Must have books for Student

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Must have books for Student

Postby Creechy » Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:23 pm

g'day all,

Just finish my 2nd year of my bach. of architecture. ANd i'm just now finding out the benefit of reading and studying books about more established architects.

I am particularly interested in the works of Murcutt and Wright. However, i' m looking to expand my design horizons.

Can you guys recommend some books that are kinda must haves for a good library.

....im looking for structure and construction books as well.

Cheers, Creechy
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Postby CaliforniaArchitectCE.com » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:56 pm

Some of the best ones are probably required texts, but if not...

Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods , Allen
To save a lot of $$ get an old edition.

Building Construction Illustrated, Ching
A must have.

Form, Function & Design, Grillo
Definitely buy a used copy rather than new.

The Universal Traveler, Koberg & Bagnall
Definitely buy a used copy rather than new. In fact, the used ones are so cheap, I may have to grab some to give my kids. It's a great book for anyone who has to solve problems.
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Postby phansford » Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:02 am

Those are decent reference books.... but you seriously need to read the following books IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT ARCHITECTURE (Its the only way you'll work in the best firms)

Vitruvius: Ten Books in Architecture.
Personally I prefer Thomas Gordon Smith's "Vitruvius on Architecture". Smith looks at the five books that discuss architecture directly and puts it in relationship to current practice. He was the Dean of Architecture at Notre Dame and turned that program into a haven for Classicism.

Place of Houses by Charles Moore
Nice primer on contextual design.

Kindergarten Chats by Louis Sullivan
The Master discusses architecture with the apprentice. Without Louis there would be no Wright.

Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eile Rasmussen
This is an excellent book for beginning students. (Re-reading this myself)

Towards a New Architecture by LeCorbusier
No comment needed.

Classical Language of Architecture by John Summerson
A nice small book that transcribes Sir Summerson's BBC radio series of the same title. Excellent Excellent book.... I have read it at least 4 times.

Complexity and Contradiction by Robert Venturi
You need to have a firm grasp on architectural history to understand some of his references. Venturi loves Luytens.... but don't we all. This books gives us the ability to break the strait-jacket of Modernism and look at history again.
Also read Learning from Las Vegas by Venturi.

Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and other Essays - Colin Rowe.
(This is pretty heady stuff and you might need to wait a year or so in your studies before tackling it)

Urban Space by Rob Krier
If you are not designing with urbanist viewpoint, then your work is just meaningless objects on the landscape. Its the space they form with their neighbors and how they connect to each other.

This is just a start..... I could easily list 20-30 more books.


It astounds me when people come into my office looking for work and they can't even begin to discuss IN DETAIL the major works of important architects or treatises. To paraphrase Peter Eisenmann.... you might as well be a monkey in front of a typewriter.... you can bang on the keys all day, but you won't create literature. If you don't know architecture.... how are you going to create it!!!! My 17 year son has read more on architecture than most interns I know!!!!
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Postby average joe » Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:57 pm

Interns don't have the time your 17 year old son has in order to read architectural treatises. But good on your boy anyways.
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Postby phansford » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:06 pm

average joe wrote:Interns don't have the time your 17 year old son has in order to read architectural treatises. But good on your boy anyways.


Your kidding.... right.

I had the time as a graduate student, an intern, and I still have the time as a practicing professional running my own firm.

When I worked for one of the top firms in the midwest (Gold Medal Firm) even the senior partner (who was FAIA and had won the Gold Medal for his individual work) was reading and discussing architectural theory. I remember discussing Vitruvius with him. Then I worked for a Loeb Fellow.... he read a lot... and typically recommended works for the younger staff to read.

We don't hire the ill-read. They can go work in the grunt firms.
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Postby average joe » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:26 am

Most, not all, interns are too busy by being forced into becoming cad monkeys where they have to spend countless hours trying to upgrade their mad cad skills.

Sure the owners can read books while standing on the backs of these interns. The few at the top always have time.
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Postby Kevin » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:33 am

Time to read seems to be more an issue of how one chooses to invest one's time outside of work, in expanding knowledge and thinking, than something having to do with the immediate kind of work.

If one is watching video, gaming, pubbing, web-surfing, etc. then they surely have time to read (instead)?

When I worked in a cannery, or drove a bean harvester - twelve hour shifts, change in the field, walk to and from the plant, making for steady 14 hour-plus days - as intense as being a struggling CAD drone, maybe? - I had to read, on occasional days off at least, to feel alive.

It's a personal choice you should make for yourself.
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Postby average joe » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:56 am

Oh, I have never said that reading isn't a good thing. In fact as I have moved upwards I have more time to do so. But when I was an intern working for the average type firms I either didn't have time to read or didn't want to after my 50-60 hour mind numbing week of cad monkeying. I was in my twentys so you fighure it out. So, I certainly fell into that trap for the first few years where the firm hires you to be a drone. But that is typical in this field and the few people who were hired by those exceptions to this rule should feel lucky. Of course those few people out there believe this to be the norm.

And I can see where working a hard labor job may create a desire in somebody to expand themselves on a mental level.
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Postby O-Archy » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:15 pm

Reading about architecture is vital.... to creative and critical thinking
There's additional reference books at this 'crosspost' over on the architecture forum:
http://www.designcommunity.com/forums/topic-8125.html
Cheers
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Postby phansford » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:27 pm

average joe wrote:But when I was an intern working for the average type firms I either...........didn't want to after my 50-60 hour mind numbing week of cad monkeying.


That was a choice you made.

average joe wrote:.......I certainly fell into that trap for the first few years where the firm hires you to be a drone. But that is typical in this field and the few people who were hired by those exceptions to this rule should feel lucky. Of course those few people out there believe this to be the norm.


The drone syndrome has been around since before CAD. Prior to CAD, the average intern would be doing field measuring, base drawings, stair details, bathroom details or correcting redlines. No offense.... it was an issue of talent. The less talented started basically as a draftsman. Today they're CAD monkeys. The talented are designers.

That doesn't mean someone without a lot of design talent can't be a strong project manager or project architect. I have worked with some great people who lacked design talent, but understood design and did great things to make sure the firms work got implemented as intended.

FWIW - even the lowest level person in a high end design firm will be well-read and be able to converse about architectural history/theory.

I got those drone job offers and rejected them. I pushed for and obtained a design position. The FAIA guy basically hired me on the spot after discussing history/theory during my interview and of course the strength of my portfolio.

BTW - I'm a single person firm. So I do (and did) all the CAD work on top of doing all the management things in running a firm. And I still have (make) time to read.

average joe wrote:Sure the owners can read books while standing on the backs of these interns. The few at the top always have time.


I think you are mistaken that there isn't hard work in upper management. While one might not be drafting any more, their time is filled with project management, marketing, sales, and so on. The things it takes to keep the CAD monkeys feed.

Don't get me wrong... I understand the cynicism. I made my former employers a lot of money.... but that's why I left and started my own practice 17 years ago.

But interns don't have any skin in the game. They aren't making the investment into the firm. They aren't obtaining E/O policies. They aren't creating a vision for the firm's future. So no.... they don't get paid as well at the owners. Advancement in any firm will be based on one's ability to bring work into the firm and/or make projects profitable for the firm. Otherwise - you are just a mouth to feed.
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Postby average joe » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:57 pm

phansford wrote:
average joe wrote:But when I was an intern working for the average type firms I either...........didn't want to after my 50-60 hour mind numbing week of cad monkeying.


That was a choice you made.

Oh jeez, the people on this site and "choice you made" schtick. Yes I made the choice to work for an standard/average architecture firm.
This is where MOST interns end up.

phansford wrote:The drone syndrome has been around since before CAD. Prior to CAD, the average intern would be doing field measuring, base drawings, stair details, bathroom details or correcting redlines. No offense.... it was an issue of talent. The less talented started basically as a draftsman. Today they're CAD monkeys. The talented are designers.


Yes the talented interns (after a few short weeks <insert sarcasm here>) end up designers at some point. But please do not tell me you hire designers "BANG" right out of college. Just my guess.

phansford wrote:That doesn't mean someone without a lot of design talent can't be a strong project manager or project architect. I have worked with some great people who lacked design talent, but understood design and did great things to make sure the firms work got implemented as intended.


Obviously architecture requires more than someone who can design pretty pictures. We need cad monkeys as much as we need anybody else in the grand scheme of things. But cad monkey is a the bottom.

phansford wrote:FWIW - even the lowest level person in a high end design firm will be well-read and be able to converse about architectural history/theory.


He certainly should be able to hold some sort of architectural conversation but to think that while they were 22 years old and in studio/school 10-14 hours a day working on their next project or doing the standard amount of homework, that they'd prefer to pick up an extra book on vitruvius to getting some sleep or drinking a beer, is simply wrong. I can't say that any better. Wrong.


phansford wrote:I got those drone job offers and rejected them. I pushed for and obtained a design position. The FAIA guy basically hired me on the spot after discussing history/theory during my interview and of course the strength of my portfolio.


You are the exception to the rule. Or a liar. I don't know you well enough to call you a liar at this point so I will accept what you tell me. But this is not standard.

phansford wrote:BTW - I'm a single person firm. So I do (and did) all the CAD work on top of doing all the management things in running a firm. And I still have (make) time to read.


And so goes the field of architecture. I would guess that the majority of licensed architects are either sole prop. or with a partner and yes after 10, 15 or 20 years you learn how tomanage yourself in order to free up some time. Plus this economy certainly has increased free time for a lot of us.

phansford wrote:I think you are mistaken that there isn't hard work in upper management. While one might not be drafting any more, their time is filled with project management, marketing, sales, and so on. The things it takes to keep the CAD monkeys feed. .


Never said that architects as owners don't work hard. Sure the cad monkey does not have a dog in the race. This is were they start and they learn and move up. Just stilllsaying that while they are now out of school, they have to learn actual architecture FOR THE COMPANY which probably is not reading Vitruvius. More likly reading REVIT and figuring out which section to put on which sheet, where and knocking out IDP.


phansford wrote:But interns don't have any skin in the game. They aren't making the investment into the firm. They aren't obtaining E/O policies. They aren't creating a vision for the firm's future. So no.... they don't get paid as well at the owners. Advancement in any firm will be based on one's ability to bring work into the firm and/or make projects profitable for the firm. Otherwise - you are just a mouth to feed.


Right, couldn't agree more. So how did we get here again? Oh yeah, while interning and doing IDP 50-60 hours a week, we should be spending the rest of our free time reading architectural treatises.
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Postby RickBalkins » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:37 pm

average joe:

Just to put it simply, YOU work for a company's whose bread & butter (ie. product/service) is designing. If you can't design, you can't produce the "product" of their business (DESIGN SERVICES). Therefore, you are relegated as a drafter / CAD monkey.

Drafters / CAD monkeys general job duty does NOT require ANY design thinking.

Think, the value of the business is DESIGN. If you wanted better recognition, then work for a Drafting company where you are recognized better.

Remember, drafting is a small part of Architecture. An Architect should know how to draft. However, the purpose of the Architect is to DESIGN not draft. If you go to architecture school THEN learn to DESIGN and develop the skill. You don't have to be talented. You just have to work harder. Those who are talented are skilled through semi-related backgrounds like Art and other course. They are already functioning in a creative thinking process from growing up that way. In short, if you are trained with a very mechanical background, you need to develop that skill and in other words - "catch up".

If you want to be "mechanical", you could have gone engineering route or just got a 2yr. CAD degree and be a drafter. If your creative designing ability is somewhat lagging, I might suggest you take a few Art classes to set your mind to think creatively. Like to be creative from abstract sources of inspiration.

I might suggest you go to this site:

http://www.miltonstricker.com/

and read the online book:

http://www.miltonstricker.com/Book/index.html

This might really help you out in improving design skill (which is superior to design talent). Talent is raw. Skill is refined. Ok. I suggest you have a good read with this.
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Postby RickBalkins » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:44 pm

First off, there is 168 hours a week. Don't forget Spring Break, Winter Break and Summer Break. Don't STOP studying. At college age, you should be able to read a 1000 page book in 2 weeks at 4 hours a day. This means, your reading speed is TOO slow.

So, you can read those books over the break. The issue is, students don't strive to be 210% focused on their studies. You get what you put into it.

It has been awhile since I read the Vitruvius's De Architectura in full. However, do you understand what the 3 Vitruvian Goals of Architecture?

In Latin !

Only 3 words. You can list it or write it with commas in between.

Then what is meant by each of those 3 goals.
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Postby phansford » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:52 pm

Avg. Joe - you're pretty down on the profession. Too bad.

We make our own success. I was determined to do design work and I only interviewed with the design-oriented firms.

And yes - the design firms are very different then the average firm. Thats why the average firms don't win design awards or get published.

They function much differently than the "average" firm. There typically is a strong design focus at the upper end of management. The principals are very involved in reviewing and approving design. We actually did pin-ups in those offices and the entire design staff would crit the work. The design partner had final say on the direction and vision for a project. As a junior designer, I was working on smaller projects ($6 million bus storage facility - won a masonry award) and supported the senior designer on the $20 M airport terminal expansion. I did a LOT of design/presentation drawings. Then would take projects into Design Development.

You seem to have a lot of excuses... homework for other classes, IDP, CAD Monkey, beer is more important than architecture..... yada, yada, yada. There is a dedication that is required to do architecture... otherwise, you're just doing buildings. Maybe you're not willing to put in the effort to do architecture.

I think this video sums it up .... if you don't know architecture history and theory... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQFEaAUrfAk
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Postby average joe » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:16 am

Rick,

I'm a licensed architect - not building designer. This probably means that I have had to design something at some point in my career in order to actually become licensed. It also means that I was required to read Vitruvius, most likely in my first year of college.

What exactly are you on these days?
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