N. John Habraken (john@habraken.org)

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Palladio's Children

Seven essays on the everyday environment and the architect.

Taylor & Francis  ISBN 0-415-35791-8

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My most recent book. Published October 2005

This book in its entirety may well sum up my thinking, expressed in papers and lectures through the years, about the role of the contemporary architect. ( See the bibliography list 'On the role of the Architect' )

The book traces the early beginning of our professional self image to the times of the Italian renaissance and the subsequent dominance of Palladio's professional example for successive generations of architects. It then discusses how the profession got drawn in providing everyday environment for everyday purposes without pausing to re-examine its goals and its role. The book ends with some observations of today's professional reality and how it already makes us behave differently from the way we like to think about ourselves.

The Introductory chapter states the main question addressed in the book.

" Across the centuries, despite dramatic changes in artistic and stylistic preferences, we, as architects, still recognize ourselves in the image of Palladio...

We share another heritage as well, the heritage of master builders acting within living, growing, ubiquitous and autonomous built environment: what we refer to as “the field”...

The architect was traditionally occupied with the monumental palace, villa, or church. Yet during the past century, architects became fully immersed in the entirety of the field. This signaled a fundamental and unprecedented shift. The demands of the everyday environment are vastly different from what is required to create the extraordinary. Nevertheless, the profession’s self image, publications and ways of working still cling to its roots in monumental architecture.

In short, there is a disconnect between the way we, as architects, perceive and explain ourselves and what we actually do... The resulting conflict confuses everyone...

...With each succeeding generation architects seem to grow more disoriented, dissatisfied...

Read a summary of the seven essays

See the bibliography list 'On the role of the Architect'

Available now at Amazon.com


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