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Tech reads: Down to the nitty gritty with technical titles

Jan-Carlos Kucharek

Site analysis, render and five main construction materials are covered in this month’s selection of new publications

100 Site Analysis Essentials: An Architect’s Guide
Peter Farrall and Iain Jackson. RIBA Publishing. 258pp PB £28

The authors, both professors at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture, approach site analysis in a rigorous and thorough way. A short overview is followed by chapters on Context/ Routes/ Environment/ Groupings & Usage and Interface. These are all colour coded and, handily, tips are cross-referenced throughout, so tips are not just read in isolation. Yes, great for students, but perhaps a good aide-memoire too for the world-weary architect to remind them why they chose the subject in the first place.

About Render: Designing and Realising Plaster Surfaces
Annette Spiro, Hartmut Göhler, Pinar Gönül eds. Edition Detail. 378pp PB £64

This beautifully compiled book gives a full historical and technical picture of this most simple and ancient building method. Sections are broken down into renders used on different wall types, their uses all illustrated using contemporary case studies from Europe, depicted in photographs and details. Most charming of all is the pull-out poster illustrating 85 different types of plaster application, from the very finest, through to ‘sculptural’ thicknesses. A fascinating taxonomy of what’s possible with the medium.

Hybrid, Masonry, Timber, Concrete, Steel
Daniel Mettler, Daniel Studer & Irene von Meiss-Leuthold. Birkhäuser. 128pp HB £37

On the face of it, this is a book of 25 contemporary Swiss projects which all showcase the five construction materials in the title – but with no contents page you might struggle to realise that. Inside, the green of the cover repeats as a wash on a photo spread to introduce each project and its architect, followed by a lovely 1:15 isometric of that building’s fabric. No description of any of the materials beyond this sizeable line drawing; plus three short essays at the back, set in large font and, er… that’s it. Seductive layout on gorgeous, glossy paper, but perhaps a triumph of form over content.

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