N. John Habraken (john@habraken.org)

List of titles on Theory of the Built Environment

read a short introduction to this list


The Structure of the Ordinary, Cambridge, MIT Press, 1998 , softcover MIT Press, 2001
Summarizes my theorizing about the Built Environment.

The Appearance of the Form, Cambridge, Awater Press,1985. Private edition. Second ed. 1988.
Four essays on the position designing takes between people and things.

Transformations of the Site. Cambridge, Awater Press, 1983. Private edition. Second ed. 1988.
An earlier version of what eventually became "The structure of the Ordinary", privately published.

General Principlesabout the Way Built Environments Exist. Open House BCB series, SAR, Eindhoven, 1979.
A small booklet with brief aphoristic statements covering basically the same ground as later done by "Transformations of the Site" and still later by "The Structure of the Ordinary"

In terms of theory, it is a first searching for clarity.. The distinction between material organization ( order of Form), territorial organization ( order of Place) and cultural constraints ( order of Understanding) as made in the later books is lacking, but important ingredients, like 'site', 'consensus', 'systems', 'power', 'levels', and 'territory' are there. As a statement about a way of looking at the Built environment it is still a good introduction in to the subject and it has a poetic quality that conveys the motivation behind my thinking perhaps better than any later explanation..

Three R's for Housing. Amsterdam, Scheltema & Holkema, 1970; originally published in Forum, vol. XX, no 1, 1966.
A series of iconic diagrams explaining the gradual alienation of the inhabitant from the housing process. The original article in Forum was many times reprinted in various ways and translated in several languages. Still a good explanation where the proposal for a distinction between supports and infill come from.

"Type as a Social Agreement", Seoul, Korea: Third Asian Congress of Architects, Nov. 1988.
Type had become a fashionable topic but it seemed to me that in the discussion the most important aspect of type was too often ignored. The paper argues that type is first of all a product of implicit consensus within a social body, and explores the power this has for the environment.

"Control Hierarchies in Complex Artifacts", Proceedings, Conference on Planning and Design in Architecture. Protzen, Ed. Boston: International Congress on Planning and Design Theory, 1987.
This paper spells out how environmental form can be analyzed in terms of control: that is to say in terms of transformations that reveal such control. It appears that several hierarchies of form interact and relate.

"Three Ways of Seeing the Built Environment". London: Pidgeon Audio Visual Series, 1985.
An interview with Monical Pidgeon, on tape with slides.

"Notes on Hierarchies in Form". Working paper, fall 1983 - winter 1984.

"Signs of Structures". Chapter of Transformations of the Site. Reprinted in Space and Society. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982.

"Playing Games". Architectural Design, No.

"Het Alledaagse, over het Ontstaan van de Omgeving van Alledag". Initiatory Lecture at Dept. of Arch., Tech. U. Eindhoven. Rotterdam: Lemniscaat publ., 1967.Rotterdam.

"The Tissue of the Town: Some suggestions for further scrutiny". Forum, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, 1964.

“Man and Matter". Forum, Vol. XVIX, No. 1, 1965.


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