Category Archives: Review

Poor Richard Volume 2 Review | Portland Book Review

Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2) by Mark David Major | Portland Book Review
by George Erdosh, April 20, 2015

The review of Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners by the Portland Book Review is available.

Excerpt:

“Here is a strange paperback that some readers will love and others won’t read past page three. Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners consists of fifty-two pages of text, one for each week of the year, and a facing black-and-white high-contrast photo illustrations, somewhat related to the subject author Mark David Major selected for that week.”

Read the full review here: Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2) by Mark David Major | Portland Book Review

Down the full review here: Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2) by Mark David Major | Portland Book Review

PoorRichardv2_FrCoverPoor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2)
by Mark David Major, Foreword by Steve Mouzon
140 pages with black and white illustrations.

Available in print from Amazon, CreateSpace, and other online retailers.

Available on iBooks from the Apple iTunes Store and Kindle in the Kindle Store.

For the best digital eBook experience, the author recommends purchasing the iBook version of the book.

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FROM THE VAULT | Creative Confessions | Paul Klee

FROM THE VAULT | Creative Confessions and other writings by Paul Klee
by Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A, The Outlaw Urbanist contributor

Creative Confessions is a series of short essays (vignettes, really) by Modern abstract artist Paul Klee (1879-1940) on art and composition, which the artist wrote while teaching at the Bauhaus in Germany during the 1920s with a postscript essay by the editor, Matthew Gale. In this, it is a thought-provoking read that can be managed in a single sitting (in a real sense: perfect for the Internet Era). It is stuffed full with quotes that have direct bearing on composition in art (“art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible”). However, Klee’s vignettes also carry (perhaps indirect) importance for composition in architecture and urban planning. For example, “a tendency towards the abstract is inherent in linear expression” when you think of this concept in terms of movement in the city. When Klee discusses “the formal elements of graphic art are the dot, line, plane, and space – the last three charged with energy of various kind”, we can easily translate this into built environment terms (dot=location, line=axis of movement, plane=convex space, and space itself is self-explanatory). Klee means this in terms of the energy of artistic gesture but we can also easily understand how these things in an urban environment are similarly ‘charged with energy’ in terms of movement, avoidance, and encounter.

Indeed, it is easy to make transitions such as these from art to architecture/planning since Klee himself tends to express these ideas in terms of movement/counter movement in encounter and vision, i.e. a journey across “an unploughed field” or crossing a “river” or “walking across the deck of a steamer”, which are described in terms of linear expression. Klee’s explicitly acknowledges this, arguing that “movement is the source of all change” and “space, too, is a temporal concept.” “When a dot begins to move and becomes a line, this require time.” In planning terms, we can think of this as our location in space changing by the action of our movement and thus our experience of space evolves with that movement. This is not only expressed in terms of geospatial reality but also in time since we, as human beings, are bound in space and time.

“Movement is the basic datum” of the universe, Klee tells us. In understanding this (in art as well as the science of urbanism), we can “reveal the reality that is behind visible things”.  Klee argues “the object grows beyond its appearance through our knowledge that the thing is more than its outward aspect suggests”. Indeed, in discussing art, is Klee begins to tap into the inherent nature of observation and science itself.

Creative Confessions and other writings
by Paul Klee (Matthew Gale, Editor and Postscript)
32 pages
Tate; Act edition (May 6, 2014), London UK

You can purchase Creative Confessions and other writings from Amazon here.

 

Check out the Artsy.net Paul Klee page here.

From the Vault is a series from the Outlaw Urbanist in which we review art, architectural and urban design texts, with an emphasis on the obscure and forgotten, found in second-hand bookstores.

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10 Blogs We’re Reading… well, keeping an eye on

10 Blogs We’re Reading… well, keeping an eye on…
by Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A, The Outlaw Urbanist contributor

We say ‘reading’ but really it is ‘periodically checking in on’ because there is way too much content to keep up with everything on the web. We have over 30 newspapers and online journals from the United States and Europe alone bookmarked for daily review! The Outlaw Urbanist is backlogged over a year with interesting news articles we have saved for re-posting on the blog. We are only now (very slowly) beginning to diligently work our way through this backlog. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit these blogs (in no particular order).

1.  Clusterfuck Nation by James Howard Kunstler
Now archived on www.kunstler.com but still worth a periodic visit. He is on Twitter but not much so you can follow @Jhkunstler.

2.  The Original Green and StudioSky Blog by Steve Mouzon
Mouzon is on Twitter a lot but his feed ebs and flows, you can follow .

3.  The Power of the Network by Tim Stonor (Twitter: @Tim_Stonor)

4.  The Pure Hands by Dr. Nick “Sheep” and Professor Ruth Dalton
You can follow Sheep on Twitter and Ruth . He is on Twitter more often than her.

5.  Tiny House Blog by Kent Griswold (Twitter @kentgriswold)

6.  Failed Architecture by Michiel van Iersel et al out of Amsterdam (Twitter @FailedArch)

7.  Spatial Disjunctures by David Jeevendrampillai
(UCL Research Student whose blog has gone quiet for over a year but we hope returns soon)

8.  Urban Formation or Mapping Urban Form and Society by Dr. Laura Vaughan
Professor of Urban Form and Society at UCL, whose blog has also gone quiet for six months… we’re all very busy these days. Laura tends to be on Twitter more than most and she often actively engages in interesting discussions via her feed @urban_formation.

9.  Moser Design Group by R. Eric Moser (Twitter @Moserdesign)

10.  Urbanism Speakeasy by Andy Boenau
We’re not sure if this qualifies as a blog since it is a podcast series… perhaps an audio blog. Andy is a active participant on Twitter .

PoorRichardv2_FrCoverPurchase your copy of Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2) today!

Available in print from Amazon, CreateSpace, and other online retailers.

Available on iBooks from the Apple iTunes Store and Kindle in the Kindle Store.

 

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Poor Richard Review | Planning Magazine | February 2014

“Poor Richard” Review | Planning Magazine
February 2014

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners by Mark David Major was reviewed by the American Planning Association’s regular Book Reviewer, Harold Henderson, in the February 2014 issue (“A thought a day”, page 51) of Planning Magazine.

Read an excerpt below:

Excerpt:

The author seems to be following both Benjamin Franklin and Ambrose Bierce, and those are big shoes to fill. Not all the epigrams reach their mark, but the successful ones make it worthwhile. (Week 33, Day 5: “As obese the governed so shall be the entity that governs them.”)

Download a PDF of the full review here.

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners by Mark David Major  (Forum Books, 136 pages, black and white illustrations)

Available in print from Amazon, CreateSpace, and other online retailers.

Available in digital format from the Apple iTunes Store.

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FROM THE VAULT | Archetypes of Urbanism | Thomas Thiis-Evensen

FROM THE VAULT |  Archetypes of Urbanism: a method for the esthetic design of cities by Thomas Thiis-Evensen
by Mark David Major, The Outlaw Urbanist contributor

Thomas Thiis-Evensen’s Archetypes of Urbanism: a method for the esthetic design of cities (1996) describes general principles for the design of streets and squares. These principles are derived by developing a typology based on the composition of facade and pavement surfaces in traditional – mainly European – cities. In taking this approach, the book has much in common with Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City (1960) and Rob Krier’s Urban Space (1979), both of which are frequently referenced. Interestingly, a less explicit attempt is made to incorporate the phenomenological concerns of theorists such as Christian Norberg-Schulz about ‘the sense of place’ in discussing the usefulness of ‘types’ to designers. At its best, the book sketches out examples of how the composition of facades, detailing of pavements, and varying street widths can be deployed to either accentuate or retard the ‘directionality’ of movement in street spaces. In discussing the design of urban squares, the argument is less convincing and the author merely repeats the call for ‘good enclosure’. It seems likely the author is aware of this as only one chapter is devoted to the design of squares whereas the rest of the book focuses on the urban space of street networks, about which the author’s ideas seem to be more developed. Sadly, Thiis-Evensen’s argument is often undermined by diagrams appearing six or seven pages after they have been referred to in the text; the blame for which clearly resides with the publishers. Archetypes of Urbanism: a method for the esthetic design of cities is most valuable to students in helping them to develop their own ideas about the design of our cities.

Archetypes of Urbanism: a method for the esthetic design of cities
by Thomas Thiis-Evensen
228 pages
Oslo, Norway: Universitetsforlaget

You can purchase Archetypes of Urbanism: a method for the esthetic design of cities from Amazon here.

From the Vault is a new series from the Outlaw Urbanist in which we review architectural and urban design texts, with an emphasis on the obscure and forgotten, found in the second-hand bookstore.

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