My Reading List & My Keep List

As I have come close to the end of my degree, I begin to ponder over the never ending reading lists, handed to me by my tutors, lecturers and fellow colleges;  all of whom enthusiastically recall how so-and-so book has helped them with designing, thinking, drawing, modeling,…the list goes on.But this only makes things more difficult for me as I come to put together one for myself.

I do not blame them, for I am sure that each book had its moment of magic. But this does put forward a task for me to device a plan of action, to categorize the different types of books and to compose several sub-reading lists. Only then would I be able to orientate myself within this sea of book titles and authors.

Reading lists

The Reading list bank has a number of books, with different approaches(technical, theoritics) and focuses(material, landscape, cities).And so, to begin with, the reading list is separated into several basic categories:

  1. General scope
  2. Specialized 
  3. How to/Technical
  4. case-study orientated

As I write these categories, it is interesting to note that whilst I could list books according to themes (space, landscape, concrete), it would be far more useful to list them according the the level of depth each book provides. That way, I’m able to gain a strong foundation in anyone particular topic before embarking on a deeper, more specialized one.

In fact, when I reflect on what books I have used time and time again over the past few years, I find that the majority of them are of the ‘general scope category’ these books are to eventually become My Keep list:


The complete handbook of Architecture: From the first civilizations to the present day by Patrick Nuttgens and Richard Weston.

This was perhaps my first Architecture related book. The book is a small, pocket sized book that comprehensively outlines all the basic features of  buildings from different eras and cultures. Brief enough for general reading and informative enough as the start of an in depth study. This is perhaps my starting point for every history essay I’ve written during my degree.


Architect’s Pocket Book by  Baden-Powell,C. Hetreed, J. and Ross, A.  is also a pocket sized book. The book compiles samples of information from the metric building spec (the big red book) such as door widths, wheelchair access, vehicle rotation… a useful book when designing anything.


Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte is an amusing book. The definition of reading is re-examined as you learn to ‘read’ images, diagrams and graphs. An exerciser on thought, design and presentation.

9780262680424-f30Collage City by Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter is perhaps not the easiest book to read in my list. In fact, reading this book would require me to have a note book and a search engine on standby. But the complexity of ideas and intertwining references makes this a challenging but hugely rewarding read. Every single page is condensed with theories and ideas, from Hegel to Wagner to Le Corbusier, each name sparking a study of its own and a relation to the other.

Interaction with Architectural space campi of venice

Interaction with Architectural space: The Campi of Venice by Alban Janson and Thorsten Burklin is one of my all time favorite book to read. This Case-study orientated book uses Venice to explore ideas of space and movement. At first, this book may be too specialized. But the manner in which it is presented allows the process to be implemented on other projects.


The latest book in my collection, Big Ideas in brief by Ian Crofton is another pocket sized book which tries to summarize basic well known concepts under themes such as Philosophy, Politics, Religion and the Arts.  Like the handbook of Architecture, there is enough information in this book to set up the bare minimum knowledge required.

Isolate, Order and….Count?

What happens when you attempt to re-locate the 25000 m² Dagenham market into a 4000 m² perforated frame?

DSC03975 (2)
Isolate, Order and….Count?

It is like trying to pour a large amount of water into a small cup, eventually the water will surpass the rim of the cup and finally, overflow.

Considering the fact that there is a fixed amount of water, there are several responses to this situation:

1.Get a bigger cup

2.Distribute the water into several cups.

3. Allow the water to overflow

Bringing this analogy back to the context of Dagenham market and the new development, we see that providing a bigger market in a new location will not suffice, simply because, once the development takes place, there will no longer be a enough space for the market.

The second response is distribution. This will ease the impact of the market on the development, as well as allow the new, smaller markets to grow and develop their own identity; some may specialize in fruit, others in antique.

This however does also mean that the entity of Dagenham market is broken up and therefore the intensity of the people gathering in one place is lost. Something which is important to the market’s current identity.

The third option may feel like one has lost hope of containing the market, but acceptance that it will not fit into a rigid structure allows one to question how the market will shape this new structure; both in terms of form and purpose. Does the circulation of the market dictate the form? if so, to what extent will this new structure dictate the flow of the market beyond?

In order to answer these questions, several steps must be carried out first:

1. How many merchants/ market stools are there at dagenham?

2. How many people visit the market? and how?

3. What is the routine of setting up the market?

4. What is the current circulation of people within the market?

5. How does this differ form other markets that “leak” in to the remaining urban fabric?

6. How is dagenham market controlled? how does this differ from other markets?

Ecological Infrastructure

0053Ecology is the relations between organisms and their environment, links between different elements create a system of interconnections that build up Communities of living organisms(ecosystems).

In order for Communities to maintain operation and functionality, they require facilities, or Organisational structures

Organisational structures developed by humans tend to steer away from natural ones. However one that remains to be an important system for both humans and other organisms alike is Transport through water.                                           .                      .                                                          

Transport systems based on water need to act as close to nature as possible by introducing as many Intermediate buffering systems.                                        

Intermediate buffering systems can be either self-generative or by human intervention. 


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