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How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built [Paperback]

Stewart Brand
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Jun 1997
Stewart Brand puts forward the radical proposal adapt best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants, and that architects can mature from being artists of time.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New edition edition (9 Jun 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753800500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753800508
  • Product Dimensions: 26.6 x 21.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

The best version of the book
The British edition of my HOW BUILDINGS LEARN is much the best, because it is so well printed, and the 250 photographs read very well. Critical remarks about buildings by Richard Rogers, however, were censored out of this edition, thanks to legal threats by Mr. Rogers. They are intact in the American editions. The BBC did a fine 6-part TV series based on the book.

About the Author

Stewart Brand is, with Daniel Hillis, Kevin Kelly, and Brian Eno, a founding member of the Long Now Foundation. He began The Whole Earth Catalogue (10 milllion copies sold, worldwide) & co-founded the Global Business Network.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A call for "adaptable architecture" 20 Feb 2004
Format:Paperback
We assume a building is permanent when it's built and will pretty much remain the same. But the reality is that buildings are dynamic, they constantly change, as the owners or occupiers make small or large scale alterations. Brand's book highlights the fact that no building is permanent in its present condition, all buildings must change to adapt, buildings that cease to change, cease to function and are abandoned.
This is a theory backed up by real examples, drawn mainly from the USA, but also from Europe. Using photos from archives Brand records the changes individual buildings go through and the diverse results these demands create. We get to see how the appearance and function of individual buildings change in many real life examples.
The book shows the reader how time adds to a building. He recognises the different pressures for change for different types of buildings: Commercial, residential and institutional buildings, go through.
The author is not an architect, which explains why it is so refreshing, enjoyable and easily read. It has a clear message to all those involved in architecture and building design, that we must be able to build structures that are adaptable. We are given examples of "high road" or signature architecture that can not be changed, and since it can't adapt it is causing real difficulties for its users.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read the book about 4 years ago as a sixth Year student of Architect in the UK. Its is excelent and some of the simple diagrams in it influenced my sixth year disertation. As an Architect it is sometimes difficult to read Brands valid criticism of over specific design, but having done so i would recommend it to anyone, particularly Architects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly fascinating read... 22 April 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I first read this book when I borrowed the American edition from the local library; I was so impressed that I bought the British edition shortly afterwards.
It really makes you think about the nature of buildings and how they can change/adapt over time. Some great photographs too, especially the sets of photographs of the same building over a period of years, illustrating just how fundamentally the appearance/use of a building can change over the course of its lifetime.
Top marks, Mr. Brand! Hope you've got something just as good in the pipeline.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great SecondHand Book 23 Mar 2014
By Jo0Lz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great quality for a secondhand item and rapid shipping as well as well packaged. All ready knew the book was worth a read and flick through the pictures...
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So I bought this one for my daughter, to stop her swiping my last copy. She agrees that it is a very useful eye-opener about building in general. The examples in the book are American, but the underlying grasp of how buildings should function, and why you should string up all award-winning architects from their badly-designed rafters (or throw them off their failed, leaking flat roofs) is just as applicable anywhere else.

If you haven't read this, shame on you.
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