Tech reads, Jun 2016

Settle down with a our latest selection of good books

Beyond Live/Work: The Architecture of Home-based Work
Frances Holliss, Routledge. 230pp PB £29.99

The bane of the planning world, the live/work unit, is the subject of Holliss’ quite riveting book; and you have to say that the case she builds up is quite compelling. Starting with the tradition as a way of life, the author traces how live/work developed as an aesthetic concept from the 19th century to the modern day. A reading of live/work both as a social reality as well as a valid urban typology follows, with an extensive chapter on the legal framework both here and in the US that seeks to limit its roll-out, and why that may be. The sustainability of live/work is then discussed, pulling in heavyweights such as Jan Gehl to fuel the argument for urban work and living  practices that are less stressed, less congested and less commuted. An in depth and well illustrated study for clients, architects and policy makers of this most aspirational of urban living types.

Generative Design: Form-finding Techniques in Architecture
Asterios Agkathidis, Laurence King. 160pp PB £9.95

Time was when you just waited for Peter Eisenman to come up with another project for a corporate HQ on a seismic fault line in Asia or a conference centre revealing the ‘layers’ of a site– but now it seems like everyone’s at it. Agkathidis is lecturer of digital design at Liverpool School of Architecture and has pulled the book together from undergraduate projects by his research-led design unit. Before we go all madly morphogenetic, he is at pains to point out that the programme was designed ‘to satisfy learning outcomes specified by the RIBA’. In an architectural world now dominated by some extreme parametric design approaches and the likes of Oculus Rift, the comment seems slightly apologetic about his findings. I mean, I’ve not seen anyone at RIBA wandering around with virtual goggles on, although I have spotted a Google Glass.

Prototyping for Architects
Mark Burry and Jane Burry, Thames & Hudson. 272pp HB £36

As founders of RMIT’s Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, and with Mark Burry using his digital expertise in the completion of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the authors’ familiarity with the subject is a given. In this copiously illustrated book, they guide us through the abstractions of computer generated design by grounding the reader firmly in the process of physical modelling. To show the importance of prototyping in establishing a relationship of a design with its real world context, the authors consider the design approaches of some the most famous and the smallest cutting-edge practices out there. The book proves inspirational, both in helping us look to the future as well as reminding us of Gaudi’s own physical installations of reversed chains – the inspiration for his own ground-breaking architecture.