architect, verb.: The New Language of Building (Hardcover)
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The Hidden Rules of Architecture: how to build world-class, award winning, creative, innovative, sustainable, liveable and beautiful spaces that foster a sense of place and well being
Leading architect Reinier de Graaf De Graaf punctures the myths behind the debates on what contemporary architecture is, with wit and devastating honesty. Architecture, it seems, has become too important to leave to architects. No longer does it suffice to judge a building solely by its appearance, it must be measured, and certified. When architects talk about “Excellence,” “Sustainability,” “Well-being,” “Liveability,” “Placemaking,” “Creativity,” “Beauty” and “Innovation” what do they actually mean?
In architect, verb. De Graff dryly skewers the doublespeak and hot air of an industry in search of an identity in the 21st century. Who determines how to measure a “green building”? Why is Vancouver more “liveable” than Vienna? How do developers get away with advertising their buildings as promoting “well-being”? Why did Silicon Valley become so obsessed with devising “creative” spaces or developing code that replaces architects? How much revenue can be attributed to the design of public space? Who gets to decide what these measurements should be, and what do they actually mean? And what does it mean for the future of our homes, cities, planet?
He also includes a biting, satirical dictionary of “profspeak”: the corporate language of consultants, developers and planners from “Active listening” to “Zoom Readiness.”
About the Author
Reinier de Graaf (1964, Schiedam) is a Dutch architect and writer. He is a partner in the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), where he leads projects in Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Reinier is the co-founder of OMA’s think-tank AMO and Sir Arthur Marshall Visiting Professor of Urban Design at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession and the novel The Masterplan. He lives in Amsterdam.
“In this perceptive study, Dutch architect Reinier de Graaf expounds on the state of 21st-century architecture. De Graaf’s biting prose rails against the canon of modern architecture, and he interweaves real-world examples throughout. Passionately argued and expertly told, this is a rousing architectural critique.”
“A compelling collection of essays and diary entries about De Graaf’s life in architecture … no one else is identifying the problems or suggesting potential exits from them as wittily or as intelligently as he is.”
—Tim Abrahams, Architectural Record
“[De Graaf] reflects on the current state of his field, arguing that constraints on creative autonomy, overcommercialization and a poor understanding of good design have transformed ‘spaces of spontaneity into preprogrammed, overdetermined areas.”
—New York Times Book Review
“[An] incisive new book … Reinier de Graaf argues with persuasion and wit that Vancouver’s often-high ranking in some livability indexes is this city’s trademark, its brand. De Graaf understands what’s happened. Vancouver is the world’s best ‘recipe for how to turn your city into a place that is so enjoyable to live that no one can afford to do it.’”