BOOKS


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The Designer’s Eye: Problem-Solving in Architectural Design (New York: W.W. Norton, 2002). 
Translation: Chinese (2007). Order here.


REVIEWS

"Brolin calls the book “an exercise in the visual craft of design,” and he states as his thesis that “visual choices have visual consequences.” But that emphasis on the visual sells his idea short-for, as he shows, architectural effects are visual for only an instant, just long enough to translate into limbic cues. The book is a primer for avoiding unintended results, for opening eyes to the power of simple moves, for letting go of words. It’s about regaining control of architecture as a medium. The cumulative effect is to demonstrate that-relativists be damned-there is an intrinsic logic linking form to feeling to meaning in the perception of architecture. (And if that is true, my God, why are we wasting our time with stunts and lies?) This grand digression that at its end has given us Eisenman’s dance of death was born from frustration with that limited role. Architecture would strut and preen, its revolutionaries hoped; it would rival philosophy and science and art; it would leave those old rigors unplumbed and set out to find new truths. It hasn’t worked out that way…

“Just what are these neglected architectural basics? I always cast around and return to gravity and materials and light (and programs and clients and money and such). In a new book, The Designers Eye (W. W. Norton, 2002), Brent Brolin has found many more, all hidden in plain sight…
“Someone remind me: are we still in a fashion-moment when it’s uncool to control effects? If so, Brolin’s book is the antidote. It is a tool for recognizing and managing that trickiest and most critical of architectural phenomena, the repercussions of detail. …Can a small alteration—a cantilever versus a pier, say—change the feel of building so drastically that it means something new? It looks that way here.” 

Phillip Nobel
Metropolis, December, 2002