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.