Summer Greetings: this is Kai, your studio coordinator.
I think Danny’s query from May 4 should inspire us all. You should all ask yourself: what should I read related to architecture this summer? Let’s start by having everyone in the class of 2013 suggest the best reading about architecture they have done in the last months that was not assigned for a required class you all took. We’re looking for things that make us THINK about architecture in new ways, learn about new ideas or buildings or architects. Use the “comments” slot below to share a citation with everyone. If you have NOT read something that makes you think hard, then go out and read something SOON. Then tell us what you read, and why you liked it!
I would like to recommend we get materials NOT on websites or blogs, but something published, and on paper (that is usually higher quality, more rigorously vetted material). I know “architects hate to read,” and surfing the internet is easier and more fun. But we MUST read to be good architects, to understand our field, to make advances on what’s out there, to be inspired by ideas and buildings outside of our own small universe.
One place to start is the list of readings on the 2nd year studio website, under 48-200 Lectures & Reading, or the comparable list from my spring studio website 48-205 Lectures & Readings. You’ll need your CMU andrewID, as the pdfs are stored in the library servers for copyright reasons. (some of the links may be broken, or may not at first work. Try again later; we’re working on it)
OR: go to any good book store and browse the architecture, art, or philosophy shelves. Better yet, go to a specilaized architecture book store (there are not many, but if you are near cities such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francsisco, Portland, Montreal, definitely look for them, or just use their websites to find good books!). Many good museums also feature good architecture books. Pickup and read anything that really interests you! You do not need to buy the books you see at the store: use www.bookfinder.com or www.amazon.com to buy used books all over the country. Get used to splurging on some good architecture books for yourself: there is no better way to get inspired and excited about our profession.
OR look at the journals and magazines. Some of the best magazines are from outside the US, such as: AA Files, A + U: Architecture and Urbanism, Architectural Review, El Croquis, 2G, Domus. Don’t worry if you can’t read the foreign language, look at the plans and photos, and study them carefully, even sketch some things in your sketchbook, as notes. These journals are available in Hunt, and some of the material can be found online, and of course in most university architecture libraries, in case you live near one (you should visit the nearest architecture school anyways, several times over the summer, check it out). General design magazines like Metropolis, and the US industry standard Architectural Record are available at many bookstores, and can help keep you “in the loop.”
If you do not yet subscribe to Architectural Record, I really recommend it! It’s cheap, and should be a life-long habit if you are serious about entering some aspect of the architecture field. Browsing through the internet is NOT the same thing as reading an article in depth, seeing the ads, studying the learning units, and having the thing around constantly. CMU students get a special discount subscription rates at McGraw Hills’ website for us. See if Mom will spring for the subscription, maybe enve the multi-year one.
Since you will be taking the survey of Architectural History next semester, alongside studio, and will later need to take at least two more history courses, you could get started on that reading… Two good survey texts are by Trachtenberg, and by Moffett. I am not sure which Prof. Shaw will ask you to buy. Every architect should also own (and read) a good survey of modern architecture. For my course “Modern Architecture & Theory 1900-1945,” I ask all students to read Curtis. But other classics are by Frampton, and Colquhoun (inexpensive). If you are looking for some theory, try the anthologies by Jencks or Nesbitt. If you are just getting started, a good first reader of arch’l writing is Sykes.
I’ll leave you with that for now. I would like all students to suggest readings they have done as comments below. I will be in touch later in the summer…
Feel free to email me with questions, ideas, concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org