Planning, building and lighting for architects

The Architecture Concept Book: An inspirational guide to creative ideas, strategies and practices
James Tait. Thames & Hudson. 280p £24.95 HB

It’s usually the mark of a bad book that, on first impression, it seems to be stating the patently obvious; and you sure get that sense here. But James Tait’s book outlining the 32 key architectural concepts that he thinks are critical to the creation of great buildings does reward further interrogation. Copiously illustrated, the author declares that ‘we must always have a reason to build’ and then spends nearly 300 pages breaking down the best ones – under the headings of Assess, Analyse, Assemble and Augment. But rather than a bunch of post-rationalised images justifying design intent, Tait takes us on a more complex and personal journey that reflects his own fascination with the intangible elements that create great architecture (or not).

 

Play the City: Games informing urban development
Ekim Tan. Jap Sam Books. 392p £24 PB

Tan’s PhD work on city gaming informs the basis for this larger text challenging architects and urban designers to take on board a world ‘that is reshaped by the likes of Minecraft, Pokemon Go and Foursquare’. The book expounds the various outcomes of what she calls ‘city gaming’ as developed by ‘play the city’ teams using case studies from Shenzhen, Cape Town, Amsterdam and Istanbul. Tan may have set up a consultancy helping local government and developers engage with stakeholders and that all sounds very exciting; but I can’t help feeling that if this world is best developed as a real-time/virtual experience, then this brightly coloured tome, bulked out with large format text, old school pics and diagrams, is probably not the best way to describe it. 

 

The Art of Architectural Daylighting
Mary Guzowski. Lawrence King Publishing. 230p £50 HB

What’s great about this book is the fact that, rather than just talking about the more esoteric aspects of architectural lighting, the author puts her money where her mouth is. Taking 12 recent buildings declared as designed by ‘Masters of Light’, over six themed chapters, Guzowski not only discusses qualitative, aesthetic and experiential aspects, but then goes into scientific principles, via technical analysis diagrams and virtual modelling. Presented as a large format book, both images and diagrams are afforded plenty of room to communicate their message, so making a book that’s packed with information. It’s especially nice to see, in the technical analysis of Renzo Piano’s new pavilion for the Kimbell Art Gallery, a lighting study done on Kahn’s original oldie-but-goodie.

 

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