“I highly recommend to anyone who wants to be informed before making a design decision.”
“In three weeks I learned what otherwise would have taken me decades of experience in the field.”
“Easy read & informative… read it from cover to cover.”
Recently, a new client said to me, “Bill, I want the house to design for me to be the best house you’ve ever designed!” That’s a natural way for people to think about their “dream” house, and I hope all of my clients feel their house is the best house I’ve ever designed. But in reality, I think there is no such thing as “an architect’s house”. The needs and desires of every client are unique, so it follows that each house should necessarily be unique. Your house must be responsive to your individual desires and needs, and it must be a reflection of your personality and lifestyle. Your architect’s goal should not be to design his best house but to design the best house for you.” …
“The Magical, Mystical World of Feel. Psychologists tell us that our minds seek order out of chaos. We have an often unspoken need to connect the things we experience with a system that orders our world. This is the root of our impulse to line things up and balance things, often systematically. A successful design must have a concept. It is the skeleton of the architecture. The design concept can be obvious or sublime. It can be classic or radically innovative. Design concepts can employ grid schemes, pinwheel schemes, linear schemes, or hybrids of these. One concept is not necessarily superior to another. What is important, however, is that there is a concept. There must to be a “purposefulness” to the plan. Probably the most common of these organizing concepts in a house is the classic “four-square” plan. The primary rooms each occupy one of the four corners of a square plan. A central hallway and staircase provide the “connections” between the rooms and the upper and lower floors. Think of the classic Georgian-style house for an example” …
“Your Opinion Counts. When you look at the design that your architect creates, if it seems disjointed or possesses of two personalities, say so. Do your best to evaluate and critique the design as it develops. Discuss your concerns with your architect if things don’t seem just to be right. Tell him if you don’t understand parts of the design. He can explain thing again, draw additional sketches, and even build models, both cardboard and computer-generated ones. Do not let your silence be interpreted as approval unless you truly do approve. Remember, this is the subjective part. Trust your judgement. Trust your tastes. Even the best architect’s best idea may not fit with his other ideas or with all of your ideas. Don’t tell yourself, “My architect drew it, so it must be right.” Don’t be intimidated. Don’t be afraid to say, “I just don’t get it. Please explain it to me.” …
Easy read and informative! I checked this book out from the library and read it from cover to cover ...
Easy read and informative! I checked this book out from the library and read it from cover to cover. I am a professional engineer who is looking at designing my family’s next home. This was easy to follow and most importantly an interesting book to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who is planning to build a custom home. The insights will help you be an informed participant in the design process. The program concept seems like an easy way to make sure your top priorities are met, while sacrificing few of your lower priorities – there will always be tradeoffs!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be informed before making design decisions ...
This is a great book. It helped me to balance the design concerns and considerations that I had. It also introduced me to things that I hadn’t even thought of before. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be informed before making design decisions.
In three weeks I learned what otherwise would have taken me decades of experience in the field! ...
“Highly Useful Book!
It is no doubt the best book on architecture and building a house I have read! The information is very useful, my eyes have been opened to many things otherwise in a black box; it gives much more grip on the intangibles of good design, a good distribution of the house and so on, and so on. I have read the book 3 times now, and will keep using it as a guideline hopefully for many years to come. I build commercial mid level homes. Thank you very much William Hirsch and contributors for sharing this valuable information and experience with architects, builders and anyone interested in the subject! In three weeks I learned what otherwise would have taken me decades of experience in the field…!”
This book is the best of the bunch. The author explains concepts in common terms and focuses on practical matters ...
“If you only read one book on this subject, THIS should be the one,
I designed and built my first home over 25 years ago and am thrilled to get to do it again. I pulled out all the books I had on the subject and re-read them. I checked out every book the local library had. In total I’ve read about 45 books now. (I’m thorough!)
This book is the best of the bunch. The author explains concepts in common terms and focuses on practical matters, like what the various rooms will feel like to live in.
I found a minor typo in the book and sent it to the author, since he solicits comments. I received a swift, courteous, personal response and found out that the typo was corrected in a later edition.
This books gets my highest rating and a permanent spot in my new library, which will (of course) be perfect. LOL!”
Superb book for designers and home buyers. I bought the book and found a great amount of quality substantive advice. ...
“Superb book for designers and home buyers
I bought the book and found a great amount of quality substantive advice. Examples: “Each house should necessarily be unique.” Sounds obvious? Not to the builders and buyers of millions of look-alike houses.
The explanation of eclectic architecture, page 28, is the best I’ve seen anywhere, as is the clarification of architectural grammar. And, how many houses have we seen that violated his advice that “a well-designed house offers a clear and comfortable progression from public spaces to private?”
Many a McMansion would have benefited from his advice that “when you want to create a human scale you must avoid monumental forms and overwhelming heights,” page 37. Simply following his explanation of the use of the axis in house design might have rescued millions of homes from banal interior spaces. At the least, house designers might choose to follow his urging to “let one room join another at an angle to open up the intersection between the two,” page 55. When Mr. Hirsch says “try to separate passing fads from good, solid, timeless advice,” that is worth listening to, and applying to specific “my house” practice.
I believe that nearly all new houses would be better if buyers followed the substantive advice to “visit the work site and compliment the workers.” I considered that his advice to have zones of retreat, page 79, to be useful”.for nearly all who wish for a new home. Lighting is a weak point in many houses, but not in those whose designers follow the specific advice on pages 81-84.
I could go on, but learning from this superb book is a pleasure in itself, which I commend to all who are interested in good home design.”