11/08/2007
          Design Thinking Peter G. Rowe
          Review By Mario Cipresso

        • I read this book as a precursor to a lecture I was giving to a group of undergraduate architecture students on 'design thinking'. At this point you may be asking yourself, "what is design thinking"? Exactly. My understanding had more to do with how we identify and balance the multitude of issues that surround any architectural or urban design problem. I see it as our ability to distill from all the forces and influences on a site, the project's essence. Rowe sees it in a slightly different manner; a very scientific one. Which in this publication, for me at least, made for a somewhat dry read. There are stretches of scientific analysis of human problem solving skills that I imagine many will find fascinating. However, it seems as architects we would be interested in understanding in a more tangible way, what informs our intuitive decisions related to site, place, space, movement, program, structure, etc.

          Additionally, I would have liked to see the design and thought processes of the three initial case studies investigated more thoroughly. They were largely abandoned after their introduction with just a few references back to those examples in the text.

          The writing can be a bit verbose at times and when blended with the frequent scientific jargon, a bit taxing. At times the book appears to be collecting and synthesizing all critical writing completed on the topic over the last century, frequently quoting and referencing other works. This is a serious read and if you approach it with the right mindset, you will find some real gems and well constructed thoughts.

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