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Subnature
Architecture's Other Environments

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7 x 9 inches (17.8 x 22.9 cm)
Paperback
224 pages
80 color illustrations, 65 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 11/2/2009
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568987774
Price: $35.00
We are conditioned over time to regard environmental forces such as dust, mud, gas, smoke, debris, weeds, and insects as inimical to architecture. Much of today's discussion about sustainable and green design revolves around efforts to clean or filter out these primitive elements. While mostly the direct result of human habitation, these 'subnatural forces' are nothing new. In fact, our ability to manage these forces has long defined the limits of civilized life. From its origins, architecture has been engaged in both fighting and embracing these so-called destructive forces. In Subnature, David Gissen, author of our critically acclaimed Big and Green, examines experimental work by today's leading designers, scholars, philosophers, and biologists that rejects the idea that humans can somehow recreate a purely natural world, free of the untidy elements that actually constitute nature. Each chapter provides an examination of a particular form of subnature and its actualization in contemporary design practice.

The exhilarating and at times unsettling work featured in Subnature suggests an alternative view of natural processes and ecosystems and their relationships to human society and architecture. R


David Gissen is the former curator of architecture at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. He is an assistant professor of architecture at the California College of the Arts and the author of Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century.

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