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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Releases the creative juices
I got this book for my young daughter, who has expressed a desire to be an architect in the future, and it has been a great success. She loves to doodle and will draw on anything at any time, creating worlds of her own. However, having looked at some of the other reviews, I can see this is not the case for all.
The author is an architect himself, and although he...
Published 16 months ago by leftfooter

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who is this for?
I really like many aspects of this book (and I should make it clear from the start that I write as someone who is neither an architect nor student of the discipline, just someone with an interest in the built environment AND drawing/printmaking): it contains some attractive architectural drawings; it gives examples of many classic architectural elements, and gives...
Published 18 months ago by S. J. Williams


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Releases the creative juices, 16 Jan. 2014
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leftfooter "leftfooter" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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I got this book for my young daughter, who has expressed a desire to be an architect in the future, and it has been a great success. She loves to doodle and will draw on anything at any time, creating worlds of her own. However, having looked at some of the other reviews, I can see this is not the case for all.
The author is an architect himself, and although he states that he assumes no prior knowledge in the reader, I suspect it is difficult for him to remember that some things he knows by instinct actually come from years of learning and experience.

I think it is important for any potential buyer of this book to understand what it does, and what it does not.

The format is incredibly simple to explain. Each double-page spread consists of drawings and text from the author on the left, and then a largely empty space on the right (possibly just with some landscape, the outline of a room or the foundations of a building). In brief text the author illustrates some aspect of architecture, using "classic" examples from around the world, and then challenges the reader to "create their own".

Clearly, this is focussed largely on the imaginative, creative side of architecture, and not on issues of structural integrity, construction practicality and the like. This is not a book for someone who feels constrained to draw realistic, feasible buildings. Rather it is to encourage flights of fancy.

I think this is no bad thing. In years gone by, drawing was an essential skill for architects, requiring accuracy and technical precision. These days, 99% of architecture is done using computer design, which takes care of many aspects of engineering calculation, etc. However, the need for imagination, challenging convention and creating objects of true beauty remains. This book is aimed at releasing that inspiration.

At a rough count, there are 75 double-page spreads, covering every aspect of architecture from tower blocks and bridges to stairs, windows and door-handles. Not every page will inspire you, but there is something in here for anyone interested in what makes a building "work" as a piece of art.

My only criticism would be that, although the author encourages the reader to use coloured pencils, paint, etc., the book itself is entirely black line drawings. This is probably to keep costs down, but misses the chance to show the reader how inspired use of colour can make architecture sing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who is this for?, 7 Dec. 2013
By 
S. J. Williams "stevejw2" (Leeds, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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I really like many aspects of this book (and I should make it clear from the start that I write as someone who is neither an architect nor student of the discipline, just someone with an interest in the built environment AND drawing/printmaking): it contains some attractive architectural drawings; it gives examples of many classic architectural elements, and gives illustrations of a number of key exemplars (so, 25 small sketches of approaches to roofing a space, wall structures, windows etc) and invites the reader to provide other examples; there are pages where examples of a design style are illustrated (eg De Stijl, Bauhaus); sections devoted to interesting approaches to functional features, such as chimneys; how buildings and their context can be 'greened' or incorporate water in their design.

Where I feel it falls badly short is that some of the problems the reader is asked to solve or consider seem absurdly overambitious given the input from the text. For example, six bridge types are illustrated on one page: opposite, is a location where a bridge is required and one is asked to design a new bridge for that location, without any reference anyway to the fact that bridge design is not subject purely to aesthetic whim! An illustration of Dubai's Palm Islands prompt the challenge 'design your own new island community'. The facade of Casa Batllo is presented and the reader is asked, with no more guidance or authorial input to 'design the external envelope of a building that resembles something in nature!' A reasonable challenge for someone with a bit of prior learning or experience, but for most readers? That challenge seems to me so scattershot in its focus as to be almost meaningless: and I can't help thinking that anyone capable of having an interesting crack at doing these things would not be someone who would consider buying this book because they would have the experience and knowledge to make the book redundant and simplistic: those who, like me, want a bit of guidance and inspiration to do anything beyond a random scribble will find it severely lacking because it doesn't tell you enough to make the task meaningful. Over and over again I found the book pretty irritating in this regard. There is little reference to a key element of architectural practice - the marrying of function, environment and aesthetics. (To parody a little, imagine an art book that said 'These are some examples of portraits: now draw someone you know'.)

I could imagine say a young teenager with an artistic or architectural bent getting pleasure from it, but not the audience suggested in the introduction, nor someone like myself with an interest in drawing and buildings.

Added to which, as another reviewer has correctly commented, the paper is pretty dreadful for sketching: similar to a colouring in book, something which, for all the book's apparent ambition, is essentially what it is.

Perhaps I'm not entering into the spirit of the text. Perhaps: but I think I was expecting something a little more engaging than a book which, despite interesting ambitions, seems to me little more than 'design a stocking filler'! I really should love this book, but I really don't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for children OR adults, 5 Dec. 2013
By 
Mrs. Alison Taylor (Grantham, Lincs, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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I used to do a lot of drawing and sketching in my youth, and now in my fifties find I have some spare time again to take up one of my favourite hobbies. This book is great as a guide to get you sketching buildings, giving you examples to follow yourself. After a bit of practice you should be able to draw buildings without assistance.

The only criticism I would have is on the quality of the paper, which feels similar to that of cheaper colouring books. Had the paper quality been better, I would have given it five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful for aspiring architects or people with imagination!, 5 Dec. 2013
By 
rhosymynydd "liz" (west wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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This is such a wonderful book and with so many different applications. It is very inspiring for those who want to follow an architectural pathway or just those who want to design their dream house or just plain doodle. I was really surprised to find such an interesting tome, although I ordered it just to see if it could be applicable to my older nephew now intent on commercial drawing but it was do delightful I had to keep it for myself to play with.

It does have some very good coneptual ideas and especially advises on drawing odd items like staircases and pet accommodation. Highly recommended for anyone with an architectural bent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the budding Architecture student, 9 Dec. 2013
By 
Fletch-a-sketch "Fletch" (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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For the budding student who is good at art and wants to be an architect come Archi-doodle, a book which covers many architect drawing styles and offers pages to `copy' or even `change and enhance' already drawn pictures.

A timely book my daughter is taking her options and wants to be an architect so what better way to encourage her with her plans for the future.

A winner for her but not possibly for everyone, though it can be used as an aid to the budding artist as well..
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun, 5 Jan. 2014
By 
A John (Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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This book is about design. The book first talks about the basic tools for drawing you may wish for, and the techniques used to create effects. Then you are invited to start having a go. From designing a skyscraper, different roof types and copying famous buildings (the Eiffel tower is harder than you'd think!), and bridge design, there are also invitations to design an underwater city, city on a different planet, as well as buildings in various locations. The initial background is done for you, this is about adding into the existing location. Along the way, the book introduces famous architects and styles, such as bauhaus or surrealism.

This is the kind of book which is generally fun. We have shared it with the family, so everyone has had a go with something. And if you are a fan of programmes like, "Grand Designs", this would appeal - its your chance to have a go! I also loved the way it included loads of ideas, even for pet houses. So if you want a small project to have a go at putting your design into action.... I particularly liked the cat home built on the side of the radiator....

I would highly recommend this. Its fun.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good for aspiring architects, 14 Jan. 2014
By 
J. Dawson (Edinburgh, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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The front of this book claims it is "For architects of all ages" but having chosen it thinking it might be good to use with the oldest of the primary school pupils I work with, I'd suggest it would probably be best for teens and adults.

The book is laid out with lots of images: drawings of buildings, plan sketches, samples of different styles of windows, wall structures, etc. Most of these are based on real buildings and are labelled with dates and locations as well as titles and designers. There are, however, no photos which seems a shame to me, as it's nice to see how the architect's vision translates to real life. And some of the information and sketches need more clarification as they may be a little difficult to understand for the layperson. There are also lots of imaginary projects: design an undersea community, a zero-gravity colony for the moon, that sort of thing.

If you have an aspiring architect in your life, this would undoubtedly make quite a good gift, however be prepared to supplement it with more informative books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very clever book, 9 Jan. 2014
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Stromata (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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There is a sticker on the front of this book declaring that this is 'for architects of all ages'. How true! There are not many people who have little or no interest in the built environment and I cannot imagine anyone not having fun with this ingenious book.

The author gives a good, short introduction and explains what equipment you could use to get the most out of this book (pine-line pens, circular template, set square, paints etc) which are all cheap and easily obtained, but I got a huge amount of this book filled with just my pencil and a short ruler. He also provides a page on Techniques, such as hatching, cross hatching, stippling etc, which is useful, and goes on to explain about sectional drawing.

There is simply page after page of intriguing little projects - from designing an underwater community; a bridge; a 21st Century roof form; re-designing the front elevation to Buckingham Palace etc. All the exercises make you look at and consider many forms of architecture.

A brilliant book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Archi-Doodle, 16 Jan. 2014
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Gillian Jack (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
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While there is some gentle teaching here -- you'll find mention of Bauhaus, the Pompidou Centre and De Stijl -- this is primarily an activity book which invites you to learn architectural design through experience. Each two-page spread features architectural sketches and leaves plenty of space which you are encouraged to fill in. On one page you will plan a new bridge; on another you'll add to the New York skyline or replace the roof on Sydney Opera House. No need to worry about the budget.

The cover says "For architects of all ages" and this is true. Professional architects might enjoy this book as light relief, yet it is quite accessible to high school kids who have an interest in drawing. More serious than Keri Smith's books, it retains a sense of fun. If you like the idea of inventing your own buildings but are put off by dry architectural textbooks, this is a great introduction. It will make you think while you sketch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 7 year old loves it., 23 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book (Paperback)
My young son has an interest in architecture and as soon as I saw this I knew he'd love it. He needs a bit of help explaining what each page is asking for but he is really enjoying it. He keeps asking if he can work on it. I assume that it is aimed at adults but children with an interest will enjoy it too.
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Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book
Archi-Doodle: An Architect's Activity Book by Steve Bowkett (Paperback - 14 Oct. 2013)
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