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Fit: An Architect's Manifesto

robert geddes
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 104
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Fitis a book about architecture and society that seeks to fundamentally change how architects and the public think about the task of design. Distinguished architect and urbanist Robert Geddes argues that buildings, landscapes, and cities should be designed to fit: fit the purpose, fit the place, fit future possibilities. Fit replaces old paradigms, such as form follows function, and less is more, by recognizing that the relationship between architecture and society is a true dialogue--dynamic, complex, and, if carried out with knowledge and skill, richly rewarding.

    With a tip of the hat to John Dewey,Fitexplores architecture as we experience it. Geddes starts with questions: Why do we design where we live and work? Why do we not just live in nature, or in chaos? Why does society care about architecture? Why does it really matter?Fitanswers these questions through a fresh examination of the basic purposes and elements of architecture--beginning in nature, combining function and expression, and leaving a legacy of form.

    Lively, charming, and gently persuasive, the book shows brilliant examples of fit: from Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia and Louis Kahn's Exeter Library to contemporary triumphs such as the Apple Store on New York's Fifth Avenue, Chicago's Millennium Park, and Seattle's Pike Place.

    Fitis a book for everyone, because we all live in constructions--buildings, landscapes, and, increasingly, cities. It provokes architects and planners, humanists and scientists, civic leaders and citizens to reconsider what is at stake in architecture--and why it delights us.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4454-8
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    We are all designers.

    Every day, we organize things to accomplish goals, from the shape of the table for a peace conference to the strategic development program for a business. Perhaps, like Winston Churchill, we might even be called the “architect of victory.”

    Designing means creating, organizing, placing, setting things to achieve a purpose. Working as designers, we make things fit together.

    Everyone designs who devises courses of

    action aimed at changing existing situations

    into preferred ones.

    —Herbert A.Simon, ECONOMIST

    Designing differs fundamentally from both art and science. An artist seeks feeling and expression, and a scientist seeks knowledge...

  7. The Origin of Architecture Is Nature
    (pp. 11-35)

    We live in sunlight and shadow, daylight and darkness. We experience the annual light cycle of nature—the four seasons of summer, fall, winter, and spring—and the daily light cycle, between sunrise and sunset. Unlike the pull of gravity, which remains constant, the light of nature is always changing.

    In the beginning God created the heaven and

    the earth.

    And the earth was without form, and void;

    And darkness was upon the face of the deep.

    And God said, Let there be light: and there was


    —Book of Genesis

    Nowadays, we can create artificial light, distribute it,...

  8. The Task of Architecture Is Function & Expression
    (pp. 36-69)

    Could there be everyday life without architecture?

    No, for two reasons.

    First, as human animals, we must protect our bodies from hostile environments, so that we can live as individuals.

    Second, as social animals, we must create protected places in our environment so that we can live together in groups.

    The first great consideration is that life goes

    on in an environment, but not merely in

    it, but because of it, through interaction

    with it.

    —John Dewey, Art as Experience

    What we build is a result of what we are. If our bodies were different, we would build different...

  9. The Legacy of Architecture Is Form
    (pp. 70-100)

    Architecture is not autonomous. We actually experience it in a setting, some-where, some-place.

    As we approach a building, we experience architecture as mass. We see it as a body. We see its outline and silhouette; we observe its solids and voids. We see its composition, its overall shape and its parts, as if we were looking at a sculpture.

    As we stand near a building, we experience architecture as surface. We see it as a fabric, colored, dark or light, textured smooth or rough, transparent or opaque. We see it as a graphic composition, as if we were looking at...

  10. notes
    (pp. 101-106)
  11. index
    (pp. 107-124)