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Read better, build better

Landscapes, sustainable timber and sheer architectural simplicity are the themes of this latest collection of books

From Idea to Site: A Project Guide to Creating Better Landscapes
Claire Thirlwall. RIBA Publishing. 228p HB £40​

A guide for the architect looking at best-practice approaches for dealing with the spaces between buildings rather than the buildings themselves. With six chapters roughly following the plan of work, this book acts as a well-illustrated and sign-posted aide-memoire in the design and construction process. Real-life examples are never far away with case studies associated with each chapter. A useful reference for those hoping to ensure that the public space outside a building is not the first casualty of value engineering.



A Handbook for the Sustainable Use of Timber in Construction
Jim Coulson with Iain Thew. Wiley Blackwell. 402p HB £69.95

New technical guidance and fabrication developments update and add to the author's previous texts on timber. And it’s quite a tome– an exhaustive guide on timber’s physical nature, sourcing, types of fabrication, specification, strength grading, physical attributes, as well as behaviours in water and fire. While all pics are in black and white, the tone is engaging, clearly from a writer who knows their stuff.


Building Simply – a Guideline
Florian Nagler ed. Birkhauser. 123p HB £33​

This book wears its heart on its sleeve, with the question of how architecture can create pleasant internal environments across its cover. The book is the result of the author’s firm’s engagement with the Technical University of Munich, using the simplest means on three residential projects. There’s a charming simplicity and minimalism to the text, photographs and drawings, bringing a manifesto-like quality to the book that seems inspirational in itself. And with the three studies – infra-lightweight concrete, solid timber and thermally insulating masonry – there’s something for everyone.




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