Building Construction Illustrated

Cover, Building Construction IllustratedAuthor(s): Frank Ching, Francis D. K. Ching

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0471288853

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2nd Edition
Publication date: May 1991

Customer Comments:
from Norman, OK , 04/16/98, rating=8: Helpful architect’s reference. This book gives simple guides to design work. Like a simplified “Graphic Standards”. Ching offers super illustrations, lots of details and answers a lot of questions for me as an architecture student. I recommend to all designers.

from Los Gatos, CA
02/18/98, rating=9:
Very useful for understanding small-scale construction

The first edition was entirely hand-drawn (the 2nd ed. may be as well) and covers the difference between a hip and a gable roof, slabs, grade beams and other details of modern construction. If you want to know the difference between western platform and balloon framing, this is a fine book. It’s primarily a reference book, but it could be read cover to cover.

Down to Earth : Foundations Past and Present : The Invisible Art of the Builder

Down to Earth : Foundations Past and Present : The Invisible Art of the Builder

Author(s): Jean Kerisel

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 9061916887

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Written in straightforward non-technical language, with numerous diagrams and photographs, this book takes a look at ‘the invisible art’ of the great builders: how they founded their constructions in the earth and strove to understand and combat the natural forces, such as earth pressures, water, landslides, earthquakes, and almost imperceptible geological changes, with which they had to contend. A great many examples, including the ziggurats of Mesopotamia, the pyramids of Egypt, the Roman roads, the Tower of Pisa, the Eddystone Lighthouse, the Panama Canal, the Thames Tunnel and the Eiffel Tower, are used to illustrate various aspects of this long battle. Man has gradually mastered physical constraints and undertaken increasingly ambitious projects, seeking solutions initially by trial and error and later through scientific study, The final part of the book looks to the future and discusses the threats to a number of great cities and what has been done to counter them. This fascinating history, written with humour and affection, pays tribute to the largely unknown ‘backroom boys’ of construction, whose work usually attracts attention only when things go wrong.


Hardcover Publication date: August 1987


Design Guide to Frost Protected Shallow Foundations

Cover, Design Guide to Frost Protected Shallow Foundations

Design Guide to Frost Protected Shallow Foundations

Author(s): NAHB Research Center

Available as web page or PDF
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For decades, standard construction practice and building codes required that foundation footings be built below the frost line. A frost protected shallow foundation uses strategically placed insulation to raise the frost depth around a building, which can reduce the footing depth to as little as 16 inches, even in severely cold climates. Nordic countries have been using these methods for years. And now you can too, with the information in this detailed report prepared by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center. The report covers the theory and practice of frost protected shallow foundations and includes all the details you need to design and build in any U.S. climate. 42 pages. 1995

Build Your Own underground Root Cellar

Cover, Build Your Own Underground Root CellarAuthor: Phyllis Hobson

ISBN: 0882662902

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Build Your Own Underground Root Cellar #A76

Describes the right location, tools, and materials needed. Includes detailed drawings on building the cellar. Adapting the cellar to your needs. Getting the most from your root cellar. Gives storage requirements of individual fruits and vegetables. Root cellar maintenance. Country Wisdom Bulletin. Paperback, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches, 32 pages with line drawings.

Each “how to” booklet is easy to read and offers clear direction.

They are a great place to start a small project…like building a compost holder or mulching a garden properly. Many of the authors are well known experts, and these booklets are a condensation of one topic, or the information has been excerpted from a bigger, more expensive book. At $4.00 each they are affordable, and are a fast read.

Root Cellaring : Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

Cover, Root Cellaring : Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

Author(s): by Mike Bubel, Nancy Bubel, Pam Art (Editor)

Publisher: Storey Books

ISBN: 0882667033

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Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

320 pages
2nd edition
October 1991

The publisher, Storey Books , April 24, 1998
Root cellaring is a simple, energy-saving way to keep food fresh all year. This book explains building and using different types of root cellars and which vegetables and fruits store best. Includes specific storage requirements for nearly 100 home garden crops, plus dozens of delicious recipes.

Customer Comments

Annette Kent from Rupert, Idaho, USA ,October 6, 1998
Very informative, and complete in all areas of information. I was looking for how to build a root celler. Several Ideas were presented, along with what can be stored, how to store it and how long it could likely be stored. I first saw this book as a loan from another library. Now I want to get one to have as reference in my library.

Passive Solar Buildings (Solar Heat Technologies : Fundamentals and Applications, Vol 7)

Passive Solar Buildings (Solar Heat Technologies : Fundamentals and Applications, Vol 7)

Passive Solar Buildings (Solar Heat Technologies : Fundamentals and Applications, Vol 7)Author(s): J. Douglas Balcomb (Editor)

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262023415

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Passive Solar Buildings (Solar Heat Technologies : Fundamentals and Applications, Vol 7)

Hardcover, 534 pages
Publication date: August 1992

Booknews, Inc, 12/01/92:
This companion to Passive cooling and Solar building architecture covers passive solar heating of residential and commercial buildings. The information is primarily analytical and quantitative. About half the volume is devoted to quantitative methods for modeling, simulation, and design analysis of passive buildings; the other half summarizes the quantitative results of testing and monitoring of models and buildings. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Table of Contents
Series Foreword By Charles A. Bankston
1. Introduction By J. Douglas Balcomb
2. Building Solar Gain Modeling By Patrick J. Burns
3. Simulation Analysis By Philip W. B. Niles
4. Simplified Methods By G. F. Jones, William O. Wray
5. Materials and Components By Timothy E. Johnson
6. Analytical Results for Specific Systems By Robert W. Jones
7. Test Modules By Fuller Moore
8. Building Integration By Michael J. Holtz
9. Performance Monitoring and Results By Donald J. Frey
10. Design Tools By John S. Reynolds

Passive Solar House Basics

Passive Solar House Basics

Passive Solar House BasicsAuthor(s): Peter Van Dresser

Publisher: Ancient City Press

ISBN: 0941270904

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Lays out in plain language what an owner/builder or designer will need to know about siting, designing, constructing, and living in a solar adobe home. Van Dresser’s text and pictures provide a beginner’s course in adobe construction and passive solar heat collection, including suggestions for natural heat circulation and heat storage in thermal mass. Included are sample house plans, ideas for solar hot water heaters, and plans-to-scale for solar crop dryers.

From the Back Cover

How-To House Construction Solar Anyone who has been in a solar house, on a cold winter day has felt the warmth and comfort of its natural radiant heat. In 1958, solar pioneer Peter van Dresser built his first solor-heated house, one of the two oldest in the United States. In Passive Solar House Basics, van Dresser lats out in text and illustrations the principles an owner builder will need to know in siting, designing, building, and living in their solar house. Several sample house plans, ideas for solar hot water heaters, and plans for solar crop dryers give the solar enthusiast the basic information they will need to begin plans on their energy efficient home. In this book van Dresser shows that solar energy can be economically harnessed by simple means. Means that are within the grasp of the average homeowner and builder. “…an everyman’s guide that could easily become the textbook for the beginning professional in the arts and sciences of buildings.” -Jeffrey Cook, College of Architecture Arizone State University

136 pages Publication date: April 1996

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.

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.

Graphic Guide to Frame Construction: Details for Builders and Designers

Cover, Graphic Guide to Frame Construction: Details for Builders and Designers (updated)

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.”