The Architecture Book Club
The Architecture Book Club recently got together to discuss our most recent book: Local Architecture: Building Place, Craft and Community by Brian MacKay-Lyons.
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A Special ABC Meeting
This book club meeting was more special than the rest. We chose Local Architecture because Brian MacKay-Lyons was in town as a visiting lecturer for the AIA Charleston/Clemson Architecture Center lecture series. In fact, we had the book club meeting directly after the lecture. But enough about the ABC, how about this book.
This book rocked!
Before I explain why this book rocked I need to give you some background.
Overview of Brian MacKay-Lyons and Ghost
You may remember Brian MacKay-Lyons from my post: Ghost Lab
MacKay-Lyons is an award-winning architect practicing out of his homeland of Nova Scotia. His practice MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple is best known for their rural houses that grace the Nova Scotia coastline.
In addition to his exceptional practice, MacKay-Lyons is also known for the design-build workshop known as Ghost. The workshop, which takes place among the ruins of a nearly 400 year old Arcadian village on the Nova Scotia coast, is attended by architects, students and professors. The lab consists of a one week design phase and a one week building phase.
Ghost 13 was held in 2011 and was different than previous Ghosts. No buildings were constructed, instead Ghost 13 served as a reunion for the collection of architects who had participated in previous Ghost Labs. Ghost 13 was a symposium with an all-star cast of speakers with the theme of: Place, Craft and Community.
The book is a collection of essays and keynotes from the Ghost 13 symposium, as well as, a collection of work from the speakers of Ghost 13.
Back to this book rocking!
This book was great for me because it celebrated the work of some of my favorite architects. Architects that I refer to as 'cool modern architects designing houses out in the sticks.' The more Archispeaky description would be:
Modern Vernacular Architects
The architects featured in the book belong to a group of folks commonly referred to as modern vernacular architects. In general, these architects have built their practice with a regional focus and have created an architecture that is both of its time and of its place.
And that's very hard to do.
Here are some of my favorite architects who were featured:
A great coffee table book.
I would classify this book as a coffee table book. There are some very valuable lessons to be learned from the essays, however it is the photos of the architecture that make this a must have. Each of the 19 architects featured share a consistent dedication to a contemporary sense of place, yet their is a tremendous amount of variety amongst the work. Which underscores the importance of place.
My favorite keynote was the discussion between Glenn Murcutt and Juhani Pallasmaa titled: From the Beginning: Thirteen Questions. In this discussion, Murcutt shares stories from his youth growing up in Australia and shares secrets to his practice.
That last quote from Murcutt really resonated with me. I read that while we were in the middle of a renovation of our home. Just about every day I would come home and inspect the work done and I rarely would commend the work. Instead I would find the errors and complain to the contractor.
I stopped that as soon as I read that quote from Murcutt. After that I began highlighting the great work. Immediately results improved and most important, morale improved. Such simple advice.
Who knew that getting great architecture was more about psychology than design?
Should you get this book?
If you are an architect or aspiring architect looking for inspiring design then I would highly recommend this book. I would also recommend this book for the non-architects who have an interest in progressive design. If you are not a fan of modern architecture, then this book is probably not for you.
The Future of the ABC
The Architecture Book Club is a Charleston group that began about 3 years ago. I was thinking that in 2016 I would share the books that we are going to read to the entire Buildings Are Cool Nation. That way everyone could participate.
I plan on publishing the book list shortly after New Years and am taking recommendations.