How Buildings Learn

By Stewart Brand,

Book cover of How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked How Buildings Learn as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Brand starts off by exploring structure in architecture. Not only does he identify the six key structures in buildings, but he tells us how rapidly they change.

Never have I met or heard of a software architect who could predict for me how rapidly the structures that he/she uses to design and build his/her system will change. (Many can't even identify what the key structures in their systems are).

Brand then gives us lessons in what kinds of buildings undergo what kinds of changes, and how to build in a way that encourages or discourages change. He shows how owners…

My godfather gave me this book when I was 18 and had just been accepted to architecture school. It’s an extremely accessible and humane introduction to the profession, and I would still highly recommend it for any young person you know going into architecture, landscape architecture, or urban studies/planning. I’m including it on this list not only for that reason but also because building healthier places means starting with a base understanding of why the world around us looks like it does, and how humans shape their environments and vice-versa. 

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