Introducing Architectural Tectonics: Exploring the Intersection of Design and Construction, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Introducing Architectural Tectonics

Exploring the Intersection of Design and Construction, 1st Edition

By Chad Schwartz


348 pages | 324 Color Illus.

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Introducing Architectural Tectonics is an exploration of the poetics of construction. Tectonic theory is an integrative philosophy examining the relationships formed between design, construction, and space while creating or experiencing a work of architecture. In this text, author Chad Schwartz presents an introductory investigation into tectonic theory, subdividing it into distinct concepts in order to make it accessible to beginning and advanced students alike.

The book centers on the tectonic analysis of twenty contemporary works of architecture located in eleven countries including Germany, Italy, United States, Chile, Japan, Bangladesh, Spain, and Australia and designed by such notable architects as Tadao Ando, Herzog & de Meuron, Kengo Kuma, Olson Kundig, and Peter Zumthor. Although similarities do exist between the projects, their distinctly different characteristics – location and climate, context, size, program, construction methods – and range of interpretations of tectonic expression provide the most significant lessons of the book, helping you to understand tectonic theory. Written in clear, accessible language, these investigations examine the poetic creation of architecture, showing you lessons and concepts that you can integrate into your own work, whether studying in a university classroom or practicing in a professional office.


"Schwartz's clear content outlines logic that designers can use for creating structures and choosing materials for their integrated designs. This logic makes these case studies relevant learning tools, particularly for younger design students."—Charlton N. Lewis, University of Texas at Austin, USA

"This book fills the void between treating the concept of detailing and tectonics in a theoretical way, and focusing on construction practicalities. I particularly like the grouping of architectural building types, and the projects are very appealing. The quality of the graphics is excellent and there are drawings at a variety of scales, explaining the details well and situating them within the overall building and site context."—Greg Johnson, University of British Columbia, Canada

"This book provides a much-needed introduction to the themes of place and tectonics in architecture. The theoretical material forms the basis for in-class discussions, and the case study projects exemplify analytic methods that students can apply to additional cases as well as their own design projects."—Michael McGlynn, Kansas State University, USA

"Schwartz appraises buildings critically with complete descriptions, useful photographs and drawings, balanced opinions, and no jargon. The book is both concise and a clearly written text on architectural theory, which is rare. This will help architecture students and designers move on from the superficiality of current fashion."—Angus Macdonald, University of Edinburgh, UK

Table of Contents

Foreword by Edward R. Ford. Preface. Acknowledgments. Introduction. Investigating the Tectonic.1. Loblolly House 2. Swiss Sound Box 3. Thorncrown Chapel 4. Government Canyon Visitor Center 5. Peninsula House 6. Prayer Pavilion of Light 7. GC Prostho Museum Research Center 8. Parrish Art Museum 9. Center of Gravity Foundation Hall 10. Chapel of Reconciliation 11. Porciúncula La Milagrosa Chapel 12. Arabian Library 13. METI Handmade School 14. Brain Studio 15. Chapel del Retiro 16. Lanxi Curtilage Building 17. Punta della Dogana 18. National Museum of Roman Art 19. Bruder Klaus Field Chapel 20. Casa Tóló Afterword. Glossary. Reference List. Project Credits. Figure Credits. Index

About the Author


Chad Schwartz is an architect and educator currently serving as Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at Southern Illinois University, USA. He teaches both design and building technology, continually seeking to merge the two bodies of knowledge. His research focuses on the introduction of critical making, tectonic investigation, and design/build into the classroom.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation
ARCHITECTURE / Methods & Materials
ARCHITECTURE / Sustainability & Green Design