Create your own architecture. The motto of the book, which is an inseparable part of the LEGO Architecture Studio. What is the purpose of the book? Does it contain useful information? Should architecture students read it? In this review, I will try to answer these question.
But first, some facts. The book consists of 272 pages and includes 6 main chapters, each with a perspective of one architecture company. Each chapter starts with a brief history of the company and some of their projects, which are explored from different views. This gives us unique insight into what is architecture. Each company focuses on different aspects. Some prefer a pragmatic approach to programming and try to find the most efficient way, how the building can work. Some try to harness quality of light. Others focus on feeling from voids and masses. And there are much more to consider. And architecture is all of that. So as many architects are out there, that many opinions of what architecture is. And that is one of the things I got from this book. All must be considered but no all can be focused on at the same time.
After an introduction, each company shares things, that are important in their design. It is basically a small lecture from the architectural leaders from all around the globe. There are no long paragraphs of text, lectures are distilled to its bare essentials. One could say it is the whole architecture school stripped down to bones.
The penultimate part of each chapter is the exploration. There is an exercise with bricks, connected to the world of architecture. During these explorations, we can learn about scale, space and section, modules and repetition, a design toolssurface, mass and density and symmetry.
At the end of each chapter, exploration exercise is given to the design team of each architecture company. This consist of pictures, how different people, given the same exercise, reacted and what did they build. There are also quotes and other reflections about bricks, and how they cdesign tools.
And at the very end of the book, there is a short guide of few brick building techniques. However, there is very few of them and every curious mind can think of much more possibilities of what can be done with that collection of brick, tiles, plates and other pieces.
I would say one of the purposes of this book is definitely to encourage exploring through the bricks. When one sees how architects played with bricks and what they made, the immediate reaction is: oh, I can do that as well. When adults face a creative problem, the often feel fear. What if what I create is not good enough? Small children, however, do not fear, they just create. And we all need to learn how to be kids again. Kids do not see constraints as adults do.
As I already said, the book covers only the essentials, which is both good and bad. It can give you a creative headstart. Then, you are on your own. You are responsible for your creations. Be bold. And if you want to know more, there is huge number of other books which can share more views on a topic of architecture.
I would recommend this set and book for everyone interested in architecture, everyone who likes to make things with their own hands and explore. You are not guaranteed to be next F. L. Wright after reading this, but it is a good start.