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Drawing: The Motive Force of Architecture (Architectural Design Primer) Paperback – 13 Dec 2013

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“Peter Cook’s enthusiasm for imagined realities and unbuilt schemes is irresistible.” (bdonline.co.uk, March 2014)

From the Back Cover

Focusing on the creative and inventive significance of drawing for architecture, this book by one of its greatest proponents, Peter Cook, is an established classic. It exudes Cook’s delight and his wide ranging, catholic tastes for the architectural. Readers are provided with perceptive insights at every turn. The book features some of the greatest and most intriguing drawings by architects, ranging from Frank Lloyd Wright, William Heath Robinson, Le Corbusier and Otto Wagner to Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Arata Isozaki, Eric Owen Moss, Bernard Tschumi and Lebbeus Woods; as well as key works by Cook and other members of the original Archigram group. For this new edition, Cook provides a substantial new chapter that charts the speed at which the trajectory of drawing is moving. It reflects the increasing sophistication of available software and also the ways in which ‘hand drawing’ and the ‘digital’ are being eclipsed by new hybrids – injecting drawing with a fresh momentum. These ‘crossovers’ provide a whole new territory as attempts are made to release drawing from the boundaries of a solitary moment, a single viewing position or a single referential language. Featuring the likes of Toyo Ito, Perry Kulper, Izaskun Chinchilla, Kenny Kinugasa–Tsui, Ali Rahim, John Berglund and Lorène Faure, it leads to fascinating insights into the effect that medium has upon intention and definition of an idea or a place. Is a pencil drawing more attuned to a certain architecture than an ink drawing, or is a particular colour evocative of a certain atmosphere? In a world where a Maya® drawing is creatively contributing something different from a Rhinoceros® drawing, there is much to demand of future techniques.

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Amazon.com: 10 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Author's Writing Style Poses Challenges 8 Mar 2014
By V. Hutson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was intrigued with the idea behind this book--"the creative and inventive significance of drawing for architecture." Unfortunately, I found the text extremely difficult to understand without reading every sentence a couple of times! This was truly disappointing. I finally just gave up and glanced through the images which really wasn't that useful since they don't mean as much when it is so difficult to understand the accompanying text.

I do think there is a small select group of people who may enjoy and benefit from this book. I'm just not in that group.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A few decent pictures in a sea of babble 2 Mar 2014
By Dan Bergevin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To start with, let me clarify that this is not a book about architectural drawing. It is a book about rendering ideas visually using every type of media you can imagine. So for every example of a drawing there are about ten examples of paintings, models, and an abundance of the typical modern 3D models gone horribly wrong. Add to this Cook's inability to clearly state any point, and you have a pretty bad example of an architectural drawing book.

Here's a quick example of the kind of twisted verbosity you'll have to wade through while reading this book:

"If it is the recurrent thesis of this book that drawing - of every kind - is a motor that absorbs imagination and converts it into usable or transferable information or inspiration, thus self-consciousness is but another form of evaluation."

Ignore the terrible structuring and obvious lack of logical thinking, and you get a statement about how drawing is a way to capture and transfer information. And this was one of Cook's attempts to clarify himself! You can only imagine how badly the rest of the book reads.

I found that Cook's attempt is just an exercise in pretentious slog of the type you'd hear spewing from some theorist's mouth at a black-tie exhibit. There are comparatively few visual examples given for the volume of text, and some examples are profoundly worthwhile (Arthur Beresford Pite, Neil Denari, Hans Poelzig) while the vast majority simply are not.

This is my second attempt at reading an Architectural Design (AD) series book and trying to make sense of it or find anything useful to take away from it. Both attempts have been failures. I have a third one coming, and I'm now starting to really worry about it.

Recommended substitutes:

Visual Notes for Architects and Designers by Norman Crowe and Paul Laseau
Architects' Sketchbooks by Will Jones and Narinder Sagoo

The first book is an excellent primer on the reasoning and methods behind visually rendering ideas and observations. The second book is a compendium of architectural renderings, mostly in crude form, showing the formation of ideas without letting the book's text get in the way. Go forth, learn, and be inspired. And if you want vacuous babble then there's plenty of that online, so there's no need to buy this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good pictures - but text is a doublethink nightmare. 13 Mar 2014
By eric talerico - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although this book includes some interesting drawings, the text is a convoluted, un-inspiring doublethink nightmare. I found a few of the drawings to be very interesting, but when I looked into the text to see why the author included them, there was nothing of interest. Check it out in a library before adding this one to your own.
Dense Text, Wonderful Illustrations, Sort of Frustrating 17 April 2014
By Theseus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a highly catholic approach to the relationship between architecture and drawing. It is not, per se, a book about architecture, but rather a book about how various ways of "drawing" (including computer-assisted forms) can be used as forms of expression. I was very excited to get my hands on the book and initially was pulled in by the general design and the many historical examples from a wide group of draw-ers. However, reading the book from the beginning was a bit of a slog.
Gorgeous Drawings and Inspiring Text 17 April 2014
By frankp93 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
These wonderfully diverse and dynamic reproductions are not ‘architectural plans’ in the narrow sense to build from. This is not a textbook of the kind I lugged to my ‘technical drawing’ class in high school with my T-square and pencil case. Rather than a book about ‘how’ to draw, it’s a book about ‘why’ to draw – about the creative impulse expressing itself through the communication of form and space.

The majority of these illustrations were created for competitions and exhibitions by architects, by and large, for known audiences of fellow architects. I didn’t learn this until well underway reading but it clarified the text itself - which reads like a gallery exhibition catalog, full of contemplation, exploring psychological and historical angles.

The works are in various media spanning the spectrum of abstract and imaginary to classically representational. The freedom of expression and dynamism is palpable on every page and the variety of detail is staggering – I’ve spent literally hours staring at the illustrations alone and feel I’ve barely scratched the surface of their essence.

While the majority of the renderings are ‘hand drawn’ there’s a fascinating discussion of the impact of technology on the creative architectural design process and examples of computer-generated works.

If I have a criticism of the book it’s the size: at roughly 8 5/8” x 6 5/8”, ‘Drawing – The Motive Force of Architecture’ really cries out to be a coffee table-sized book, or at least an 11 ½” trade size. It’s just slightly larger than those Penguin World of Art books I used to collect – no matter how gorgeous the reproductions, it’s just difficult to lose yourself fully and drink in pictures that relatively small.

Lastly, while the mention of Frank Lloyd Wright is sure to catch the eye of casual architecture buffs, Wright is really a stylistic outlier here and readers expecting such kinds of drawing may be disappointed. (A terrific book for fans of Wright’s drawing worth seeking out is ‘Frank Lloyd Wright - In the Realm of Ideas’).
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