Design for Life: The Architecture of Sim Van Der Ryn

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Gibbs Smith, 2005 - Architecture - 183 pages
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Design for Life: The Architecture of Sim Van der Ryn surveys the work and principles of Sim Van der Ryn, one of the world's most important leaders in the field of sustainalbe architecture. Sharing his years of experience as a teacher and using his building designs as examples, the author shows us that buildings are not objects but organisms, and cities are not machines but complex ecosystems. Fleeing Holland just weeks before Hitler's invasion, the Van der Ryn family settled in the outskirts of New York City. Young Sim grew up exploring the tiny pockets of grass, puddles, and swamps he found in Queens. An avid high school art student, he progressed to studying architecture in college. But he found the pervading modernist-style buildings to be emotionally cold and lacking human sensitivity. He longed for a way to restore architecture back to life. His breakthrough came during the frequent campus visits of R. Buckminster Fuller, who inspired him to think and design with the geometries of the natural world. Design for Life shows how the young architect began to look at the world with new eyes and saw the shifting patterns in nature and how these patterns profoundly affect how we live and work in the structures we build. Using his own projects and teaching experiences as examples, the author reveals the evolution of his thinking and the emergence of a new process of collaborative design that honors the buildings' users and connects them to the Earth. The book shows how architecture has created physical and mental barriers that separate us from our world, but how we can recover the soul of architecture and reconnect with our natural surroundings. Sim Van der Ryn is the president of Van der Ryn Architects, a Northern California firm known for its work in sustainable architecture. He taught architecture and design at the University of California, Berkeley, for over 30 years, inspiring a new generation to create buildings and communities that are sensitive to place, climate, and the flow of human interactions. Appointed California State Architect in the 1970s by then-Governor Jerry Brown, Van der Ryn introduced the nation's first energy-efficient government building projects. His vision and persuasive skills heralded a golden age of ecologically sensitive design and resulted in the adoption of strict energy standards and disability access standards for all state buildings and parks. As the author of six groundbreaking books about planning and design, including Sustainable Communities (1986, with Peter Calthorpe), Ecological Design (1996, with Stuart Cowan) and numerous articles, Van der Ryn has helped inspire architects to see the myriad ways they can apply physical and social ecology to architecture and environmental design. The author lives and works in Northern California, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
  

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Design For Life

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"Form follows flow" is the mantra of this highly personal autobiographical work about the life and career of Van der Ryn (architecture, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Sustainable Communities ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
Branching Out
21
First Generation Ecological Design
39
Second Generation Ecological Design
59
Places of Heart and Spirit
101
Making the Great Leap Forward
123
Index
176
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Sim Van der Ryn is the president of Van der Ryn Architects, a northern California firm known worldwide for its work in sustainable architecture. He taught architecture and design at the University of California, Berkeley for more than thirty years, inspiring a new generation to create buildings and communities that are sensitive to place, climate, and the flow of human interactions. He is the author of six groundbreaking books about planning and design, including Sustainable Communities and Ecological Design. He lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.

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