely. While I find most technical books to be dry, uninteresting, and difficult to read, Bruce has managed to provide technical information in an accessible and entertaining manner. Although parts of his book will admittedly require engineering training to understand, even the uninitiated builder will find a wealth of usable material here.”
Bob Fowler, FAIA, PE, PBO past Chairman, International Conference of Building Officials, founding member, International Codes Council

“A revolution in environmentally friendly house construction is arriving. In this book, Bruce King explores the details and methods for building durable and safe earth and straw houses.”
Sim Van der Ryn, Architect, Educator, Author of Ecological Design


Table of Contents



Who Would Want to Read This Book, and Why?
Earth and Straw: Natural Companions
What We Will and Will Not Talk About
A Footnote About Bamboo…

Part One: BASICS

Abbreviations and Acronyms
Structures and Forces

Physical Forces That Act On Structures
Some Other Variables
Gravity Loads
Lateral Loads
In-plane Forces
Out-of-plane Forces
Earthquake Loads
Other Lateral Force Systems

Part Two: EARTH

The Material

Stabilized Earth
Rammed Earth
Stabilized Earth Mix Design–A Case Study

density and chemistry tests
compressive strength tests
moisture exposure tests
bond strength tests
fastener tests
admixture tests
absorptivity tests
erosion and wear resistance tests

Design in Non-seismic Areas
Design in Seismic Areas
Bond Beams
Lateral Loads
Analysis Method
Design and Construction Considerations

Stabilized Earth
Rammed Earth
Sample Calculations

Case 1: Seismic zone 2B

check h/t ratio
axial compressive stress at top of footing
Case 2: Seismic zone 4, wall cantilevered

check h/t ratio
horizontal earthquake load
compressive bending stress
shear stress
tensile bending stress in reinforcing
Case 3: Seismic zone 4, same wall restrained at top

horizontal earthquake load
design fc
compressive bending stress
shear stress
tensile bending stress in reinforcing
wall connection at top
Appendix E-1: Soil References
Appendix E-2: Soil-cement References
Appendix E-3: Sample Specification

Part Three: STRAW

The Material

Bale Variables
Bale Wall Types
Test Results–Straw Bale and Wall Properties

Bou-Ali test, Tucson, Arizona
SHB AGRA test, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Ship Harbour Project test, Nova Scotia
Fibrehouse Limited test, Ottawa, Ontario

Load-bearing Straw-bale Walls
Gravity (Vertical) Loading
Lateral Loading: Wind
Lateral Loading: Earthquake
Non-load-bearing Straw-bale Walls
Design and Construction Considerations

Bales and Pinning
Wall Settling
Sample Calculations

Case 1: Load-bearing Walls

design for bale bearing and precompression
check plaster skin in compression
design for out-of-plane shear
design for in-plane shear
Case 2: Non-load-bearing Walls

design for bale bearing and precompression
design for out-of-plane shear
design for in-plane shear
Appendix S-1: Straw Panels

Pyramod International, Inc., City of Industry, California
Stramit, U.S.A. L.L.C., Perryton, Texas
BioFab, Redding, California
Meadowood, Albany, Oregon
Appendix S-2: California Straw-bale Code

Stabilized Earth
Seismic Zone Map of the United States
Unit Conversion Tables

Base Units
SI Prefixes
SI Derived Unites with Special Names
Conversion Factors


The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses

The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses

Author(s): Lester Walker

Publisher: Overlook Press

ISBN: 0879515104

ISBN-13: 978-0879515102

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The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses

96 pages
Rei Gift edition July 1998

From George Bernard Shaw’s writing hut to a tiny Cape Cod honeymoon cottage, here are 17 of the smallest, most charming retreats ever built. Award-winning architect Lester Walker explores the minute details of each tiny house, captured by plentiful photographs.

Customer Comments

Ron from New Brunswick, Canada , October 8, 1998
This Tiny Book of Tiny Houses packs a BIG punch! It’s hard to believe that such a small book is so big on content — not that there’s an abundance of it, but what you read will no doubt inspire you to want (to build) one of these quaint homes for your very own.

from Whidbey Island, WA , April 23, 1998
Simplify your life by downsizing your house! This book is a great visual treat. It shows you how people can live in very small places. It got me to build a 10′ x 14′ teenager’s cottage with my two sons. We had a great time, spent about $1400 and now have a get-a-way in the woods.

The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty

The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty

Author(s): Soetsu Yanagi

Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd.

ISBN: 0870119486

ISBN-13: 978-0870119484

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The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty

Paperback 230 pages
Revised edition
February 1990

This book challenges the conventional ideas of art and beauty. What is the value of things made by an anonymous craftsman working in a set tradition for a lifetime? What is the value of handwork? Why should even the roughly lacquered rice bowl of a Japanese farmer be thought beautiful? The late Soetsu Yanagi was the first to fully explore the traditional Japanese appreciation for “objects born, not made.”

Mr. Yanagi sees folk art as a manifestation of the essential world from which art, philosophy, and religion arise and in which the barriers between them disappear. The implications of the author’s ideas are both far-reaching and practical.

Soetsu Yanagi is often mentioned in books on Japanese art, but this is the first translation in any Western language of a selection of his major writings. The late Bernard Leach, renowned British potter and friend of Mr. Yanagi for fifty years, has clearly transmitted the insights of one of Japan’s most important thinkers. The seventy-six plates illustrate objects that underscore the universality of his concepts. The author’s profound view of the creative process and his plea for a new artistic freedom within tradition are especially timely now when the importance of craft and the handmade object is being rediscovered.

The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design

The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design

Author(s): Sandra Mendler, William Odell, Mary Ann Lazarus

ISBN: 0471696137

ISBN-13: 978-0471696131

Hardcover: 480 pages

Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (November 29, 2005)

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This comprehensive guide is a real-world design tool for sustainable design. Assembled by the world’s largest architectural/engineering design firm — Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum — this book helps architects, engineers, planners, interior designers and landscape architects integrate sustainable design strategies into their work. Far from being an all-or-nothing proposition, it shows how sustainable design thinking can improve projects within the conventional constraints of budget, schedule and market demand. It provides practical guidelines that enhance real projects, including urban planning, site design, buildings, interiors and renovations. This book:

  • Demonstrates how real, completed, sustainable design projects are economically viable and increase client satisfaction.
  • Provides a clear road map for the integrated multidisciplinary design process that is critical to the successful development of sustainable design projects.
  • Captures the key principles of sustainable design in a list of “Ten Simple Things You Can Do.”
  • Provides concise checklists of issues to consider at each stage of the design process, followed by detailed how-to guidance.
  • Contains a detailed glossary of terms and a list of top print and Internet resources.
  • Covers issues and design strategies related to site planning and design, energy and water conservation, materials selection and specification and interior environmental quality.
  • Features twenty-four case studies of a variety of international HOK projects. 

Graphic Guide to Frame Construction: Details for Builders and Designers

Frame Construction

Author(s): Rob Thallon

Publisher: Taunton Press

ISBN: 1561583537

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A reigning classic, the Graphic Guide to Frame Construction is a complete visual handbook for wood-frame construction with a special emphasis on energy efficiency. Filled with hundreds of meticulous drawings, it shows the framing details you need to understand when building with wood.

This completely revised and updated edition is more comprehensive and reflects the most recent changes in residential frame construction. It contains more details for energy efficiency, use of modern engineered and composite materials, and construction in high-wind and seismic areas. It’s well annotated and covers foundations, floors, walls, stairs and roofs. Because examples are taken from actual job sites by a trusted expert, this book is an invaluable visual aid that can help builders and homeowners alike to tackle a wide range of framing projects. Whether building a partition or flashing a window, you’ll find the visual explanation here.

Graphic Guide to Frame Construction is a valuable reference for architects and builders, and an ideal primer for students and owner-builders. Starting with the foundation, the book moves systematically from component to component ending with the roof. Regional variations and options are included. These details were mined from actual job sites through the input of a panel of builders and architects from around the U.S. Graphic Guide to Frame Construction is an authoritative reference that helps you review your options and solve specific problems no matter where or what you’re building.

240 pages, 2000

“As a reference on wood framing and enclosure details, Graphic Guide is hard to beat. It’s very well organized and clearly written. The illustrations are sharp, well annotated and drawn at a 1- or 1-1/2-inch scale, so they can be easily transferred to working drawings. And Thallon’s treatment is extensive, often showing several different ways of doing a job.”

The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling

The Solar House: Passive Heating and CoolingAuthor(s): Dan Chiras
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Green (October 1, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1931498121
ISBN-13: 978-1931498128

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Passive solar heating and passive cooling—approaches known as natural conditioning—provide comfort throughout the year by reducing, or eliminating, the need for fossil fuel. Yet while heat from sunlight and ventilation from breezes is free for the taking, few modern architects or builders really understand the principles involved. Now Dan Chiras, author of the popular book “The Natural House,” brings those principles up to date for a new generation of solar enthusiasts. The techniques required to heat and cool a building passively have been used for thousands of years. Early societies such as the Native American Anasazis and the ancient Greeks perfected designs that effectively exploited these natural processes. The Greeks considered anyone who didn’t use passive solar to heat a home to be a barbarian! In the United States, passive solar architecture experienced a major resurgence of interest in the 1970s in response to crippling oil embargoes. With grand enthusiasm but with scant knowledge (and sometimes little common sense), architects and builders created a wide variety of solar homes. Some worked pretty well, but looked more like laboratories than houses. Others performed poorly, overheating in the summer because of excessive or misplaced windows and skylights, and growing chilly in the colder months because of insufficient thermal mass and insulation and poor siting. In “The Solar House,” Dan Chiras sets the record straight on the vast potential for passive heating and cooling. Acknowledging the good intentions of misguided solar designers in the past, he highlights certain egregious—and entirely avoidable—errors. More importantly, Chiras explains in methodical detail how today’s home builders can succeed with solar designs. Now that energy efficiency measures including higher levels of insulation and multi-layered glazing have become standard, it is easier than ever before to create a comfortable and affordable passive solar house that will provide year-round comfort in any climate. Moreover, since modern building materials and airtight construction methods sometimes result in air-quality and even toxicity problems, Chiras explains state-of-the-art ventilation and filtering techniques that complement the ancient solar strategies of thermal mass and daylighting. Chiras also explains the new diagnostic aids available in printed worksheet or software formats, allowing readers to generate their own design schemes.

Introduction to Stormwater: Concept, Purpose, Design

Introduction to Stormwater: Concept, Purpose, Design

Author(s): Bruce K. Ferguson

Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 13, 1998)

ISBN: 047116528X

ISBN-13: 978-0471165286

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This professional reference tool combines basic concepts of hydrology with the latest applications for landscape architecture and site engineering–including effective, eco-friendly, and people-friendly design methods for:
* Wetlands construction
* Groundwater recharge
* Infiltration
* Porous pavements
* Stream restoration
* Water harvesting

Stormwater management is an essential component of all landscape architecture and site engineering projects. Introduction to Stormwater helps solve environmental problems that arise in the process of planning, implementing, and evaluating the built environment.

This useful guide is of singular importance to landscape architects, civil engineers, architects, wetlands scientists, and other environmental professionals who must comply with ever-changing government regulations. Concepts such as drainage, runoff quality, and drought control are presented in an easy-to-learn, nontechnical format, using case studies drawn from all regions of the United States. Over 200 charts, tables, photographs, and examples aid in conceptualization and calculations. Each chapter contains exercises to ensure that the user acquires applied skills essential to professional licensure exams and practice in the field, as well as information on related software.

From the Publisher

Stormwater management is a growing concern for landscape architects and related professionals–most urban development projects now require some type of stormwater management to comply with local, state, or federal regulations. This book gives designers and others involved in these projects the fundamental concepts of stormwater management from the local to the regional scale.


Built By Hand

Built By Hand
Authors: Eiko Komatsu, Athena Steen, Bill Steen
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Gibbs Smith, Publisher; 1 edition (September 26, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158685237X
ISBN-13: 978-1586852375

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A modern, full-color version of the Bernard Rudofsky classic ‘Architecture without Architects’, this book takes readers on a magnificent journey to distant corners of the earth in search of the world’s most amazing vernacular architecture. It is the most comprehensive and groundbreaking documentation of hand-made architecture ever published. (Prarie Avenue Bookshop Holiday Gift Guide )

From elaborate bamboo structures in Sumba, Indonesia, to houses carved out of volcanic rock in Cappadocia, Turkey, and homes made from earth-block in Chipaya, Bolivia, Japanese photographer Yoshio Komatsu (assisted by spouse Eiko) has traveled the world photographing vernacular structures. The Steens (The Straw Bale House) provide captions and notes on construction techniques in stone, reeds and many other materials. With more than 700 full-color photos in an 8″X9″ format, the book takes readers to Ethiopia, Iran, Japan, Spain, Venezuela and many other places. (Publishers Weekly )

“more than just a collection of amazing photos” (The Last Straw Journal )

Product Description

Shelter the Human Family is the most extensive documentation ever published of traditional (“vernacular”) buildings throughout the world. With examples from nearly every continent, the book documents the diverse methods people have used to create shelter from locally available natural materials, and shows the impressively handmade finished products through this truly stunning compilation of photographs. Unlike modern buildings that rely on industrially produced materials and highly specialized electric tools and techniques, the shelters featured here represent a rapidly disappearing genre of handcrafted and beautifully composed structures. They are the work of simple and real people who, as builders and homesteaders, have integrated artistic beauty and practical form into their shelter needs. Shelter the Human Family offers insights into the world of vernacular building, along with potential solutions to many of the problems that plague modern architecture. It is a must-have collection that preserves and documents the rich cultural past of each structure and its community, and offers inspiration for those looking to build in a way that is motivated by something larger than speed, efficiency, and economic profit. Bill and Athena Steen are the authors of The Straw Bale House and The Beauty of Straw Bale. They are active in community building programs that teach low-income families how to build their own shelters, and known for their efforts to incorporate artistic techniques based on local and natural materials into the world of modern construction. They live in Elgin, Arizona. Yoshio Komatsu has been photographing buildings and people around the world for 25 years. His photographs were collected in the Japanese book Living on Earth, and his work is regularly published in books, magazines, and calendars throughout Japan. This is his first book in English. He and his wife, Eiko, live in Tokyo.

A Shelter Sketchbook: Timeless Building Solutions

A Shelter Sketchbook: Timeless Building Solutions

Author(s): John S. Taylor

Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co

ISBN: 1890132020

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A Shelter Sketchbook: Timeless Building Solutions

Reprint Edition
Paperback, 160 pages
Publication date: September 1997

In a new take on sustainable living and building, John Taylor presents a stunning array of traditional building techniques and housing solutions from around the world and from history. Most are motivated by available materials, economic necessity, and local climate and terrain. In this time of growing interest in earth-friendly building techniques, Taylor shows us that we need to relearn many practical aspects of constructing shelter and must blend the technologies of the present with the traditions of the past, with those of other cultures, and even with those of our own grandparents. Taylor, an architectural designer, has filled this delightful book with remarkable drawings and sketches of building techniques gleaned from his travels; it is a feast for the eyes as well as the brain.