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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book on writing
This review probably will not pertain to you, probably will not be "helpful". I have little interest in architecture, but I discovered that this book presents me with an extended metaphor for a subject I teach: writing. I've read dozens of books on writing, but I guess I needed to hear old concepts taught in a fresh way, to have then sneak up on me, to see them...
Published on 5 Aug 2011 by Peter Stephens

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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well-designed emptiness
This short, postcard-shaped book is organised as a series of short observations about the practice of learning design. It is explicitly aimed at students of architecture: the author touts it as the book he wishes had existed in his own student days. However, it may be read by anyone interested in architecture who wonders how architects are trained to think about the...
Published on 30 May 2010 by Paul Bowes


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book on writing, 5 Aug 2011
This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
This review probably will not pertain to you, probably will not be "helpful". I have little interest in architecture, but I discovered that this book presents me with an extended metaphor for a subject I teach: writing. I've read dozens of books on writing, but I guess I needed to hear old concepts taught in a fresh way, to have then sneak up on me, to see them differently. Maybe that's one reason we read broadly: to discover what we already know and to find new ways of expressing it.

Here are two examples from 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School. Perhaps you will see how they might pertain to writing instruction:

#10

"A tall, bright space will feel taller and brighter if counterpointed by a low-ceilinged, softly lit space. A monumental or sacred space will feel more significant when placed at the end of a sequence of lesser spaces. A room with south-facing windows will be more strongly experienced after one passes through a series of north-facing spaces."

#11

"Denial and reward can encourage the formulation of a rich experience. In designing paths of travel, try presenting users a view of their target - a staircase, building entrance, monument, or other element - then momentarily screen it from view as they continue their approach. Reveal the target a second time from a different angle or with an interesting new detail. Divert users onto an unexpected path to create additional intrigue or even momentary lostness; then reward them with other interesting experiences or other views of their target. This additional "work" will make the journey more interesting, the arrival more rewarding."

#10 reminds me of using foils, and #11 reminds me of using foreshadowing. This book may help my writers who are visual learners, particularly ones that more readily see things spatially.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well-designed emptiness, 30 May 2010
By 
Paul Bowes (Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
This short, postcard-shaped book is organised as a series of short observations about the practice of learning design. It is explicitly aimed at students of architecture: the author touts it as the book he wishes had existed in his own student days. However, it may be read by anyone interested in architecture who wonders how architects are trained to think about the design aspect of their craft.

Each observation stands alone (although a few seem to follow on, the subject always changes after at most two or three connected points), and each is illustrated by a small drawing. The author's views emerge cumulatively. The reader has the choice of reading continuously, or of dipping into the book at random when the need for inspiration strikes. I like books of this kind, which can be powerful when the writer has an original mind that expresses itself naturally in an aphoristic style, so I was well disposed towards this book before I opened it. Three things have remained with me after reading it.

The first is that many of Frederick's observations are not wrong, but rather banal: memorable neither for their content nor for the way they are expressed. Frederick is not an aphorist, and there is not a single thing here in his own words that is as striking as the few - and very worn - quotations he allows from Louis Kahn, Mies van der Rohe and Robert Venturi. Nor are the sketches better than workmanlike. The second is that this is yet another example of an architectural book in which book design has trumped content - the book is more attractive than substantial. The third is that the author offers an unwitting insight into why so many of our modern buildings are bad. It's hard to read the remarks on 'space planning' versus 'architecture' without reflecting on the role of the architect in every badly-designed architectural object one has ever had to inhabit, work in, or merely tolerate in one's environment. The unreflective self-regard of the architectural profession shines from too many pages.

Student architects may benefit from the practical information of a working professional concerning architectural drawing techniques and methods of project presentation in the design studio, though even they might be better served by, for example, Mo Zell's The Architectural Drawing Course: Understand the Principles and Master the Practices, only one of many such. Frederick's book is too disconnected and scattershot to serve as any kind of manual.

It would hardly be fair to criticize the author for having succeeded in his stated modest aim. For the general reader, however, the book is an attractive object, but ultimately a disappointing one.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful look at a variety of subjects, to foster more research., 24 Feb 2010
By 
Philippe Jofresa (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
I bought this book despite some of the existing critics, and after reading it, I can see where some of the harsher remarks came from.

I like the format of the book, and the style of the presentation: it reminds me of those "thought of the day" calendars, in a way. Pick a random page, and you will have a nice drawing and a clear and concise text about a variety of subjects.

My interest in architecture stems from level design for 3d games, so some of the advice was irrelevant, but overall there was enough food for thought that I found the book interesting.

I can see how someone who knows architecture would scoff at some of the remarks. Quite a few of the critics riled against the one on "how to draw a line", for instance. But I think these are quite valid. No matter your domain, sometimes, it's good to be reminded of the basics. You'd be surprised how much is taken for granted, as you advance in your skill. And I've no doubt architecture is the same.

But it's true that from the overall feel of the book, it reads as something aimed at the artchitecture student.
However, if there was an equivalent book for programming, I would probably cherish it. Sometimes, it's nice to just think about an aspect of your art and sort of ponder what you really know about it.
Having somebody throw all sorts of subjects at you might make you discover areas you neglected, and send you on your way to research it some more.

Think of it as a nice stepping stone towards a myriad of more specific subjects.
This is what this book certainly does for me, and in this I think it is very useful.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great little book, 22 Sep 2008
By 
I. Laliberte (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book - lots of little things that make you think, and some really basic things that you probably wouldn't know unless you have finished architecture school. As I am just starting out, I thought it was great. Good tips for crits, drawing, etc.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful, 15 Jan 2011
This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
A great little book that's full of insight into a difficult subject for an outsider to understand. I bought this book because I wanted to better understand [read: at least have a vague idea] of what my architect girlfriend does, and how she's thinking about architecture. The book is very interesting, if somewhat overwhelming if read in big chunks - I found myself rereading each 'thing' again and again to grasp what concept was being expressed! Nonetheless, with a little perseverance, '101 Things I Learned in Architecture School' is a well worthwhile read, and has subsequently given me a much better insight into the mysterious and dark-art of architecture. Moreover, I'm now consciously considering figure and space, the spaces in between, and their relationships. Sounds daft, but for me is a breakthrough!

Amusingly, I'm told some of the terms in the book must be american, because they don't exist in the european/asian professional world, so read with a degree of caution (or like me, you'll look like an idiot who's making up design terms in front of a party full of architects!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING MINI BOOK FOR ANY BUDDING ARCHITECTS!, 11 Dec 2013
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This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
Ever since I started architecture last September, I was quite lost and clueless with what the course seemed to offer. A wide range of skills and interests; numeracy skills, literature reads, digital software, critical and analytical thinking skills, drawing, modelmaking...etc. Architecture is indeed a course that touches aspects on almost everything though we may not know all. Thanks for the book, I am now slowly paving my way towards being a though-not-so-perfect architect student but definitely a fearless one. AMAZING BOOK!
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nicely produced and illustrated but few messages you won't already know, 23 Jan 2008
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This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
I read some reviews on amazon.com about how architecture students found this book invaluable. For sure, its a nicely produced hardback book, good illustration and clear layout - an image and text on each two page spread, and a lot of the advice seems to wander wildly from big, blue-sky thinking to specifics about US zoning and planning control. Some of the points are just downright pithy too - good architects are old - engineers know a lot about one thing, architects know a little about a lot of things. Overall, I was a tad disappointed - you can read the book in about 10 minutes flat and I think there were maybe two points I hadn't already thought of and was actively carrying around in my 'design-process' consciousness. Maybe this was always meant to be a book targetted for those at US architecture schools, rather than UK ones?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than it seems!, 30 April 2009
This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
What I like about this book is not that I knew most of what is in it, but that someone else was also saying these things and in a different (and often better) way that I can use in my teaching to try and guide my Product Design pupils through certain parts of their coursework. Most pupils seem to be happy to accept any "official" guidance from books, and there are certainly a few good examples in this one. It could be argued that the author is just out to make money - but that is true of most authors. It doesn't take much time to read everything - which is probably good! It is rather pricey (I paid full price). But I think that it's still worth having, even if it's for nothing else than to remind you of the basics.

It's a pity that the "look inside" is not a better, more representative range of the contents. One of my favourites is the "design with models" statement, accompanied by a cartoon of a youg male student creating a small house flanked by two shapely, long-haired young women. Others include the necessity to communicate design concepts in simple terms (which too many forget, spouting all sorts of incomprehensible rubbish about their work in order to elevate themselves to a superior level). There are many more snippets about all sorts of design-related topics.

In summary, this book has refreshed my mind and reminded me of many things that are important in design. I'd recommend it to any pupil, student or teacher - and anyone else! - interested in good design and the design process, not just architecture. Yes, the phrase with the words "grandmothers" and "suck eggs" might apply. If it does to you, you're lucky to have had such a good education!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good read even outside of architecture, 30 Jun 2014
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This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
A surprisingly interesting book given that I am not in the building industry. These 101 things can be useful metaphors for other areas.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, but was it really finished?, 31 Dec 2013
This review is from: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (Hardcover)
Graphically, this book is beautiful and the drawings are stellar. However, after having read the book in its entirety, it feels as if something is missing. Was this book ever finished, or did it go straight from draft to publishing?

Some pieces of advice are golden, whereas others seem only to be present in order to fill the blank pages. Thus, it results in a seemingly half-finished product, with real potential.

The only way this book works is if you avoid thinking of it as a reference to other architecture students. The provided advice are humorous and sometimes even helpful, but mainly, the book is above all an illustrated anecdote of a former student's thoughts on going to architecture school. A comic book! A rather entertaining comic book nonetheless.
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101 Things I Learned in Architecture School
101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick (Hardcover - 9 Oct 2007)
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