Architecture: Systems, Spaces, Surroundings

I’ve been reading Randy Hester’s Book Ecological Democracy and its been making me think of my place in the field. Randy Hester is a landscape architect so his perspective is at a larger scale. However, the stuff I like to do are all at the smaller architectural scale (and really at the small architectural scale). I don’t know how I got from thinking about sustainability to this realization, but I do think that we can boil down what we do to manipulating systems, arranging spaces, and doing so in the context of surroundings.

I imagine that in my Berkeley days, I would have put the emphasis in spaces (and how they affect community and human interaction). But after living in Houston, I’ve come to realize that integrating sustainable systems (ones that are automatically more efficient and those that encourage more efficient behaviour) are also an important aspect of any project. And as always, I’ve always thought it was strange that architecture lit loves to put each building as a seperate jewel – a tendency that I always thought was quite ridiculous. A building is a function of a multitude forces, and it is silly to try to understand it as an independent entity floating in a formless landscape.

I dunno where this is going as a theory, but it seems to encapsulate key issues that I deal with as an architect.

Books worth re-reading regularly

I just picked up a copy of Invisible Cities by Calvino and it made me wonder…what books are worth re-reading regularly? I looked over my bookshelf and I have to admit I don’t actually see any other book that fits the bill. Maybe the sandman series by Gaiman, but beyond that I’m having a hard time thinking of any. Maybe one of my architecture books, but nothing I can think of at the moment….