Attempting to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle in St. Louis

Environmentally friendly decisions are tough

Good reads or (picture flipping if you’re like me) November 16, 2007

Filed under: Design,General Green 2.0 — budint @ 2:24 pm
Tags: , ,

 Since we’re in the midst of yet another delay, this time due to the steel fabrication, I’ve decided to read some books to hold me over.  Maybe I should define “read”; I looked through these books.  I’m not a huge book worm; prefer light reading w/ magazines, newspapers, blog posts and books w/ cool pics and ideas like the ones below.

Also, not a huge fan of buying books (probably cause my dad owned hundreds and I always ended up moving them) so I use my local library extensively.

These first two books I borrowed from my architect.

1. PreFab Prototypes by Mark Anderson and Peter Anderson (not sure if they’re married or are brothers)   – This book was VERY detailed. I expected a bit more of a ‘cool designs’ picture book, but these guys went into lots of details on how the pieces of the prefab puzzle went together. I probably wouldn’t recommend this for the modern home prefab beginner who’s just looking for a nice book to flip through. Definitely recommended for an architect, home builder, or VERY experienced do-it-yourselfer. Maybe I’ll revisit this book in 12 months.

2. Prefab Modern by Jill Herbers –  Much more of what I was expecting. Great pictures, nice storyline about the homeowners and what they were trying to achieve with the project and so on. I liked how each project offered a different angle and used different materials.  Great book for the casual browser or person looking for inspiration. Also has some great resources in the back.

3. Architecture without Architects by Bernard Rudofsky. – This book was originally published in 1964 and is supposedly now a classic. The whole premise is that great buildings with ingenious designs have been designed and built for centuries, and presumably by people who had no architectural or engineering education.      The book is full of pictures from all over the world with nice descriptions about the specific detail that Bernard is trying to highlight.    The book will either inspire you with confidence to do your own designing or will depress you that in 10,000 years it seems as though we’ve gone backwards in some cases.                 (FYI, the pics are in black and white cause they’re old as dirt.)

4. Cradle to Cradle –  by William McDonough and Michael Braungart – I’m only 55 pages into this book, cause you actually have to read it (no pics).  The upside however, is that their discussion (so far) can be broadly applied to everyday life, so I don’t feel like I need to be an architect or a guy with $250k to practice some of these ideas.  The premise, if you can’t figure out from the title, is that designs and materials need to move beyond the ‘hoping to recycle’ goal. This is because in most cases recycling is down cycling and the 2nd use/benefit of the product is nowhere close to the 1st use/benefit and all is accomplished through a waste of energy/resources.   That’s all i got right now.

If/when I wrap this book up, I’ll provide a better book review. 


Though I provided Amazon links to each of these books, I HIGHLY recommend you not buy them, but borrow them from your local library. The links are only provided for a description of the books.  If you live in St Louis, our library has these books or you may be able to borrow the 1st two from Paul Brenden if you ask him (he’s nice like that).


One Response to “Good reads or (picture flipping if you’re like me)”

  1. […] This type of design has been around since before the Ottoman Empire and is highlighted in that book I covered 8 months ago, Architecture without […]

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