Recent Books from Academic Partners

University of Washington library
Reading room, Suzzallo Library, University of Washington. [Photo by Nathan Makan]

It’s the time of year for hunkering down at the university library with a good book on architecture, urban planning or design. We are pleased to share this round-up of recent books by faculty in Places’ network of academic partners.

Eric W. Allison, Pratt Institute, School of Architecture; and Lauren Peters. Historic Preservation and the Livable City (Wiley, 2011).
For both the preservation professional and urban planner, this book shows how preservation of individual buildings and historic districts is a key ingredient in the success of vibrant and thriving cities. The authors demonstrate the many ways in which historic preservation can benefit a community when included as part of a comprehensive planning and economic strategy, and they offer tools and case studies that preservationists and planners can learn from in implementing preservation projects or plans.

Prasad Boradkar, Arizona State University, The Design School. Designing Things: A Critical Introduction to the Culture of Objects (Berg, 2010).
Prasad Boradkar examines the cultural meanings of things and the role of designers in their design and production. With clear explanations of key concepts, overviews of theoretical foundations and case studies of historical and contemporary objects, Designing Things looks behind-the-scenes and beneath-the-surface at some of our most familiar and iconic objects.

Gail Peter Borden, University of Southern California, School of Architecture. Material Precedent, The Typology of Modern Tectonics (Wiley, 2010).
Focusing on material as the premise of design exploration, this text identifies and graphically illustrates how material and modern tectonics have defined the formal and conceptual premise for the making of architecture. As a collection consisting primarily of 20th-century buildings emerging from the modernist sensibilities, the diagrams illustrate contemporary formal and spatial repercussions emerging from the physicality of material manipulation.

Sidney Brower, University of Maryland, School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Neighbors & Neighborhoods: Elements of Successful Community Design (APA/Planners Press, 2011).
Sidney Brower explains how a neighborhood’s design lays the groundwork for the social relationships that make it a community. He cautions that while design may give the “appearance” of a community, just because a place looks like a community does not mean it functions as one. Blending social science with personal interviews, Brower shares the lessons of planned communities from historic Riverside, Illinois, to archetypal Levittown, New York, and Disney’s Celebration, Florida.

Elizabeth Bye, University of Minnesota, College of Design. Fashion Design (Berg, 2010).
This text is designed to introduce undergraduate students to the central concepts of fashion design. Whereas fashion design is often considered entirely frivolous, this book considers the significant cultural, economic and ethical issues that designers must balance to be effective in the global fashion industry. After looking at the history of fashion design, the book provides an overview of the conceptual process involved in developing a fashion line and bringing garments to the market.

Greg Castillo, University of California–Berkeley, College of Environmental Design. Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design (University of Minnesota Press, 2010).
The first in-depth history of how domestic environments were exploited to promote the superiority of either capitalism or socialism on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Cold War on the Home Front reveals the tactics used by the American government to seduce citizens of the Soviet bloc with state-of-the-art consumer goods and the reactions of the Communist Party. Beginning in 1950, the U.S. State Department sponsored home expositions in West Berlin that were specifically designed to attract residents of East Berlin, featuring dream homes with modernist furnishings that presented an idealized vision of the lifestyle enjoyed by the consumer-citizen in the West. In response, Party authorities in East Germany staged socialist home expositions intended to evoke the domestic ideal of a cultured proletariat.

Alexander D’Hooghe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning. The Liberal Monument: Urban Design and the Late Modern Project (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010).
Alexander D’Hooghe argues that architecture and urbanism must boldly intervene in city planning and growth management to address the critical challenge of sprawl. He travels the world in search of experiments in urbanism and discovers in the work of ‘second-generation’ modernists Sigfried Giedion and Louis I. Kahn an effort to connect architecture, planning, and liberal politics. This becomes the seed for what he calls “the liberal monument.” The Liberal Monument is a provocative, accessible work of theory that challenges all of the accepted truths of urban design. Its goal is to restore the confidence architecture will need, whether it is building cities from the ground up in China and Dubai or managing the growth of the sprawling suburbs of Phoenix and Raleigh/Durham.

Jason Griffiths, Arizona State University, The Design School. Manifest Destiny: A Guide to the Essential Indifference of American Suburban Housing (Architectural Association, 2011).
On October 18, 2002, Jason Griffiths and Alex Gino set out to explore the American suburbs. Over 178 days they drove 22,383 miles, made 134 suburban house calls and took 2,593 photographs. Manifest Destiny reveals the results of this exploration in 58 short chapters that offer an architectural pattern book of suburban conditions all focused not on the unique or specific but the placeless. (See the related feature on Places.)

Andrew Herscher, University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict (Stanford UP, 2010).
While the construction of architecture has a place in architectural discourse, its destruction, generally seen as incompatible with the very idea of “culture,” has been neglected in theoretical and historical discussion. Andrew Herscher examines the case of the former Yugoslavia and in particular, Kosovo, where targeting architecture has been a prominent dimension of political violence. He traces the intersection of violence and architecture from socialist modernization, through ethnic and nationalist conflict, to postwar reconstruction.

InfraNet Lab / Lateral Office, University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism (Pamphlet Architecture #30, Princeton Architectural Press, 2011).
Coupling documents six projects of the research collective Infranet Lab / Lateral Office: a high-speed rail system across the Bering Strait that also collects freshwater from the seasonal iceshelf; a decommissioned airport transformed into a geothermal data farm and agriculture site; a system for repurposing oil rigs in the post-oil economy; thickening on/off ramps around “big box” stores into circular parking lots; a call to include landfills in the list of preserved open spaces; and a saline terminal lake turned into a water farm, recreational retreat, and habitat haven. The work proposes new directions for architecture and cities to respond opportunistically to urgencies in transportation, energy, and agriculture.

Ron Kasprisin, University of Washington, College of Built Environments. Urban Design: The Composition of Complexity (Routledge, 2011).
For planning to be successful, design must mean more than simply blindly following the dictates of legislation and regulation. This textbook puts thinking about design back at the heart of what planners do. It identifies the elements and principles of composition and explores compositional order and structure as they relate to the meaning and functionality of cities, mixing accessible theory, practical examples and carefully designed exercises for students across the full spectrum of planning and urban studies fields.

Ned Kaufman, Pratt Institute, School of Architecture. Place, Race, and Story: Essays on the Past and Future of Historic Preservation (Routledge, 2009).
This collection of Kaufman’s essays is dedicated to the proposition of giving the next generation of preservationists not only a foundational knowledge of the field of study, but more ideas on where they can take it. Through both big-picture essays considering preservation across time, and descriptions of work on specific sites, this collection trace the themes of place, race, and story in ways that raise questions, stimulate discussion and offer a different perspective on these common ideas. In unpublished essays as well as established works by the author, the book provides a new outline for a progressive preservation movement.

Serena Keshavjee, Ed., University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture. Winnipeg Modern: Architecture, 1945 to 1975 (University of Manitoba Press, 2006, reprinted 2011).
Beginning in the 1940s, John A. Russell, dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, nurtured a strong tradition of Modernist design with close connections to architectural giants such as Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. This book looks at a generation of young architects at the unviersity, such as James Donahue and David Thordarson, who adapted the principles of European Modernism to the prairie geography, and others, such as Étienne Gaboury and Gustavo da Roza, also left a lasting Modernist mark on Winnipeg’s skyline and private residences.

Judith Layzer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning. The Environmental Case: Translating Values Into Policy (CQ Press, 2011).
Through its 16 carefully constructed cases, the book gives readers a first-hand look at some of the most interesting and illuminating controversies in U.S. environmental policymaking. This third edition features fully revised and updated case studies, as well as three brand-new cases: Cape Wind and Alternative Energy, Ecosystem-Based Management in the Chesapeake Bay and the restoration of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Lazyer provides maps, tables, figures, questions to consider, recommended readings and useful websites to help students think critically about environmental policy and to facilitate further research.

Louise Mozingo, University of California–Berkeley, College of Environmental Design. Pastoral Capitalism: A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes (MIT Press, 2011).
By the end of the twentieth century, America’s suburbs contained more office space than its central cities. Many of these corporate workplaces were surrounded, somewhat incongruously, by verdant vistas of broad lawns and leafy trees. In Pastoral Capitalism, Louise Mozingo describes the evolution of these central (but often ignored) features of postwar urbanism in the context of the modern capitalist enterprise, examining not only the design of corporate landscapes but also the economic, social, and cultural models that determined their form.

Martin J. Murray, University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. City of Extremes: The Spatial Politics of Johannesburg (Duke UP, 2011).
City of Extremes is a powerful critique of urban development in greater Johannesburg since the end of apartheid in 1994. Murray describes how a loose alliance of city builders — including real estate developers, large-scale property owners, municipal officials and security specialists — has sought to remake Johannesburg in the upbeat image of a world-class city. By creating new sites of sequestered luxury catering to affluent urban residents, they have produced a new spatial dynamic of social exclusion, effectively barricading the mostly black urban poor from full participation in the mainstream of urban life.

Ken Tadashi Oshima, University of Washington, College of Built Environments. International Architecture in Interwar Japan: Constructing Kokusai Kenchiku (University of Washington Press, 2010).
After World War I, young architects in Japan strove to create an “international architecture,” or kokusai kenchiku, an expression of increasing international travel and communication, growth of the mass media, and technological innovation. Ken Tadashi Oshima traces the many interconnections among Japanese, European and American architects and their work by examining the careers and designs of three leading modernists in Japan: Yamada Mamoru (1894-1966), Horiguchi Sutemi (1895-1984), and Antonin Raymond (1888-1976).

Andrzej Piotrowski, University of Minnesota, College of Design. Architecture of Thought (University of Minnesota Press, 2011).
Andrzej Piotrowski maps and conceptually explores material practices of the past, showing how physical artifacts and visual environments manifest culturally rooted modes of thought and participate in the most nuanced processes of negotiations and ideological exchanges. According to Piotrowski, material structures enable people to think in new ways — distill emerging or alter existing worldviews — before words can stabilize them as conventional narratives. Combining design thinking with academic methods of inquiry, Piotrowski traces ancient to modern architectural histories and — through critical readings of select buildings — examines the role of nonverbal exchanges in the development of an accumulated Western identity.

Leslie N. Sharp, Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture. Travels Through History of Tennessee’s Dixie Highway (Arcadia, 2011).
The late-19th- and early-20th-century vision of the New South relied upon economic growth and access. The development of the Dixie Highway from 1914 to 1927 — with its eastern and western branches running from Ontario, Canada, south to Miami, Florida — would help facilitate this dream attracting industry, tourists, and even new residents. In this pictorial history book, over 200 vintage photographs tell the story of the people, places, politics and organizations behind the construction of the road from Springfield, Tennessee, to Chattanooga.

Perry Yang, Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture. Ecological Urbanism: Scale, Flow and Design (China Architecture and Building Press, 2010).
Perry Yang says environmental science is essential to sustainable urban design. Pointing to the overuse of the term sustainability, he suggests a renewed approach by which ecology can regenerate urban environments. He presents three dimensions of ecological urbanism: “scale” (the interrelated scales and contexts of cities and regions), “flow” (of energy, material, water, pedestrians and informational), and “design” (urban design as an ecological intervention). The book is written in both Chinese and English.

Places is grateful for the support of a network of academic partners, all of which provide funding and advice. News items are provided by the partners.