Tech reads

Some down to earth reading for the holiday season

The Competition Grid: Experimenting With & Within Architecture Competitions
Mary Theodorou & Antigoni Katsakou eds. RIBA Publishing 217p £35 PB Available at RIBA Bookshops

Their seemingly scientific, matrix-addled box-ticking entry criteria aside, architectural competitions remain a weird science little understood by the profession, despite long nights of unpaid effort by small, work-hungry practices to enter them. This book does not ultimately dispel that notion, but may help explain it. It does this by reviewing architectural competitions as experienced by those who participate in them, and by examining how organisers use them as a laboratory-like setting to analyse and challenge their own organisational processes. There’s a well-chosen roll call of authors of the numerous essays in its four sections, expounding and critiquing the system. A valuable read, it may not generate a winning design, but it may well help instigate more strategic approaches to entering them.


 

Design Process in Architecture: From Conception to Completion
Geoffrey Makstutis Laurence King Publishing 192p 
£24.99 PB Available at RIBA Bookshops

Author Geoffrey Makstutis should know his stuff. He’s subject lead in construction for Pearson as well as having taught and lectured at Central Saint Martins, the AA, the Royal College of Art and Westminster. He’s also the author of ‘Architecture: An Introduction’. In this book’s eight chapters he defines what good design constitutes and then takes the reader on a journey through the process using examples of all the approaches. ‘Defining the Project’ follows this, analysing brief and context, then ‘The Design Process in Action’, concentrating on design stages. The final chapter takes us through a real end-to-end design process from concept to completion, showing all the stages being enacted. A useful primer for the novice and optimistic reminder for the world-weary professional. 


 

Potato Plan Collection: 40 Cities through the Lens of Patrick Abercrombie
Mirjam Züger & Kees Christiaanse nai010 publishers 208p £43.50 PB Available at RIBA Bookshops

On paper, a book of Potato Plans of cities based on the one Abercrombie and Forshaw developed in 1943 is a good idea. It certainly looks like the graphic designers had a great time with it, but it’s important to remember a key word in their ‘Social and Functional Analysis’; and that was that it was an analytical ‘simplification’. This resonates as one goes through the plans – the most notable aspect being the palpable change of scale moving from European cities to American and especially Chinese ones. Thankfully, the written breakdowns preceding them offer more layered interpretations of the maps’ generality; Peter Bishop’s analysis on the complexity of modern London not borne out merely by his addition of pink ‘regenerating’ areas...

 

Latest

T Alwyn Jones found a way round the risk from mining subsidence at Ystrad Mynach College of Further Education in south Wales

T Alwyn Jones’ Ystrad Mynach FE College, build in an area of mining subsidence

It’s only week 2 of the Covid-19 lockdown, and for many time is hanging heavy. We talk to five architects who are making the best of the extra time

Five architects reveal how they are making the best of being stuck at home

Karin Borghouts’ photograph reflects a scale beyond human measure at the Antwerp Royal Museum of Fine Arts

Restoration of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp

De Montfort University is the first institution to offer the Architect Degree Apprenticeship, which provides apprentices with RIBA and ARB Part 2 and Part 3 certification

De Montfort University first to offer Masters level programme

Tile of Spain showcases a diverse range of novelties from this year’s fair in Valencia, from large format earthscapes and splattered paints to metallic geometrics and 3D arcs

Tile of Spain reveals the latest decorative surface solutions