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Informal Paperback – Apr 30 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel (April 30 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3791337769
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791337760
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 11.9 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 581 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #282,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'An intriguing journey into ... [Cecil Balmonds]... thought processes'Grand Designs, April 2007

From the Publisher

Balmond's structural thinking differs from that of other engineers in his field in its completely new conception of the engineer's contribution to architecture. The plasticity of architeectural plans is enhanced through a decisive development of its structural design. The borderline between structure and architecture thus becomes increasingly blurred. This process is explained in detail in "Informal" by reference to 8 exemplary projects. The author makes the theoretical basis of his engineering solutions understandable to the reader and his sketches are more than just purely techincal illustrations - they are the key o his approach. After reading "Informal", architects will have to rethink their understanding of many well-known buildings. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It was quite interesting to get a look at the somewhat unusual engineering process of Cecil Balmond.
And to discover his inputs behind some famous building, from Koolhas, Libeskind to Siza.
The book is quite easy to read and don`t think you are going to get a structural crash course from Balmond (I must admit, I was bit disapointed of not finding that) but you do get the kind of passionate and heartily discussions you would get if you had the chance of drinking down a few drinks with Balmond and ending up with his famous sketches he drew on the bar's napkins.
Expect a book with graphics and layout of Koolhas' SMLXL / Big fonts, dual-tone pictures.
GOod read, good essay, not for someone looking for glossy pictures
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By A Customer on April 6 2003
Format: Hardcover
Informal is a terrific read; it places me right at the table as the author engages with his architect collaborators pursuing innovative building designs. The range is fascinating, from a box shape in the Villa Bordeaux to a curvilinear form in the Arnhem Interchange to the serene and effortless canopy in Lisbon. In each project the author establishes simple initial moves which lead ultimately to new configurations and importantly develops throughout the book a rigorous basis for exploring the non linear. This is welcome in an age when so much architectural form making is whimsical. As an architect I was fascinated how this book also brings out the lyrical and poetic inherent in structure. Best of all perhaps is the 27 sectioned speculation at the end on the anatomy of form, and an insight into the structure of organisation itself. In conjunction with his intriguing earlier book Number 9 Balmond sets out a new agenda for designers everywhere, including architects and engineers.
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Format: Hardcover
Peruse this book it extensively before you buy it. As an engineer, I feel it is long on graphics and musings but short on insight. I think his intended audience is architects more than fellow engineers. I think he wants to show them how engineers are also innovative and multidimensional designers, that we aren't just number-crunchers. A worthy goal, to be sure. But I was hoping to be wowed with project-specific responses to architectural challenges. I wasn't, but I don't consider basic overturning resistance and load transfer to be sheer brilliance. On major backflips of his designs, he holds his cards close. Also, Balmond correlates his work extensively to nature, frontier conceptual science and the arts in the tradition of great thinkers. But the correlations are rarely logical, nor do they show a consistent consciousness or developing method across his oeuvre. Were this not the case, I would be more inclined to believe these epiphanies occurred during actual design as opposed to monograph-writing. Also, it sure is a tiny book for $....
In his defense and perhaps my own, a disclaimer: in no way is this review intended to diminish Balmond's significance to the world of architectural structures. We as engineers aren't known for writing flourishes. And has anyone ever read a design monograph free of ego?
I would recommend What is a Bridge? by Pollalis or An Engineer Imagines by Peter Rice over this book. Both clearly convey the real experience and potential brilliance of the modern structural designer.
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By A Customer on Feb. 19 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a student I was carrying out research on the web and in particular on the extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I discovered the many sites with reference to the work of Balmond and Daniel Libeskind. My interest grew as I examined their wide range of projects all over the world. It was on one of these sites that I first heard of the Informal and eagerly awaited its publication. I was not disappointed. I was interested to read about how these projects came to materialise and was amazed at the graphical images. I think it was a very well put together book and one which should appeal to architectural and engineering students. I have since shown my tutor and he has highly recommended it. This was a first for me. I beat him to this remarkable book.
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