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XS: Small Structures, Green Architecture [Hardcover]

Phyllis Richardson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 13 2007
A follow-up to the highly successful XS: Big Ideas, Small Buildings, this book features contemporary solutions to two of today's most challenging problems-how to conserve space and help save the environment. The design goals of the 40 houses included here are to build as small as possible, to harmonize with the site, to use natural heating and cooling techniques, and, above all, to combine aesthetic beauty with ecological sensitivity. The houses are striking in appearance, inexpensive to build, and totally functional, and will serve as inspiration for architects and potential owners.Designed by a variety of young international architects (among them Patkau, ShoP, Sean Godsel, and Klein Dytham) the projects featured here reveal an extraordinary degree of ingenuity within a tight, creative context or budget. As homeowners become more environmentally savvy and demand environmentally sound choices, a new generation of architects and builders is creating warm, inviting homes that cause only a fraction of the ecological impact of conventional building methods. The book is also a compelling manifesto that illustrates how ecological responsibility can reinvigorate contemporary architecture. Sustainability is not just good for the environment-it also propels architects toward new innovations and greater creativity.

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Product Description

About the Author

Phyllis Richardson is the author of the bestselling XS: Big Ideas, Small Buildings. Her other books include Contemporary Natural, StyleCity London, and StyleCity Barcelona. She lives in London

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sequels are never as good as the Original March 14 2007
Format:Hardcover
n 2001 XS: Big Ideas, Small Buildings by Phyllis Richardson created a sensation. Small, light prefab buildings were so 21st century and it was an inspired collection. Now, She has written a followup: XS: Small Spaces, Green Architecture and we wish we could say we are as excited as we were with the first volume but alas, we are not.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that whoever wrote the dust jacket description does not appear to have read the book. "The design goals of the 40 houses included here are to build as small as possible, to harmonize with the site, to use natural heating and cooling techniques, and, above all, to combine aesthetic beauty with ecological sensitivity. The houses are striking in appearance, inexpensive to build, and totally functional, and will serve as inspiration for architects and potential owners."

The book has garden pavilions, sculptures, cameras obscura and treehouses but there is nary a totally functional and inexpensive to build house to be found. That is fine, there are some lovely, innovative and inspiring structures that are worth the price of admission. There are also some of questionable green credentials and others that have been around the block a few too many times.

But while it may be true that "a new generation of architects and builders is creating warm, inviting homes that cause only a fraction of the ecological impact of conventional building methods," they aren't here. The author might have been better served if the blurb said what her introduction does: " almost none of the projects here is an end in itself. Rather, each suggests inroads in a journey to a host of answers."
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just houses, structures March 13 2007
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Note carefully the words in the title of this book, 'Small Structures.' In spite of the copy on the back of the book, this is not a book concentrating on small houses. This a book on all kinds of small structures. They may be viewing platforms, a bridge, a pigeon loft, a monument, an emergency shelter made out of an ocean shipping container, a camera obscura, a work of art, or indeed there are a few houses here.

What this book is really trying to do is push the state of the architectural art just as far as it can be pushed. Here are structures that are ecologically responsible, wildly creative and showcase the advanced thinking that the premier architectural firms can do when removed from the restrictions of building yet another McMansion.

As you look at these structures, some give you ideas that you'd really like to try in your next building, some of the others just look weird and don't fit into anything that seems reasonable.

All in all, I found it a stay up late and look at every picture just to see what they might think of next kind of book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great and Interesting Book Jan. 23 2009
By J. Yu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I really enjoy reading about small buildings or spaces, and there aren't many books like this that focuses on really small structures and green architecture like those featured in this book. I borrowed this book from the library and enjoyed it so much that I thought to buy myself a copy.

This book features various type of small structures (i.e. utility structure/summer house etc). What I also liked about the book that it showed projects from around the world and not just a couple of countries. (Though most projects do come from North America and Europe, with one or two from Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia.)

43 projects are in this book, divided into these chapters:
"Views from outside"- small structures with the function on viewing from or to
"Material concerns" - projects that experiment with materials
"urban flowering" - structures that "enhance" the urban fabric or experience
"Touching the earth lightly" - buildings that are portable.

The book dedicates 2-4 pages per project with a short description and background to the project. I didn't find this to be terrible since many of the projects are very small and don't require a lot of photos to depict it. (Though some of the projects I would have really like to see more photos.)

I really like this book and found a lot of the projects to be inspirational and interesting.
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty little book! April 28 2012
By TKO - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is pretty much a tiny coffee table book filled with beautiful pictures of unusual architecture fitting the small structures, green architecture theme. Fun to flip through and see some unusual projects from around the world. If you're the sort of person who clicks on "look at this cool house!" links on the internet or just loves photography of strange objects d'art, this is a little treasure trove of neat things.
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