Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stewart Brand on Buildings

"The right information in the right place just changes your life."~Stewart Brand
One of the first resources that gave me the feeling of being able to learn or do anything was The Whole Earth Catalog and its attendant magazines, Co-Evolution Quarterly and Whole Earth Review. To read these publications 30 or 40 years ago was like web surfing through paper or wandering through the world's most interesting library: they contained subjects you wouldn't have known you were interested in until you came across a paragraph written by a big-hearted enthusiast, perhaps reviewing a book or offering the address of a supplier.
The man behind the Whole Earth franchise was Stewart Brand. Yesterday Jane at Sugru wrote about a book and television series Brand did around 15 years ago called How Buildings Learn. Her blog post is here.

I love her point that buildings are something people commonly change and customize, even if these same people would not consider doing the same to other objects.

Our family is watching this series together, enjoying Brand's questions about what makes a building work and what changes are made as occupants' families or businesses evolve. Try asking these same questions of everything else in your life and see where they lead.

How Buildings Learn, Episode 1 "Flow"

How Buildings Learn, Episode 2 "The Low Road"

How Buildings Learn, Episode 3 "Built For Change"

How Buildings Learn, Episode 4 "Unreal Estate"

How Buildings Learn, Episode 5 "The Romance of Maintenance"

How Buildings Learn, Episode 6 "Shearing Layers"

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