The general reading public is likely to think of architecture as buildings.
But with this book, How Architecture Tells, Robert Steinberg would like to help readers understand that architecture shapes lives. Architecture can help communities integrate and thrive. Architecture can touch us, influencing how we feel, and how we interact with others. In short, architecture can fundamentally improve our quality of life.
As a young graduate architect fresh from Berkeley, Steinberg began to discover the potential of architecture to shape communities. Working with his father, an architect who had studied with Mies van der Rohe, one of Steinberg's first projects was to draft and redraft a parking garage in downtown Silicon Valley, CA. As he mediated between the two architects in charge of the project--his father and the city architect--he noticed that with each evolution, the garage became more beautiful and refined. And with each improvement, this garage became more able to succeed in the goal of reviving the dying downtown core of Silicon Valley.
The garage was a huge success, and Steinberg began to codify what he had learned. Thanks to the garage, he wrote the first of what would become the 9 Realities of Architecture: Architecture is the Pursuit of Perfection -- a magnificent take-away from a humble parking garage project. As Steinberg eventually rose to become CEO of his firm and grew it into a global practice with six regional offices including Austin and New York, and a major office in Shanghai, he used his drive for creating thriving communities to eventually touch the lives of countless people around the world.
Robert Steinberg, FAIA, is chairman of the global architecture firm Steinberg Hart. He is a Berkeley-trained, third generation architect. Steinberg transformed his father's primarily residence-focused practice in Silicon Valley into a global powerhouse that has, among other achievements, greatly impacted the Chinese approach to housing their senior population.
A seasoned leader and public policy professional, Alicia John-Baptiste has over 20 years of experience reimagining systems to create better outcomes for people. Alicia currently serves as President & CEO of SPUR, where her optimistic vision and practical approach informs the urban policy organization’s efforts to build a Bay Area where all people can thrive. Prior to her time at SPUR, Alicia developed a deep appreciation for local government and its commitment to the collective good while serving in leadership roles for the City & County of San Francisco, most recently as Chief of Staff at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Locally and nationally recognized for her public policy expertise, inspirational perspective, and creative approach to systems change, Alicia enjoys building shared dreams. Alicia holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University.
Robert Steinberg photo courtesy of the author; Alicia John-Baptiste photo courtesy of the author