on March 12, 2004
I am interested in architecture as a hobby, and as a potential career at some point in the future, so the perspective I had when reading this book was that of an informed amateur. I can't praise this little book enough. In its pages are the best explanations and analyses of contrasts, textures, shapes, and colors that I have seen in one single, condensed location.
Originally published in Denmark in 1959, and therefore lacking some of the more contemporary and postmodern design trends, this is an invaluable analysis of primarily European design through the mid twentieth century. This book is profusely illustrated with black and white photographs (most of which were taken by Rasmussen himself) and a fair number of drawings, all of which greatly assist the reader with his understanding of the material.
Specific buildings mentioned are too numerous to list, but the run the gamut from St. Peter's basilica in Rome, to the haunting and sinister Palazzetto Zuccari (also in Rome), to the ultramodern Johnson Wax Company building in Racine, Wisconsin by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the very modern study in open spaces found in the Copenhagen Police Headquarters (one of my personal favorites.)
This would be a useful guide to architects, and is the single best introduction to historical architectural style that I have yet found. Anyone with even a passing interest in architectural design or history would love this book.
on October 1, 2003
When I was looking for some books to begin to learn about architecture (on a purely amateur level), someone recommended "Experiencing Architecture". I could not be happier with this book. The author consistently uses simple, concrete and engaging examples to illustrate his points. He compares and contrasts; uses buildings, sidewalks, windows, doorways, and steps from all over the world and across the centuries. Given my love of travel and history these references (liberally illustrated throughout the book in black and white photographs and some drawings) brought the book to life and added an additional dimension of enjoyment.
The reviews printed on the back cover say it all-"Lively without ever becoming condescending...learned without ever becoming dull" and "...so lucid and clear that every layman and beginner will be able to understand and to enjoy it". I can't recommend the book enough for anyone that has even the slightest interest in learning about architecture.
on July 16, 1998
Experiencing Architecture was a basic text in my first year of design school; the principles that I learned from it have followed me ever since.
Rasmussen takes the visual world apart and taught me to see things in their simplest forms. His commentaries on form, texture, and massing heightened my appreciation for all forms of design; his discussion of color--for one who is colorblind--provided a life-long guidedog.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wanted to pioneer the Lego curriculum at university--