Download How to Read Architecture: An Introduction to Interpreting the Built Environment PDF

TitleHow to Read Architecture: An Introduction to Interpreting the Built Environment
ISBN 139780415836203
File Size43.9 MB
Total Pages411
Document Text Contents
Page 2

How to Read Architecture

How to Read Architecture is based on the fundamental premise that reading
and interpreting architecture is something we already do, and that close
observation matters. This book enhances this skill so that given an unfamiliar
building, you will have the tools to understand it and to be inspired by it. Author
Paulette Singley encourages you to misread, closely read, conventionally read,
and unconventionally read architecture to stimulate your creative process.

This book explores three essential ways to help you understand
architecture: reading a building from the outside-in, from the inside-out, and
from the position of out-and-out, or formal, architecture. This book erodes
boundaries between the frequently compartmentalized �elds of interior
design, landscape design, and building design with chapters exploring con-
cepts of terroir, scenography, criticality, atmosphere, tectonics, inhabitation,
type, form, and enclosure. Using examples and case studies that span a wide
range of historical and global precedents, Singley addresses the complex inter-
action among the ways a building engages its context, addresses its performa-
tive exigencies, and operates as an autonomous aesthetic object.

Including over 300 images, this book is an essential read for both
undergraduate and postgraduate students of architecture with a global focus
on the interpretation of buildings in their context.

Paulette Singley is a widely read architectural historian and theorist whose
work expands the disciplinary limits of architecture across diverse subject
matter such as food, �lm, and fashion. She is a Professor of Architecture at
Woodbury University in Los Angeles, California. She received a Ph.D. from
Princeton University, an M.A. from Cornell University, and a B.Arch. from
the University of Southern California. She co-edited Eating Architecture, the
�rst book to explore the intersections of architecture and the culinary arts.
She also co-edited Architecture: In Fashion and has published chapters in
several anthologies as well as essays in architecture journals such as Log and

Page 205

Part 3 Inside-Out Architecture


Figure 7.10 Hassan Fathy, New Gourna, Egypt gouache from Architecture for the Poor, 1969, © Aga Khan Trust
for Culture/Hassan Fathy

Eladio Dieste pioneered structural tile in Uruguay with a number of sin-
gle-layer shell structures constructed with funicular shapes. At the Iglesia de
Cristo Obrero y Nuestra Señora de Lourdes in Estación Atlántida, Uruguay
(Church of Christ the Worker and Our Lady of Lourdes, 1958–1960), also known
more simply as Iglesia de Estación Atlántida, Dieste combined Gaussian vaults

Page 206



and vertical ruled surfaces (super�cies regladas) to transform humble brickwork
into self-supporting systems of undulating walls and roof. Built of thin-shelled,
single-brick thickness, Gaussian vaults derive stiffness and strength from the
geometry of catenary arches that curve in two directions. Ruled surfaces begin
as straight-line segments whose ends evolve into sinusoidal paths. Translated
into the walls of the church, the curves are generated from straight lines at
ground level that expand into conoidal waves as they rise to the top. Walls
and roof meet at the intersection of two sets of parabolic  curves,  creating
a �owing interior volume composed of undulating brick surfaces. Structures
such as Félix Candela’s thin undulating shells at the  restaurant of the Hotel
Casino de la Selva in Cuernavaca,  Mexico (1956), Pier  Luigi Nervi’s ribbed
dome at the Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome, Italy (1960), Paul Revere Williams’
intersecting hyperbolic paraboloid of thin-shell concrete for the La Concha
Motel in Las Vegas, Nevada (1961), or Antti Lovag’s bubble rooms at the Palais
Bulles in Cannes, France (“Palace of Bubbles,” 1989), introduce reinforced con-
crete into the conversation of malleable earthen building materials, expanding
the �eld of inquiry in�nitely to the potential of radical curvilinear forms de�ned
by superbly thin enclosures that offer the experience of inhabiting an ancient
Greek terracotta pithos.

The tower Gustave Eiffel designed for the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle—
commemorating the hundred-year anniversary of the French Revolution—is
a decorative structure that symbolized the exposition’s theme of “Utopia

Figure 7.11
Nader Khalili,
Fire system
in Hesperia,
courtesy of
Institute of
Earth Art and

Page 410



Wundt, Wilhelm 237
Würtzburg Women’s Penitentiary,

Germany (Speeth) 350, 352

Xesspe, Toribio Mejia 2

Yale Assembly Pavilion, International
Festival of Arts and Ideas, New
Haven, US (FreelandBuck) 364, 366

Yemen 193, 194

Yi-Fu Tuan 92
Yokohama International Port Terminal,

Japan (FOA) 293, 294

Zaera-Polo, Alejandro 293
Zeleke Belay Architects 339–340, 341
Zevi, Bruno 150, 252
zoning/planning ordinances 69, 80–85,

85, 86
Zumthor, Peter 62–63, 64

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