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How Buildings Work
The Natural Order of Architecture

Allen, Edward
Publisher:  Oxford University Press, New York, USA
Year Published:  2005   First Published:  1980
Pages:  270pp   Price:  $50   ISBN:  0-19-516198-X
Library of Congress Number:  TH6021.A44 2004   Dewey:  721--dc22

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This book was originally published in 1980 and then 1995. Allen is an architect and a teacher (Oregon, Yale, MIT). The basic principles of a residential and office "building" are explained: how and why buildings stand up, how they age, why they die, internal designs. All with hundreds of illustrations (mainly line drawings). Details include the role of the sun in heating and aging buildings, trusses vs. bearing walls, beams and vaults. He goes into problems as well: overheating, overcooling, leaky roofs and windows, fire safety, noise, and insulation. Since the 1995 edition there have been many environmental concerns. Allen addresses these issues with a copious amount of material on eco-designs and green architecture, sustainable construction, sick building syndrome, recycling and reusing, and new forms of building materials such as cloud gel and transparent ceramics. There is a section on why the World Trade Center collapsed in 2001. And it concludes with a useful glossary.

* Audience or interest level: the curious, reference collections.

* Some interesting facts: The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system for evaluating the sustainability of a building involves sites, water efficiency, energy use, materials, indoor environmental quality.

* What I don't like about this resource (its shortcomings): any bibliography of other readings!

* What I do like about this resource (its positives): a book to play with, a fun read. Give it to your local architect#

Quality-to-Price Ratio: 88

[Review by Dean Tudor]

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