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Places of the Soul: Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art Paperback – 1 Dec 2003

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Places of the Soul: Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art + Environment and Children: Passive Lessons from the Everyday Environment
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (1 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750659017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750659017
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.6 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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First Sentence
Architects tend to think architecture matters. Read the first page
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Sep 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book about architecture I've read that makes HUMAN sense. If you think that between "perfect" material performance that makes you tired and sick and slightly less perfect performance that makes you feel centred and happy the choice should be obvious... If you feel that modern buildings are dead and then feel enchanted and energised in much less sophisticated, traditional buildings, build with love and respect for their surroundings... buy this book: it will confirm all that most of us know is true intuitively. If you are an architect or builder PLEASE buy and study this book: it will make a lot of positive difference in your work (and the lives of your clients!).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By angelaneustatter on 23 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Christopher writes like a dream but what he has to say is grounded in the greatest sense and reality. He believes we have allowed the idea of architecture as an ego-led competitive profession, to stamp over the much more fundamental business of how we create buildings - and very much homes - with soul. As he says we send so much time in or near buildings "that it is true to say that most of our environmental experience is affected by architecture". He takes a broad and fascinating view of how we may view our built world, and the places we build, taking of architecture as potentially a dangerous tool ... that environment can be used ot manipulate people through to to discussing how, when designing a home for someone he wants them to be as fully involved in the whole process from visiting ground and really feeling what it means for them, to thinking about the way they will live in it, possibly modelling it , and thinking about the materials to be used and how far they are empathetic to human wellbeing.
He is as his title tells, much concerned with the soul of our places which he describes as "an intangible feeling" , a repository for sensory experiences.
Day has much to say, and fiercely, about what has gone wrong with our building with the pursuit of profit destroying cities and countyside and he says "in terms of spiritual nourishment deeper than the glossy cosmetic, much of our daily surroundings approach bankruptcy."
The author is erudite, hugely informed and with boundless important ideas for our time. Yet don't imagine this makes it a forbidding book. Far from it and I urge you to read it. Day takes us on a fascinating journey writing, as I say, like a dream
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
What an insightful, moving and inspiring book. 11 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mr.Day's philosophies about architecture is inspiring. You go through each day being influenced by your surroundings, but never realizing how or why you sometimes feel as you do (good or bad). A good heathly location with a structure that evolves from the ground up, in harmony with it's surroundings, can only bring harmony and balance to your inner being. I can't imagine not being aware of these things before, but now that I have read Mr. Day's book I will never look at architecture design in the same way. The overall influence of the book is very powerful, as a matter of fact so powerful we have contact Mr. Day to design our new house in the Sonoran Desert.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful examination of spirit in design 2 Aug 2000
By Zenbob - Published on
Format: Paperback
PLACES OF THE SOUL is a very satisfying, powerful look at how the architectural environment makes an impact health, thought, and especially spirit. Mr. Day's writing is beautiful, drawing the reader through ideas of space, light, structure, environment, location and intention. Reading it was both inspiring and informative. An elegant book about an important subject.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Buildings really do harm or heal us: Here's the how and why. 14 Oct 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Chrisopher Day's "Places of the Soul" is an eye-opening examination
of why and how buildings impact our health, our productivity, our
moods, and even our spirits. Written both to architects and
non-architects, he speaks in plain English to bring many different
aspects of the built environment to our awareness.
Books like this tend to be pedantic, possessing a narrow aesthetic
(i.e. the author's). However, Day, while admitting his biases, is more
focused on how to enrich the world we live in now, whether with the
softening textures of sensitive landscaping or the appropriate use of
harder angles when the mood these conjure is necessary.
If you are thinking about building or remodeling, and/or want to
understand more about your built surroundings, this book is certain
to challenge your viewpoint, and leave you with a few ideas of your
own about how you can relate consciously, sensitively, and
responsibly to your present environment.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Primer on Sustainability and Humanism 13 July 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Are you looking for a book that recognizes the need for designing buildings to meet lofty sustainability goals, but that also places human needs on an equal or superior plane? Do you look at new mechanistic buildings of steel, titanium and low-e glass and wonder how it's possible to feel inspired, or even comfortable, when you're in them? If you answer yes to these questions, then perhaps you would benefit from reading the second edition of Christopher Day's book, Places of the Soul, Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art (Grammarians might suggest "as Healing Arts").
Day wrote the book in 1988, long before the birth of LEEDS, to address his perception of a growing lack of concern about human needs for variety in the form of spaces, the connection of spaces to nature and natural processes, and craft in the production of habitation. From his concerns one would assume that he was a student of the work of Christopher Alexander, particularly "A Timeless Way of Building". However, he moves beyond Alexander in citing the results of empirical studies that support his theses.
In the chapter Architecture: Does It Matter? Day discusses how good design adds value, increases productivity, reduces health care costs, and accelerates healing. He cites the work of Dr. Roger Ulrich that demonstrated faster healing of patients in ICU's with views of nature. Important to architects struggling with limited budgets is the cited research that demonstrates how a 6.5% increase in productivity can justify a building four times as expensive!
This book takes a broad-brush look at regionalism, vernacular architecture, the art of architecture, human and planetary health, quality versus quantity, making spaces livable, and even design as a listening process. Responding to criticism from clients that listening is a problem with some architects, the National Architectural Accrediting Board has made a recent change in its student performance criteria that emphasizes listening as a required skill.
From listening, Day moves to making buildings with soul, building as a health-giving process, silence and peace in architecture, and the creation of appropriate spaces for children. He concludes with an important chapter on the urban environment, the conflict between sustainable values and urban pressures, the needs of urban life, cities as places for people and for life, and whether eco-cities might be utopian or practicable.
Places of the Soul is an excellent primer for students of architecture seeking a balance between design for sustainability and for human needs, between a mass-produced machine aesthetic and one that includes hand-craftsmanship, and between sterile mind-numbing sameness and invigorating variety. It is illustrated with photographs and drawings of buildings and places in Great Britain that, while relevant, could be supplemented with more recent global examples. This book raises challenging questions about the buildings and places we will design and build, and the affect they will have on us as people and as a society.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A must read book! 12 Nov 2001
By Michael J. King - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a seminal piece of work, that I would recomend for anyone involved with homes and living spaces, (I think that means everyone!) There is much wisdom in this book, and it is as much a book about how we live as it is a life philosopy book.
Best book I have read about our 'third Skin'
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