by John MacArthur & Richard Ross
For the past several years—and with seemingly limitless access—photographer Richard Ross has been making unsettling and thought-provoking pictures of architectural spaces that exert power over the individuals within them. From a Montessori preschool to churches, mosques and diverse civic spaces including a Swedish courtroom, the Iraqi National Assembly hall and the United Nations, the images in Architecture of Authority build to ever harsher manifestations of power: an interrogation room at Guantanamo, segregation cells at Abu Ghraib, and finally, a capital punishment death chamber.
Though visually cool, this work deals with hot-button issues—from the surveillance that increasingly intrudes on post-9/11 life to the abuse of power and the erosion of individual liberty. The connections among the various architectures are striking, as Ross points out: “The Santa Barbara Mission confessional and the LAPD robbery homicide interrogation rooms are the same intimate proportions. Both are made to solicit a confession in exchange for some form of redemption.” Essay by Harper’s Magazine publisher, John R. MacArthur, also a columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail.
by Leslie Fairweather RIBA & Sean McConville
Current and future prison designs are examined in this book, within the government’s prison building program, and the confines of current penal philosophies and legislation. America has led the way in prison design, with two main types of architecture predominating: radial layouts (outside cells with windows) and linear blocks (inside cells with grilles). Now, ‘new’ generation prisons (central association surrounded by small groups of cells) look set to become the fashion. But are they a better answer, and should they be copied worldwide before we know?
Architects and administrators show in this book the designs of these ‘new generation’ prisons and assess their impact. Most countries in central Europe also have a rising crime rate and a demand for new prisons. Contributions from significant architects from the UK, Europe and America comment on these issues.
Other topics within the book are: setting current prison architecture and design against an historical setting; looking at penal ideas and prison architecture and design in the post-war period; the psychological effects of the prison environment; the influence of technology and design on security management; and how prison architecture and design can be more flexible and innovative.
by Albert Ferre
This book is conceived as evidence supporting the qualities of dense, urban living, and as a hopeful antidote against sprawl. Necessity and investigation are prerequisites for the design of housing: Total Housing refers to the need to understand that social, environmental, and economic factors affect form and that living space is a base for our increasingly complex and varied societies.
This new survey into multi - family housing focuses on the responses proposed by architects who are dealing with the dynamic and diverse demands of contemporary society.
by Jan Gehl
For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use, or could use, the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into the landscapes he believes they should be: cities for people.
Taking into account changing demographics and changing lifestyles, Gehl emphasizes four human issues that he sees as essential to successful city planning. He explains how to develop cities that are Lively, Safe, Sustainable, and Healthy. Focusing on these issues leads Gehl to think of even the largest city on a very small scale. For Gehl, the urban landscape must be considered through the five human senses and experienced at the speed of walking rather than at the speed of riding in a car or bus or train. This small-scale view, he argues, is too frequently neglected in contemporary projects.
by Lukas Feireiss and Ole Bouman
A skateboarding school in Kabul, a children’s community center in southwest Chicago, project row houses in Houston, an open-air library in Salbke-Magdeburg, Germany, colorful murals in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro: what difference do civic architectural projects like these make to the daily lives of the people who use them?
In Testify! The Consequences of Architecture, editor Lukas Feireiss gathers 30 examples of community-centered architectural projects from all five continents, to demonstrate how architecture can transform the quality of our lives. This is architecture that reveals unexpected possibilities for growing food in urban environments, for creating healthy and sustainable environments, nourishing social networks and establishing real estate value based on new revenue models. Each project is presented with full-color illustrations, texts that concisely analyze the project in terms of context, mission and realization, and an interview with a community member who makes regular use of, or occupies, the relevant building.
As sustainability issues intensify the public stake in the built environment, Testify! brings good news from the frontlines of contemporary architectural practice.
by Ronald Rael
One half of the world’s population, approximately 3 billion people on six continents, live or work in buildings constructed of earth.
Two of the three projects we shared this week used earth as a building material and there are noticeably more projects doing the same in the Archives.
In this book author Ronald Rael, founder of EarthArchitecture.org, provides a history of building with earth in the modern era, focusing particularly on projects constructed in the last few decades that use rammed earth, mud brick, compressed earth, cob, and several other interesting techniques. Earth Architecture presents a selection of more than forty projects that exemplify new, creative uses of the oldest building material on the planet. With more than three hundred images, Earth Architecture showcases the beauty and simplicity of one of humankind’s most evolved and sophisticated building technologies.
This week’s Weekend Read comes in response to a reader-submitted question. Nikki (nktl) writes,
“…I really like your vision for the blog, and think it’s just what we need for the society today. Just recently, I’ve written a manifesto for history class and I wrote about how architecture is currently focusing on the wrong group of people as clients, thus perhaps why many architects failed to earn jobs today. I really think architecture for community is important. Can you recommend me some reads…?”
First of all Nikki, we’d love to read your manifesto and hear your thoughts on how architects can, or should, better serve communities.
In regards to recommended reading material – So|Aware usually posts a recommended book at the end of each week. We tag these posts Weekend Read. You can check out the backlog by clicking on the tag or by clicking here.
Finally, last night we checked one off our long to-do list by adding the Friends section to So|Aware. While it is far from complete it provides a beginning set of references for our readers to get their Weekend Read on to. Feel free to contact us with any references you think we should add.
Thank you for the question Nikki and thank you all for reading.
Don’t forget to like So|Aware on Facebook! And have a great weekend!
by Kristin Feireiss with a contribution by Brad Pitt
Architecture in Times of Need focuses on the redevelopment of New Orleans’ vibrant Lower Ninth Ward which was severely devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Invited by the Make It Right Foundation, formed by Brad Pitt and GRAFT, a group of high-profile and influential international architects set about developing affordable, green housing for the area, incorporating the latest in innovative and sustainable design.
The projects by David Adjaye, GRAFT, MVRDV, and Shigeru Ban, among others, are shown in numerous photographs and renderings with sketches, building plans, and informative commentary by the architects. Along with an interview with Brad Pitt on his motivation to start the Make It Right Foundation to help in New Orleans’ reconstruction, the book also includes essays on the overall design process and describes the sustainable Cradle to Cradle approach, which seeks to maximize economic, ecological, and social value by following principles inspired by nature.
Architecture in Times of Need also features the Pink Project, a unique effort that directly connects monetary donations to the assemblage of houses. It brings to fruition an idea based on real needs and real people, and in reaction to a natural disaster, the recurrence of which is all too possible.
by Emily Pilloton (of Project H / Studio H)
Featuring more than 100 contemporary design products and systems (safer baby bottles, a high-tech waterless washing machine, low-cost prosthetics for landmine victims, Braille-based Lego-style building blocks for blind children, and more) that are as fascinating as they are revolutionary. This exceptionally smart, friendly and well-designed volume makes the case for design as a tool to solve some of the world’s biggest social problems in beautiful, sustainable and engaging ways – for global citizens in the developing world and in more developed economies alike. Particularly at a time when the weight of climate change, global poverty and population growth are impossible to ignore, Pilloton challenges designers to be changemakers instead of “stuff creators.” Urgent and optimistic, a compendium and a call to action, Design Revolution is easily one of the most exciting design publications.
About Emily Pilloton:
Emily is the founder and Executive Director of Project H Design, a global industrial design nonprofit with eight chapters around the world. Trained in architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and product design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Pilloton started Project H in 2008 to provide a conduit and catalyst for need-based product design that empowers individuals, communities and economies. Current Project H initiatives include water transport and filtration systems in South Africa and India; an educational math playground built for elementary schools in Uganda and North Carolina; a homeless-run design coop in Los Angeles; and design concepts for foster care education and therapy in Austin, Texas.
by Richard W. Hayes
Conceived by architect Charles W. Moore and begun in the context of social activism and dramatic institutional change during the 1960s, the Yale Building Project has contributed to the education of many of this country’s leading architects, serving as the model for “design-build” programs at universities nationwide. The Yale Building Project: The First 40 Years is the first comprehensive history of this important initiative.
Every year since 1967, graduate students in the Yale School of Architecture have designed and constructed a building for a community–based client. This book documents each of the projects alongside essays that situate the program in its historical context, from students’ journeys to rural Appalachia to build community centers and a health clinic, to pavilions and recreational structures constructed throughout Connecticut, and affordable housing built in New Haven. Describing a program that has had a profound effect on American architectural culture, this book will serve as a valuable resource for architects, historians, students, and community planners.