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Extreme Architecture: Building for Challenging Environments [Hardcover]

Ruth Slavid
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

7 Sep 2009
Architects face some of their most difficult challenges from building in extreme environments, which draw out some of their most interesting and inspiring work. Extreme Architecture showcases 45 recent buildings designed for challenging environments, giving valuable insights into the extremes of architectural thinking. Projects range from a desert refuge in southern Arizona to a floating marine research centre, an underground seed vault in northern Norway and a research station at the South Pole. Each case study begins with a clearly presented table listing the altitude, annual rainfall and average temperatures of the site. Photographs show the project in its environment, as well as drawings, site plans and computer renderings where appropriate. Following a brief introduction, the book is divided into five chapters: Hot, Cold, High, Wet and Space. Architects featured include Zaha Hadid, Mario Botta and Foster & Partners.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Laurence King (7 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185669609X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856696098
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 22.8 x 25 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ruth Slavid is an architectural writer and editor. She worked for The Architects' Journal for 15 years, in roles including deputy editor and online editor. She is the author of Wood Architecture (2005), Wood Houses (2006), and Micro: Very Small Architecture (2007), all published by Laurence King.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Low-quality coffee table material 31 Aug 2009
Upon flicking through "Extreme Architecture", I was immediately put on my guard by a number of projects that I would not normally consider falling within the domain of "extreme architecture" but rather "extreme folly". There are two ski jumps, a couple of floating spas, some concept CGIs for an underwater hotel, and Spaceport America in New Mexico. Testimony to my mind in how far the author has been prepared to stretch the interpretation of "Extreme" includes the inclusion of the Ice Hotel / Bars that now litter most capital cities. Is that extreme? Extreme commercialisation perhaps, but not extreme architecture. Also making the cut is the Snow Show in Sestriere - hardly `extreme' and more sculpture than architecture - including Foster's particularly banal GPS co-ordinates snow carving.

Upon further reading, my worst fears were confirmed - the book is littered with hotels, cruise terminals, arts, cultural centres, and spas and has the overall feeling of an Ypma "Hip Hotels" book rather than a serious architectural text. There is very little engagement with true `extreme' living and how vernacular solutions have evolved to cope with living at the limits of human endurance. Many of the projects included in the text seem to have very little do with responding to extreme climates and very much to do with having a `funky form' in order to attract tourists and visitors to this supposedly inhospitable environment. The one project that did catch my eye as a true extreme architectural engagement was Casa Segura - safe housing for border hoppers from Mexico heading into the US.

The presentation of the book is also inconsistent - some projects feature plans and sections, others just photos, and my overall impression is that the text could have been thinned out by about 75% through the judicious use of some clear environmental diagrams showing the main way the building moderates its `extreme' climate.

Lightweight, low-quality coffee table stuff.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book 2 Nov 2009
By Betty J. Goble - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having a son who is an architect of course I loved the book. Casa Segura is the reason I bought the book. Robert Ransick's design and outstanding concept of this little dwelling that has so much potential can now be known and seen for everyone.
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