Books – Under Construction

A list of books I have found to be essential , interesting, fun and outrageous – in no particular order and in various states of undress – with reviews culled from here and there and occasionally tackled (poorly!) by me as well( time permitting)

If this gets too long I will split them up with a suitable format. ( Can anyone help me with how to organize something like this in WordPress?)

Hey! And despite Kindle and  Ipad  and because  “real” books are so cool, here is some eye candy:

From dieselbookstore


Coolest Library Ever?

“Nothing quite prepares you for the culture shock of Jay Walker’s library. You exit the austere parlor of his New England home and pass through a hallway into the bibliographic equivalent of a Disney ride. Stuffed with landmark tomes and eye-grabbing historical objects — on the walls, on tables, standing on the floor — the room occupies about 3,600 square feet on three mazelike levels. Is that a Sputnik? (Yes.) Hey, those books appear to be bound in rubies. (They are.) Gee, that chandelier looks like the one in the James Bond flick Die Another Day. (Because it is.) No matter where you turn in this ziggurat, another treasure beckons you — a 1665 Bills of Mortality chronicle of London (you can track plague fatalities by week), the instruction manual for the Saturn V rocket (which launched the Apollo 11 capsule to the moon), a framed napkin from 1943 on which Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan to win World War II. In no time, your mind is stretched like hot taffy.”

Jay Walker's Library

Read all of Steven Levy’s article, replete with other breathtaking photos, here.


Stan Allen, 1999, Points & Lines: Diagrams and Projects For the City, Princeton Architecture Press, New York

Alan Berger, 2008. Designing the reclaimed landscape. Taylor & Francis, New York

Ed Bacon,  1974 Design of Cities. Penguin Books, New YorkJames Corner,  and Alan MacLean, 1996,Taking Measures Across the American Landscape, Yale University Press, New Haven

Rick Burdett,  & Dejan Sudic (Eds.) 2009, The Endless City, Phaidon London.

Alan De Botton,  2006, The Architecture of Happiness, Hammish Hamilton, London

Dave Dewar,  and Fabio Todeschini,  2004 Rethinking Urban Transport after Modernism, Ashgate, Aldershot UK.

“For the last seven decades, urban settlement policy worldwide has been increasingly dominated by modernist precepts and by urban decisions made in discipline-specific ‘silos’. The urban management consequences have been invariably negative, with increasing sprawl, fragmentation and separation resulting in a wide range of environmental, social and economic problems. This book explores the role of movement in a more integrated approach to urban settlement, and how thinking, policies and actions need to change. South Africa is used as a particularly good case study, since patterns of sprawl, fragmentation and separation have been exacerbated by apartheid, while recent legislation has demanded a reversal of these tendencies.”

Richard Forman, 2008, Urban Regions: Ecology and Planning Beyond the City, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Manuel Gausa,  Et Al, 2008 The Metropolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture, Actar, Barcelona

Jan Gehl,  1974, Life Between buildings. Danish Architectural Press, Copenhagen

Jan Gehl,  L. Gemzoe, 1996, Public Spaces, Public Life, Danish Architectural Press, Copenhagen

Eli Goldratt, & R.E. Fox, 1986, The Race, North River Press, New York.

Michael Hensel,  (Ed) 2009, Space Reader: Heterogeneous Space in Architecture, Wiley, London.

Bill Hillier,  2006, Space is the Machine, Electronic Edition, OKLA. Space Syntax, London.

Bill Hillier,  and J. Hanson, 1984, The Social Logic of Space, Cambridge, London

Michael Hough, 1995. Cities and Natural Process. Routledge Press, Sheffield

Geoffrey Jellicoe,  &S (1987) The Landscape of Man, London, Thames & Hudson

Robert Kaplan, & S. Kaplan 1995, The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Niall Kirkwood,  2001. Manufactured Sites: Re-thinking the Post-industrial Landscape. Taylor & Francis, USA

Rem Koohaas,  and B. Mau, 1997, S,M,L,XL, Monacelli Press,

Henri Lefebvre,  (1991) The Production of Space, Translated by D. Nicholson-Smith, Blackwell, Oxford.

J. Lin, . and C. Mele (Eds.) 2005, The Urban Sociology Reader, Routledge, New York.

James Lovelock, .2007, The Revenge of Gaia, Penguin, London.

Paul Lukez,  2007, Suburban Transformations, Princton Architectural Press, New York.

William McDonough  & K. Braungart , 2002 Cradle to Cradle, North Point Press, San Francisco

Hohsen Mostafavi,  2003. Landscape Urbanism: A manual for the machinic landscape. Architectural Association. AA Publications. London

Mohsen Mostafavi,  & G. Doherty, Eds, 2010, Ecological Urbanism,  Lars Muller Publishers, Baden

John Motloch,   2000, Introductionto Landscape Design, Wiley, New York

F. Ndubisi,  2002, Ecological Planning : A Historical and Comparative System, John Hopkins, Baltimore.

Edgar Pieterse, E, 2010 Counter-Currents: Experiments in Sustainability in the Cape Town Region, Jacana, Cape Town

Paul Preghill,  and N. Volkman (1999) Landscapes in  History: Design and Planning in the Eastern an Western Traditions. New York, John wiley

Bill Hillier (2007) Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture

Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture

Publisher: S p a c e S y n t a x  | 368 Pages | ISBN: 0955622409 , 052164528X | File type: PDF | 27 mb

Since The Social Logic of Space was published in 1984 Bill Hillier and his colleagues at University College London have been conducting research on how space features in the form and functioning of buildings and cities. A key outcome is the concept of ‘spatial configuration’ – meaning relations which take account of other relations in a complex. New techniques have been developed and applied to a wide range of architectural and urban problems. The aim of this book is to assemble some of this work and show how it leads the way to a new type of theory of architecture: an ‘analytic’ theory in which understanding and design advance together. The success of configurational ideas in bringing to light the spatial logic of buildings and cities suggests that it might be possible to extend these ideas to other areas of the human sciences where problems of configuration and pattern are critical.
Download Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture :

HotfilefILSERVE | Or here on scribd

Space is the machine Bill Hillier

Reviewed by David Seamon

Architecture, through the design of space, creates a virtual community with a certain structure and a certain density. This is what architecture does and can be seen to do, and it may be all that architecture does. If space is designed wrongly, then natural patterns of social co-presence in space are not achieved. In such circumstances, space is at best empty, at worst abused and a source of fear (p. 188).

In the fields of architectural and environment-behavior research, architectural theorist Bill Hiller’s theory of space syntax continues to be one of the most rewarding efforts to understand the ways in which people and the physical environment are inescapably related (for an earlier report on Hillier’s work, see EAP, spring 1993).Read Further

Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order, 4 vols. (Berkeley, CA: Center for Environmental Structure, 2002—05).

This four-volume masterwork explores the nature of a particular kind of order that Alexander calls wholeness, which, whether in nature or human-made, is the “source of coherence in any part of the world.” He argues that, wherever there is wholeness, there is life, which involves such qualities as good health, well being, vitality, handsomeness, and beauty. Though Alexander has never called his work “phenomenological,” The Nature of Order is a major contribution to phenomenologies of seeing, understanding, designing, constructing, and making. Most broadly, it points toward a “phenomenology of wholeness-as-evoked-through-qualities-of-the-spatial-and-material-world.”

The Nature of Order Website has a lot you can read about it and from it. with links to reviews, quotes, pictures, a synopsis and more>

“My own take on this opus from the author of the influential Pattern Language and The Timeless Way of Building, is that this is a life-long struggle to find the all enfolding ‘ key to life’ – and in my opinion it required constant revision as each iteration is found to lack that elusive essence once it is reduced to form – this is maybe only available in the realm of ideas and maybe in the realm of spirit which the enlightenment had killed ….But here are some links to reviews and ultimately you can read it yourself – I have never been able to make it the end of  a Christopher Alexander book – they are just tooo tedious! DG

“Christopher Alexander is an architect who, since the 1960s, is very well known and controversial. His four-volume The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe is his masterwork, some 20 years in preparation (1)

As its subtitle indicates, Order goes far beyond architecture. It is so articulate about the process of building and making and the characteristics of meaningful form or structure in any human-made or naturally created thing, that it is well worth the reading time—over 2,000 pages—and money—75 dollars per volume.”Read further:

A Review of Alexander’s New Magnum Opus, The Nature of Order

Reviewed by Michael Mehaffy

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Christopher Alexander studied physics and mathematics at Cambridge before earning the first PhD in architecture awarded at Harvard University. Following a distinguished career in architectural research, he was the first recipient ever of the AIA Medal for Architectural Research in 1970. He was honored at that time for his “exceptional willingness to share his scientific findings with the architectural community.” In 1996, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He is author of the design classicsNotes on the Synthesis of FormA City is Not A Tree, and A Pattern Language — the latter now reportedly the best-selling treatise on architecture of all time, and the basis for a branch of object-oriented software design that has produced such popular classics as “The Sims”.

“Christopher Alexander, the Cambridge-educated mathematician and influential iconoclast of architectural theory and practice, has just begun publication of the four volume “The Nature of Order,” a book on which he has been working for over twenty years. Like Steven Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science” — with which it has been compared — it is long (almost 2,000 pages), richly illustrated, and suggestive of nothing less than a new scientific world view.

The essence of that view is this: the universe is not made of “things,” but of patterns — of complex, interactive geometries. Furthermore, this way of understanding the world can unlock marvelous secrets of nature, and perhaps even make possible a renaissance of human-scale design and technology.” Read Further

The Pattern Language Website has a lot of information and links for other books and information – this is a really “New Age-y” kind of thing and being from California….. – but seriously there is really a lot here – at one time I was really caught up in the excitement of this and it is still inspiring  but…..?

Finally (if you can ever say that about anyone – least of all someone as prolific as Alexander)  ” here is an in depth site by his friend

Nikos A. Salingaros



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