Designing Architecture: The Elements of Process

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Routledge, May 4, 2012 - Architecture - 208 pages

Designing Architecture is an indispensable tool to assist both students and young architects in formulating an idea, transforming it into a building, and making effective design decisions. This book promotes integrative and critical thinking in the preliminary design of buildings to inspire creativity, innovation, and design excellence.

This compendium of individual wisdom and collective experience offers explicit guidance to students and young professionals on how to approach, analyze, and execute specific tasks; develop and refine a process to facilitate the best possible design projects; and create meaningful architectural form.

Here the design process – from orchestrating client participation to finalizing schematic design – is explored and illuminated. The following material is presented to make the book a useful didactic tool for professional development:

  • explicit strategies for doing design rather than simply reviewing principles and precedents
  • creative ideas in approaching and framing problems in design terms
  • specific methods to translate ideas to culturally significant, socially responsive, and environmentally sensitive buildings
  • techniques to integrate all levels of cognition from analysis to epiphany
  • counsel on developing a personalized process for engaging design projects
  • case studies augment the text and chronicle fascinating applications of the design process.

The essence of this book lies in an integrated and holistic approach to each unique project as well as fostering curiosity and exploration – a departure from algorithms, easy generalities, or a formula for design. Designing Architecture will inspire readers to elevate the quality of preliminary designs and unravel some of the mystery of creating the most beautiful, responsive, and responsible architectural design possible.


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Creativity and epiphany
Design process as research
Site and context
Environmentally sensitive design
Precedents and historical perspectives
Conceptual design and sustainability on the computer
Organizing elements
Building systems integration and collaboration
Preliminary design presentations
Global Heritage Hall
Autodesk AEC Division Headquarters

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About the author (2012)

Andrew Pressman, FAIA, an architect and Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico, leads his own architectural firm in Washington, DC. His work has been featured in over thirty professional, scholarly, and popular publications. He has written six critically acclaimed books and holds a Master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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