The compelling essays in Bernard Quetchenbach’s Accidental Gravity move from upstate New York to the western United States, from urban and suburban places to wild lands. In the first section of the book, he focuses on suburban neighborhoods, where residents respond ambivalently to golf-course geese and other unruly natural presences; in the second section, he juxtaposes these humanized places with Yellowstone National Park. Quetchenbach writes about current environmental issues in the Greater Yellowstone area—wildfire, invasive species, ever-increasing numbers of tourists—in the context of climate change and other contemporary pressures.
Accidental Gravity negotiates the difficult edge between a naive belief in an enduring, unassailable natural world and the equally naive belief that human life takes place in some unnatural, more mediated context. The title refers to the accidental but nonetheless meaningful nexus where the personal meets and combines with the universal—those serendipitous moments when the individual life connects to the larger rhythms of time and planet.
In the early sixteenth century, Albrecht Altdorfer promoted landscape from its traditional role as background to its new place as the focal point of a picture. His paintings, drawings, and etchings appeared almost without warning and mysteriously disappeared from view just as suddenly. In Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape,Christopher S. Wood shows how Altdorfer transformed what had been the mere setting for sacred and historical figures into a principal venue for stylish draftsmanship and idiosyncratic painterly effects. At the same time, his landscapes offered a densely textured interpretation of that quintessentially German locus—the forest interior.
This revised and expanded second edition contains a new introduction, revised bibliography, and fifteen additional illustrations.
“Excellent illustrations . . . [and] detailed exuberant comments leave the reader in no doubt about Altdorfer’s brilliance and originality.”—Anthony Grafton, New York Review of Books
“A study that is bound to become a standard work.”—Independent on Sunday
In the early sixteenth century, Albrecht Altdorfer promoted landscape from its traditional role as background to its new place as the focal point of a picture. His paintings, drawings, and etchings appeared almost without warning and mysteriously disappeared from view just as suddenly. In Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape, Christopher S. Wood shows how Altdorfer transformed what had been the mere setting for sacred and historical figures into a principal venue for stylish draftsmanship and idiosyncratic painterly effects. At the same time, his landscapes offered a densely textured interpretation of that quintessentially German locus—the forest interior.
This revised and expanded second edition contains a new introduction, revised bibliography, and fifteen additional illustrations.
Robert Irwin Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DP402.A4I89 2004 | Dewey Decimal 946.82
Read the Bldg Blog interview with Mary Beard about the Wonders of the World series
(Part I and Part II)
The Alhambra has long been a byword for exotic and melancholy beauty. In his absorbing new book, Robert Irwin, Arabist and novelist, examines its history and allure.
The Alhambra is the only Muslim palace to have survived since the Middle Ages. Built by a threatened dynasty of Muslim Spain, it was preserved as a monument to the triumph of Christianity. Every day thousands of tourists enter this magnificent site to be awestruck by its towers and courts, its fountained gardens, its honeycombed ceilings and intricate tile work. It is a complex full of mysteries--even its purpose is unclear. Its sophisticated ornamentation is not indiscriminate but full of hidden meaning. Its most impressive buildings were designed not by architects, but by philosophers and poets. The Alhambra, which resembles a fairy-tale palace, was constructed by slave labor in an era of economic decline, plague, and political violence. Its sumptuously appointed halls have lain witness to murder and mayhem. Yet its influence on art and on literature--including Orientalist painting and the architecture of cinemas, Washington Irving and Jorge Luis Borges--has been lasting and significant. As our guide to this architectural masterpiece, Robert Irwin allows us to fully understand the impact of the Alhambra.
About forty miles north of Phoenix, Arizona, Perry Mesa is today part of Agua Fria National Monument, but during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, this windswept arid landscape became the site of numerous farming communities. This book explores why people moved to Perry Mesa at that time. Analyses of Perry Mesa contrast with those of the iconic large-scale migrations in the prehistoric Southwest such as the Kayenta diaspora and the gathering of the clans at Hopi. Unlike those long-distance movements into occupied regions, the Perry Mesa case is one of relatively localized aggregation on a largely vacant landscape. But, as was discovered with the iconic migrations, ethnogenesis (the creation of new identities) took hold on Perry Mesa, making it an extremely interesting counterpoint to the better-known migrations of the period.
Contributors to this volume examine the migration process under two explanatory frameworks: alliance and landscape. These frameworks are used to explore competing hypotheses, positing either a rapid colonization associated with an alliance organized for warfare at a regional scale, or a more protracted migration as this landscape became comparatively more attractive for migrating farmers in the late thirteenth century.
As the first major publication on the archaeology of Perry Mesa, this volume contributes to theoretical perspectives on migration and ethnogenesis, the study of warfare in the prehistoric Southwest, the study of intensive agricultural practices in a marginal environment, and the cultural history of a little studied and largely unknown portion of the ancient Southwest. It not only documents the migration but also the ensuing birth of a new ethnic identity that arose from the coalescence of diverse groups atop Perry Mesa.
Leading landscape architect and planner Carl Steinitz has developed an innovative GIS-based simulation modeling strategy that considers the demographic, economic, physical, and environmental processes of an area and projects the consequences to that area of various land-use planning and management decisions. The results of such projections, and the approach itself, are known as "alternative futures."
Alternative Futures for Changing Landscapes presents for the first time in book form a detailed case study of one alternative futures project—an analysis of development and conservation options for the Upper San Pedro River Basin in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The area is internationally recognized for its high levels of biodiversity, and like many regions, it is facing increased pressures from nearby population centers, agriculture, and mining interests. Local officials and others planning for the future of the region are seeking to balance the needs of the natural environment with those of local human communities.
The book describes how the research team, working with local stakeholders, developed a set of scenarios which encompassed public opinion on the major issues facing the area. They then simulated an array of possible patterns of land uses and assessed the resultant impacts on biodiversity and related environmental factors including vegetation, hydrology, and visual preference. The book gives a comprehensive overview of how the study was conducted, along with descriptions and analysis of the alternative futures that resulted. It includes more than 30 charts and graphs and more than 150 color figures.
Scenario-based studies of alternative futures offer communities a powerful tool for making better-informed decisions today, which can help lead to an improved future. Alternative Futures for Changing Landscapes presents an important look at this promising approach and how it works for planners, landscape architects, local officials, and anyone involved with making land use decisions on local and regional scales.
Since the Renaissance, architects have been authors and architecture has been the subject of publications. Architectural forms and theories are spread not just by buildings, but by the distribution of images and descriptions fed through the printing press. The study of an architect's library is an essential avenue to understanding that architect's intentions and judging his or her achievements.
In this well-illustrated volume, a chronological sequel to American Architects and Their Books to 1848, twelve distinguished historians of architecture discuss from various points of view the books that inspired architects both famous and not-so-famous, and the books the architects themselves produced. They examine the multifaceted relationship of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architects to print culture—the literary works that architects collected, used, argued over, wrote, illustrated, designed, printed, were inspired by, cribbed from, educated clients with, advertised their services through, designed libraries for, or just plain enjoyed. The result is a volume that presents the intersection of the history of architecture, the history of ideas, and the history of the book. Changes in print culture during this period had a significant impact on the architectural profession, as revealed in these well-informed scholarly essays.
In addition to the editors, contributors include Jhennifer A. Amundson, Edward R. Bosley, Ted Cavanagh, Elspeth Cowell, Elaine Harrington, Michael J. Lewis, Anne E. Mallek, Daniel D. Reiff, Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., and Chris Szczesny-Adams. Among the architects discussed are A. J. Downing, Charles Sumner Greene, James Sims, Samuel Sloan, John Calvin Stevens, Thomas U. Walter, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
An Anthropology of Landscape tells the fascinating story of a heathland landscape in south-west England and the way different individuals and groups engage with it. Based on a long-term anthropological study, the book emphasises four individual themes: embodied identities, the landscape as a sensuous material form that is acted upon and in turn acts on people, the landscape as contested, and its relation to emotion. The landscape is discussed in relation to these themes as both ‘taskscape’ and ‘leisurescape’, and from the perspective of different user groups. First, those who manage the landscape and use it for work: conservationists, environmentalists, archaeologists, the Royal Marines, and quarrying interests. Second, those who use it in their leisure time: cyclists and horse riders, model aircraft flyers, walkers, people who fish there, and artists who are inspired by it. The book makes an innovative contribution to landscape studies and will appeal to all those interested in nature conservation, historic preservation, the politics of nature, the politics of identity, and an anthropology of Britain.
The landscapes, cultures, and cuisines of deserts in the Middle East and North America have commonalities that have seldom been explored by scientists—and have hardly been celebrated by society at large. Sonoran Desert ecologist Gary Nabhan grew up around Arab grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in a family that has been emigrating to the United States and Mexico from Lebanon for more than a century, and he himself frequently travels to the deserts of the Middle East. In an era when some Arabs and Americans have markedly distanced themselves from one another, Nabhan has been prompted to explore their common ground, historically, ecologically, linguistically, and gastronomically. Arab/American is not merely an exploration of his own multicultural roots but also a revelation of the deep cultural linkages between the inhabitants of two of the world’s great desert regions. Here, in beautifully crafted essays, Nabhan explores how these seemingly disparate cultures are bound to each other in ways we would never imagine. With an extraordinary ear for language and a truly adventurous palate, Nabhan uncovers surprising convergences between the landscape ecology, ethnogeography, agriculture, and cuisines of the Middle East and the binational Desert Southwest. There are the words and expressions that have moved slowly westward from Syria to Spain and to the New World to become incorporated—faintly but recognizably—into the language of the people of the U.S.–Mexico borderlands. And there are the flavors—piquant mixtures of herbs and spices—that have crept silently across the globe and into our kitchens without our knowing where they came from or how they got here. And there is much, much more. We also learn of others whose work historically spanned these deserts, from Hadji Ali (“Hi Jolly”), the first Moslem Arab to bring camels to America, to Robert Forbes, an Arizonan who explored the desert oases of the Sahara. These men crossed not only oceans but political and cultural barriers as well. We are, we recognize, builders of walls and borders, but with all the talk of “homeland” today, Nabhan reminds us that, quite often, borders are simply lines drawn in the sand.
"An accomplished architect and urbanist goes back to the roots of what makes cities attractive and livable, demonstrating how we can restore function and beauty to our urban spaces for the long term.
Nearly everything we treasure in the world’s most beautiful cities was built over a century ago. Cities like Prague, Paris, and Lisbon draw millions of visitors from around the world because of their exquisite architecture, walkable neighborhoods, and human scale. Yet a great deal of the knowledge and practice behind successful city planning has been abandoned over the last hundred years—not because of traffic, population growth, or other practical hurdles, but because of ill-considered theories emerging from Modernism and reactions to it.
The errors of urban design over the last century are too great not to question. The solutions being offered today—sustainability, walkability, smart and green technologies—hint at what has been lost and what may be regained, but they remain piecemeal and superficial. In The Art of Classic Planning, architect and planner Nir Haim Buras documents and extends the time-tested and holistic practices that held sway before the reign of Modernism. With hundreds of full-color illustrations and photographs that will captivate architects, planners, administrators, and developers, The Art of Classic Planning restores and revitalizes the foundations of urban planning.
Inspired by venerable cities like Kyoto, Vienna, and Venice, and by the great successes of L’Enfant’s Washington, Haussmann’s Paris, and Burnham’s Chicago, Buras combines theory and a host of examples to arrive at clear guidelines for best practices in classic planning for today’s world. The Art of Classic Planning celebrates the enduring principles of urban design and invites us to return to building beautiful cities."
Born in Mallorca, Pere Joan Riera (known professionally as Pere Joan) thrived in the underground comics world, beginning in the mid-1970s with the self-published collections Baladas Urbanas and MuŽrdago, both of which were released almost immediately after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco and Spain's transition to democracy. The first monograph in English on a comics artist from Spain, The Art of Pere Joan takes a topographical approach to reading comics, applying theories of cultural and urban geography to Pere Joan’s treatment of space and landscape in his singular body of work.
Balancing this goal with an exploration of specific works by Pere Joan, Benjamin Fraser demonstrates that looking at the thematic, structural, and aesthetic originality of the artist's landscape-driven work can help us begin to newly understand the representational properties of comics as a spatial medium. This in-depth examination reveals the resonance between the cultural landscapes of Mallorca and Pere Joan's metaphorical approach to both rural and urban environments in comics that weave emotional, ecological, and artistic strands in revolutionary ways.
Stormwater management as art? Absolutely. Rain is a resource that should be valued and celebrated, not merely treated as an urban design problem—and yet, traditional stormwater treatment methods often range from ugly to forgettable. Artful Rainwater Design shows that it's possible to effectively manage runoff while also creating inviting, attractive landscapes.
This beautifully illustrated, comprehensive guide explains how to design creative, yet practical, landscapes that treat on-site stormwater management as an opportunity to enhance site design. Artful Rainwater Design has three main parts: first, the book outlines five amenity-focused goals that might be highlighted in a project: education, recreation, safety, public relations, and aesthetic appeal. Next, it focuses on techniques for ecologically sustainable stormwater management that complement the amenity goals. Finally, it features diverse case studies that show how designers around the country are implementing principles of artful rainwater design.
Artful Rainwater Design is a must-have resource for landscape architects, urban designers, civil engineers, and architects who won't let stormwater regulations cramp their style, and who understand that for a design to truly be sustainable, people must appreciate and love it. It is a tool for creating landscapes that celebrate rain for the life-giving resource it is—and contribute to more sustainable, healthy, and even fun, built environments.