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How Buildings Learn: What Happens After…

How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built (original 1994; edition 1995)

by Stewart Brand

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8251710,980 (4.26)11
Title:How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built
Authors:Stewart Brand
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1995), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:architecture, evolution, progress, society, nonfiction

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How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand (1994)



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"How Buildings Learn" is a seminal work on the life of buildings after they've been built and is then subject to the whims of its inhabitants, the weather, changes in technology and changes in architectural styles. Throughout various examples, Brand advocates for evolutionary-not-visionary design for buildings.

Brand is an incredible writer; he manages to make a complex topic simple, and litters the book with profound yet easy to digest insights. "How Buildings Learn" also benefits from great design itself; the text is often accompanied by many great photo case studies of how a building changes and adapts through the centuries.

Published in 1994, "How Buildings Learn" is still as relevant today as it was twenty years ago. Highly recommended. ( )
3 vote jasonli | Sep 16, 2014 |
A really interesting way to look at buildings and how to make them useful for a long time. ( )
  castiron | May 10, 2013 |
I bought this book while i was in Engineering school on my way to study Architecture. Never went that direction, but finally read the book. A great book on buildings alone, but concepts it has go beyond buildings and into many areas of applied design, including websites and computer software. ( )
1 vote Murdocke23 | Jan 31, 2010 |
Stewart Brand's How Buildings Learn is half detailed analytical study of real buildings, half manifesto. Brand brings front and center the crucial features of real buildings that architects for the most part love to sweep under the rug, or rather love to sweep under the gleaming mock-ups they parade about to naive clients: how well do buildings really serve their intended purposes after they're complete? How are they changed over time as the demands on them inevitably change, often radically? How hard -- and costly -- is it to make these changes? This added fourth dimension, i.e. time itself, is the source of remarkably rich insights, over and over, as Brand analyzes the lives of real buildings as they age and adapt -- or die.

Brand also skewers the whole profession of modernist-dominated architecture with true aim and vigor. If you've ever been involved in a building project, or if you will be, you will never look at an architect in quite the same way again -- and neither should you. Brand's criticisms of architects' egotism, contempt for clients and neighborhoods, and quixotic and destructive rage for making a mark by being 'original' are right on.

I would give this book six stars if I could. ( )
1 vote mrtall | Jul 8, 2009 |
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Buildings have often been studies whole in space, but never before have they been studied whole in time. How Buildings Learn is a masterful new synthesis that proposes that buildings adapt best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants, and that architects can mature from being artists of space to becoming artists of time. From the connected farmhouses of New England to I.M. Pei's Media Lab, from "satisficing" to "form follows funding," from the evolution of bungalows to the invention of Santa Fe Style, from Low Road military surplus buildings to a High Road English classic like Chatsworth -- this is a far-ranging survey of unexplored essential territory. More than any other human artifacts, buildings improve with time -- if they're allowed to. How Buildings Learn shows how to work with time rather than against it. - Publisher.… (more)

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