July 21, 2010

Book Review: Green Dream - by The Why Factory

Green Dream: How Future Cties Can Outsmart Nature, is curious exploration of the sustainable movement in architecture and urbanism undertaken by The Why Factory (a global think-tank and research Institute, initiated and run by MVRDV and Delft University of Technology). Offering a diverse range of information and data pertaining to the green movement, this book is part factual research and part science fiction, envisioning what our future cities, and globalized world may become. From trains that travel faster than planes, to the use of bacteria to generate light and electricity in the canals of Amsterdam the design explorations carried out by the Why Factory and its students are both visionary and often surreal. The images are bold, ideas fresh yet sometimes overly bold and shocking. The main criticism is the unrealistic aspect of many of the proposals - usually looking for architectural solutions to problems rather than actually solving the initial problem itself. However, exercises like this manages to force the reader to think about their role in vast complex networks. It shows that what common sense or recent trends suggest might not necessarily be the best or most sustainable solution to certain issues.

Finally, the book itself is a well designed document. The variation of font size makes the reading easy and appeals to the designer in us. Bold and clear info-graphics grace the pages to illustrate the main points, while full bleed color images presents the various proposals and their captivating renderings. The paper is heavy and feels good in your hand as you flip through the pages. The only criticism here would be that the inner margin could have been a bit larger, providing a little more white on the page and easier reading as you get deep within the thick book. However, this is a minor point to a great addition to any architect's personal library.

Read the press release for the book here: http://www.talkitect.com/2010/05/book-green-dream-how-future-cities-can.html

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Green Dream: how future cities can outsmart nature
By The Why Factory: Winy Maas with Ulf Hackauf and Pirjo Haikola
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-13: 978-9056627416
Nai Publishers: www.naipublishers.nl


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