Ritual House: Drawing on Nature's Rhythms for Architecture and Urban Design

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Island Press, 2006 - Architecture - 202 pages
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The houses we dwell in, the cities surrounding our houses, even the clothes we wear—these are all shelters we erect against the elements. They are also the embodiment of intuitive rituals, individual and cultural responses to nature’s rhythms. Life in the 21st century has separated us from those traditions—now, Ritual House reawakens us to our lost natural heritage. Celebrated architect Ralph Knowles, Distinguished Emeritus at USC’s School of Architecture, has carefully crafted a book for architects, designers, planners—anyone who yearns to reconnect to the natural world through the built environment. He shows us how to re-examine a shadow, a wall, a window, a landscape, as they respond to the natural cycles of heat, light, wind, and rain. Analyzing methods of sheltering that range from a Berber tent to a Spanish courtyard to the cityscape of contemporary Los Angeles, Knowles shows us the future: by coining the concept of solar access zoning, he introduces a radical yet increasingly viable solution for tomorrow’s mega-cities. Understanding how the elements affect our lives is more vital than ever. High-energy enclosed building systems have cut us off from nature, but we can re-connect to our landscapes and to humanity through buildings that honor ecological balance, personal choice, and creativity. By engaging nature in our designs, we can create shelters that are unique to their climate, their region, and their relationship to the sun. Ritual House will take its rightful place among those classic works that become touchstones for the culture.
 

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Contents

Migration
22
Transformation
42
Metabolism
60
Sheltering the Soul
74
Settings and Rituals
88
Boundaries and Choices
110
The Solar Envelope
126
The Interstitium
152
The New Architecture of the Sun
174
Notes
179
Bibliography
185
Index
193
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Ralph Knowles has a had a long and distinguished career in architecture, both academically as a professor and researcher, and professionally as a policy and design consultant. He has an MA in Architecture from MIT, held academic posts at Auburn, Hawaii, and USC, and is currently an Emeritus at USC. See his C.V. at http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~rknowles/index.html.

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