Leafing through the literature

Words:
Jan-Carlos Kucharek

PIP's Editor Jan Carlos Kucharek looks though the latest product-oriented publications

101 Things I Learned in Engineering School
John Kuprenas with Matthew Frederick
Grand Central Publishing, £12.99, 224pp

This is a coffee table book. But imagine a coffee table designed by Gustav Eiffel on which sit cups designed by Pier Luigi Nervi, placed next to a smoking chair occupied by a caffeine sipping Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Okay, maybe not, but this quirky little primer has been sitting on my desk for the last two weeks and I feel remiss if I don’t open it at some point each day and read a few of its engaging and pithy pages about the physics and discipline of engineering. Each statement is accompanied by a brief explanation and accompanying diagram. As an architect you’ll definitely know some, might know others and won’t know a number of them. It probably has a page covering that very statistical likelihood. A joy.


 

Morphing – A guide to Mathematical
Transformations for Architects
Joseph Choma
Laurence King Publishing, £35, 232pp

While the classic platonic shapes have a dictionary definition, the rise of parametric design has seen an infinity of new plastic mathematical forms around that have yet to be named. Joseph Choma, who graduated in computation at MIT, has thoughtfully managed not only to name but to ontologically order them into 13 mathematical ‘transformations’, so that seemingly random 3D forms can be broken down into their constituent parts. As if that isn’t enough he also provides the trigonometric equations that define those transformations. This is a technical tome less for those thinking traditionally about ‘form follows function’ and more for those that think ‘form follows f(x)’.


 

Starting a Practice: A Plan of Work
Simon Foxell
RIBA Publishing, £30, 164pp

Foxell’s ominous opening line to his first edition, recommending architects to think twice before starting a practice, has not been tempered by the preface to the second edition, which elucidates on the crippling, eight year-long recession that we are just coming out of and which draws attention to how tough the competition is. That said, those earlier redundancies resulted in more new practices baptised in the waters of hard times and with the determination to keep afloat. For the ethereal architect the everyday pragmatics of running a practice can seem a dark art. Foxell’s book continues to provide valuable guidance with updated information on electronic data transfer and social media as a marketing tool.


 

Latest

The bright and minimalist apartments at a Foster + Partners residential development in Shoreditch feature innovative designs by  QIC Trims that conceal blinds and curtains

QIC Trims' blind boxes at Foster + Partners project

More architecture schools are now offering apprenticeships courses – here’s what is available

Read our course round-up

The 17 Stirlings’ Architects Declare initiative is gaining ground, but where are the rest of you?

Today there are 442 signatures. Where are the rest of you?

Tired of banging your head against the stainless-steel trim of your highly conspicuous cooker hood?

As 3D printing reaches traditionally cast sanitaryware Grohe’s Allure Brilliant and Atrio ranges seem to be pushing the envelope.