1st Edition

Situate, Manipulate, Fabricate An Anthology of the Influences on Architectural Design and Production

Edited By Chad Schwartz Copyright 2021
    300 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    300 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This anthology of selected works outlines three critical instigators of architecture, all tied directly to the tectonic makeup of our built environment – place, material, and assembly. These catalysts provide the organizational framework for a collection of essays discussing their significant influence on the processes of architectural design and construction.

    With content from a diverse collection of notable architects, historians, and scholars, this book serves as a theoretical structure for understanding the tectonic potential of architecture. Each chapter is thematically driven, consisting of a pair of essays preceded by an introduction highlighting the fundamental issues at hand and comparing and contrasting the points of view presented.

    Situate, Manipulate, Fabricate offers an opportunity to explore the essential topics that affect the design and construction, as well as the experiential qualities, of our built environment.

    Part 1: Situate

    1. Site


    Robin Dripps

    The Foundation of Architecture

    Rafael Moneo

    2. Tradition

    Between Traditionalism and Modernism: Approaches to a Vernacular Architecture

    Dennis Alan Mann

    Newness, Tradition, and Identity: Existential Content and Meaning in Architecture

    Juhani Pallasmaa

    3. Environment

    What Does Place Mean to Me? Everything

    Dijana Alic interviews Glenn Murcutt

    Preface from "Natural Energy and Vernacular Architecture"

    Hassan Fathy

    Part 2: Manipulate

    4. Intent

    Truth to the Medium: Using Materials

    Fil Hearn


    Louis I. Kahn

    5. Properties

    Timber from "The Soul of a Tree"

    George Nakashima

    Structuring Materiality: Design Fabrication of Heterogeneous Materials

    Neri Oxman

    6. Meaning

    On Weathering: A New Surface out of the Tracks of Time

    David Leatherbarrow and Mohsen Mostafavi

    Material is Not a Finish

    Kengo Kuma 

    Part 3: Fabricate

    7. Techne

    Excerpts from "The Nature and Art of Workmanship"

    David Pye

    Excerpts from "Refabricating Architecture"

    Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake

    8. Architectonic

    Structure, Construction, Tectonics

    Eduard Sekler

    Rappel a l’Ordre: The Case for the Tectonic

    Kenneth Frampton

    9. Intersection

    The Tell-the-Tale Detail

    Marco Frascari

    Detail: The Subject of the Object

    Peggy Deamer


    Chad Schwartz is an architect and educator currently serving as an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at Kansas State University, USA. He teaches both design and building technology, continually seeking to merge the two bodies of knowledge. His research explores the role of architectural tectonics in the development of both contemporary and historic architecture, as well as strategies for translating the theory of tectonics into practical and poetic activities in the university classroom. He is also the author of Introducing Architectural Tectonics: Exploring the Intersection of Design and Construction (2016).

    Situating contemporary discussions of material and fabrication against their historical and theoretical backgrounds, Schwartz’s Situate, Manipulate, Fabricate presents an accessible resource for considering and comparing theories of tectonics. The annotated essays convey how material is a form of intentionality: detailing and material decisions are intellectual transactions that carry political and social consequences and reflect the cultures, places, and times of their creation.  Situate will be essential reading for those interested in considering and refining how material manipulation and fabrication are powerful instruments of architectural thought.

    -Shelby Elizabeth Doyle, AIA, Iowa State University

    Chad Schwartz has assembled an outstanding collection of essays in this book. The author’s use of the phrase "tectonic instigators" is particularly insightful, as the processes described in the title are crucial elements in creating compelling architecture. The book’s richly varied contributions include work by authors that carefully situate discourse within their particular cultural contexts. Chad’s introductions for each chapter provide critical context, as well as facilitating reader’s engagement in unfamiliar ideas. Any architect or educator who has an interest in how one approaches the subject of making architecture will find these selections to be essential to enriching their understanding.

    -Eric Weber, Associate Professor, Coordinator, UNLV School of Architecture Design+Build Studio

    This vital collection of writings on architectural tectonics extends Chad Schwartz’ groundbreaking work in Introducing Architectural Tectonics to argue for building as a philosophical, as well as a physical, act. Showing that construction occurs within three frameworks—situating a building within the topography and flows of a site, manipulating materials to bend the physical world to our needs and desires, and fabricating elements and components to engage with those materials, these curated essays show how constructive acts—far from being mere nuts and bolts—embody meaning far richer than we generally acknowledge. An essential addition to any architectural library, Situate, Manipulate, Fabricate brings together a generation of collected wisdom and speculation on the intersection of making and thinking.

    -Thomas Leslie, FAIA, Morrill Professor in Architecture, College of Design, Iowa State University