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Book reviews: Three approaches to sustainability in architecture

Shukri Sultan

Shukri Sultan flicks through the latest tech titles and discovers more about energy efficient homes, timber structures and holistic design

Engineering Nature: Timber structures, detail edition
Editor: Jakob Schoof. De Gruyter. PB, 224pp, £47.50 

Timber is enjoying a resurgence as the industry sets out to reduce its carbon emissions. This book documents this change by outlining contemporary technical developments of the material through a series of short articles written by renowned structural engineers, researchers and historians. Beautifully illustrated with photographs and diagrams of successful case studies stretching from Tokyo to Surrey, this book is a treat for designers wishing to learn more about this versatile sustainable material.  


Designed to Perform: An illustrated guide to delivering energy efficient homes, Second edition 
Tom Dollard. RIBA Publishing. PB, 232pp, £30.00 

This timely book shows architects how to keep clients warm at a low cost, with strategies for those working in government and the built environment on how to improve the energy performance of newbuilds. Chapters focus on common thermal enveloping problems of masonry, concrete and timber and natural materials, accompanied by helpful diagrams. This edition has added a chapter on natural building materials. Clearly written, it is relevant to practitioners and students. 


Design to Value: The architecture of holistic design and creative technology
Mark Bryden, John Dyson, Jaimie Johnston, Martin Wood. RIBA Publishing 220p £45

Bryden Wood has been an industry trailblazer for BIM since setting up, but this book shows that its agenda extends much further, as the authors apply architectural thinking beyond the design to the whole project. This involves co-designing with the client/user at the outset to evolve design rather than working for prescribed outcomes. The book is highly developed graphically and with a lot of case studies to build its argument, the firm benefits from inserting its own projects among gems from Aalto, Hopkins, Atelier Bow-Wow, Piano & Rogers.

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Upcycled limestone bricks bring warmth and precision detailing to domestic extension by Draper Studio

Draper Studio adds warmth and precision detailing with upcycled limestone bricks

Smith & Taylor Architects has transformed a dilapidated London house into an artist’s home, studio and gallery that luxuriates in classical references

Artist’s home, studio and gallery luxuriates in classical references

Reimagine a London museum, masterplan a Yorkshire port or restore a Scottish castle: these are some of the latest architecture competitions and contracts from across the industry

Latest: Western Range galleries, British Museum

The hurdles of low-carbon design as well as issues of longevity, inclusion and how capitalism gives little value to good architecture were all discussed by this year's RIBAJ Rising Stars at a recent roundtable

Sustainbility, longevity and capitalism were all discussed by this year’s RIBAJ Rising Stars at a recent roundtable

When ADP Architecture reconfigured an office building as a specialist music school, it found the atrium surprisingly well-suited to conversion into an acoustically tuned and flexible performance space

ADP Architecture on how it designed Birmingham music school