Designing Architecture : The Elements of Process book cover
1st Edition

Designing Architecture
The Elements of Process

ISBN 9780415595162
Published February 9, 2012 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

Designing Architecture is an indispensable tool to assist both students and young architects in formulating an idea, transforming it into a building, and making effective design decisions. This book promotes integrative and critical thinking in the preliminary design of buildings to inspire creativity, innovation, and design excellence.

This compendium of individual wisdom and collective experience offers explicit guidance to students and young professionals on how to approach, analyze, and execute specific tasks; develop and refine a process to facilitate the best possible design projects; and create meaningful architectural form.

Here the design process – from orchestrating client participation to finalizing schematic design – is explored and illuminated. The following material is presented to make the book a useful didactic tool for professional development:

  • explicit strategies for doing design rather than simply reviewing principles and precedents
  • creative ideas in approaching and framing problems in design terms
  • specific methods to translate ideas to culturally significant, socially responsive, and environmentally sensitive buildings
  • techniques to integrate all levels of cognition from analysis to epiphany
  • counsel on developing a personalized process for engaging design projects
  • case studies augment the text and chronicle fascinating applications of the design process.

The essence of this book lies in an integrated and holistic approach to each unique project as well as fostering curiosity and exploration – a departure from algorithms, easy generalities, or a formula for design. Designing Architecture will inspire readers to elevate the quality of preliminary designs and unravel some of the mystery of creating the most beautiful, responsive, and responsible architectural design possible.

Table of Contents

Foreword  Preface  Acknowledgments  Chapter 1: Introduction to the Design Process Sidebar 1–1: What Is Good Design? Process Elements and Iterative Loops. Creativity and Epiphany. Design Attitude. Architectural Concepts. Design Process as Research.  Chapter 2: Influences and Inspiration Clients, Stakeholders, and the Program. Site and Context. Sidebar 2–1: Site Inventory Checklist. Environmentally Sensitive Design. Sidebar 2–2: Building Performance Strategies. Precedents and Historical Perspectives. Construction Technology and Materials. Budgets. Codes, Ordinances, and Regulations.  Chapter 3: Doing Design Sidebar 3–1: Tips for Doing Design. Sidebar 3–2: Common Mistakes in the Design Process.  Seeking Dialogue and Criticism. Tools: Drawings, Physical Models, and Digital Media. Sidebar 3–3: Conceptual Design and Sustainability on the Computer. Synthesizing Program and Site Issues. Organizing Elements. Aesthetic and Formal Qualities. Building Systems Integration and Collaboration. Preliminary Design Presentations. Sidebar 3–4: Tips for Presentations. Charrettes and Competitions.  Chapter 4: Case Studies New England Residence. Global Heritage Hall. Autodesk A/E/C Division Headquarters.


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Andrew Pressman, FAIA, an architect and Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico, leads his own architectural firm in Washington, DC. His work has been featured in over thirty professional, scholarly, and popular publications. He has written six critically acclaimed books and holds a Master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


“All-in-all, I highly recommend Designing Architecture: The Elements of Process by Andrew Pressman FAIA, no matter where one finds oneself in their career.”Randy Deutsch, Architect

"[The book] present[s] sound counsel and readable, clear summaries of what it’s like to work as an architect […]; how ideas are developed, presented, and discussed with clients and consultants; and what influences designs at each stage." Thomas Leslie, Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture, Iowa State University. Journal of Architectural Education

 "[…] thoroughly guided and blissfully written, anybody going through it will feel the urge to start a design anew, such is the charisma of the writing." Kunal Rakshit, Dept. of Architecture, Jadavpur University