Combinatory Urbanism: The Complex Behavior of Collective Form



THOM MAYNE’S COMBINATORY URBANISM: THE COMPLEX BEHAVIOR OF COLLECTIVE FORM EXPLORES NEW DIRECTIONS AND APPROACHES TO URBAN PLANNING AND DESIGN.

For the past forty years Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis, have been engaged with projects that exist in the hybrid space between architecture and urban planning. Against this backdrop, Thom Mayne’s new book Combinatory Urbanism: The Complex Behavior of Collective Form (Stray Dog Café, 2011) surveys 12 urban projects that range in scale from a 16-acre proposal for rebuilding the World Trade Center site after the 2001 terrorist attacks to a 52 thousand-acre redevelopment proposal for Post-Katrina New Orleans. This book and the proposals found within, posit an alternative to traditional end-state planning solutions, while attempting to not only illuminate but also explicate Mayne’s own work and critical processes. Combinatory Urbanism represents a departure from previous Morphosis publications. Both a manifesto on urbanism and a comprehensive presentation of Morphosis urban design projects, many of which have never before been published; this book fills a void in the world of architectural and urban design publications.

PURCHASE:
Bookstores: Hennessey + Ingalls Bookstore (Santa Monica, CA), William Stout Architectural Books (San Francisco, CA), Peter Miller Books (Seattle, WA)

Within the US and Canada: Amazon
International Orders: Stray Dog Café

Limited Edition Signed and Numbered by Thom Mayne ($120.00)
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Posted: May 3rd, 2011 / Last Edited: Apr 24th, 2012 Print

Description

  • REVIEWS
    "The book is nothing short of a tour de force and should be required reading for landscape urbanists and landscape architects. It's thesis strikes at the heart of what only a handful of us in the landscape world have been saying for about a decade: that the complexities of urban territories require new paradigms for thinking through systems and collective relationships beyond style, taste, individual ego, and only then will new form emerge that is smarter and reflexive and will lead us to a brighter future. Combinatory Urbanism delivers a bullseye on this message…Unlike most books of this kind, the beautiful and accessible graphics open the floodgates of ideas and breakdown the rote of daily practice. Students and general audiences of design and planning who spend time with this book will find it difficult to go back into their disciplinary silos."
    --Professor Alan Berger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies & Planning

    “Combinatory Urbanism delves into armatures and manouvers which is what an urban mechanism - a city - is made up of. Looking at structure, not style, Thom Mayne and the Morphosis crew actually inhabit style - if we redefine the word to suggest invention engaging with logic. In so doing, they create new categories of 'place'.”
    --Peter Cook

    “Thom Mayne has produced a powerful view of how an architect can re-envision the city. Combinatory Urbanism is not just an architect’s summary of his latest or greatest projects, but is a true challenge to all of us in the design community, to think differently, challenge the norms, and seek new ground in the form of open collaborations for re-envisioning the city.
    Thom has demonstrated remarkable leadership in the architectural design and planning community that has been generally far too silent in terms of how to direct and influence the growth of our cities and our regions. The design community must engage in the discussion and debate. Better cities come from many voices and many commitments.”

    --Philip Enquist, Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

    “This book is an antidote for all architects and planners who think that the new urbanism will emerge only through the deployment of historical precedent. Morphosis and Thom Mayne introduce the reader to a serious web of sharp-eyed city observations, rigorous urban research, and deeply contextual urban design programs and designs. Completed over the past decade, the twelve Morphosis projects illustrated in this book embrace the contemporary conditions of the city with optimism, projecting urban production that is simultaneously conscious infrastructure and human-centered architecture. Urban designers, planners, and architects take note. Morphosis well demonstrates that the contemporary city in all its guises deserves to benefit and prosper from the implementation of contemporary architecture.”
    --John Kaliski, Principal, Urban Studio

    “The Swiss build the Gottard tunnel; the Chinese move the Yellow River; the Koreans suggest connecting the Han and the Nakdong; and someone whispers re-build the Mississippi Delta. Combinatory Architecture is Combinatory Urbanism: colossal scale; sophisticated technique; re-imagined environments; re-invented sociologies. Ambitious. Complex. And simultaneously artful. Thom Mayne’s collective form points the circuitous way.”
    --Eric Moss, Eric Owen Moss Architects
    Director, Southern California Institute of Architecture

    “Scale is not a given, it must be invented. For too long designers have been limited by the binding restrictions of the scale we call Architecture and the scale we call Urbanism. What Mayne and Morphosis have accomplished in Combinatory Urbanism is not simply the design twelve large projects, but the invention of a new scale of design that colonizes the nebulous, unseen and largely unsuspected world that lies between buildings and cities. The projects in this book actively demonstrate the opportunities opened up by this scale, effectively recalibrating our efforts to a new design horizon. Not since Urbanisme or Learning from Las Vegas has the stakes for urban design been raised so quickly and so high.”
    --Albert Pope, Gus Sessions Wortham Professor
    Rice University School of Architecture

    “In his new book Combinatory Urbanism, Thom Mayne as a strategic architect shows how city planning as a discipline can be sustained for the future.
    In our complex society traditional urban planning in form of a master plan is outdated as the growth of our cities can no longer be predicted and planned. Thom Mayne re-introduces strategic paradigms into urban planning that contain more than architecture.
    In his projects new approaches in urban planning can be found through an articulated architecture that considers more than form. The 10 projects compiled in the publication show how a mix of different thought approaches produce complex solutions for a complex society. Not one language, but a multiplicity of languages that anticipate future possibilities make his solutions concrete, yet open ended and fascinating.

    --Wolf D. Prix / COOP HIMMELB(L)AU

    “Combinatory Urbanism is a perfect example of why Thom Mayne continues to stay on the cutting edge of architecture and urban planning. From Manzanares to Manhattan, this is a blueprint for moving beyond static architecture and engineering, to the next stage of ‘dynamic urbanism.’ Educators and students alike should take note of Mayne’s innovative approach to creating a more sustainable, just, economically productive society.”
    --Jeremy Rifkin, The Foundation on Economic Trends

    "A brilliantly imaginative book on urban planning and architecture byone of the world's greatest living architects based on a study of 12 of his projects.
    His architecture responds to the manipulation of surfaces, forms, ridges, and valleys that dynamically interact with the needs of the sites and programs."

    --Richard Rogers

    “The brilliance of Morphosis’ contribution to questions of the city is the insistence on the formal core of urban practice. Rather than seeking a series of generic solutions to problems that inevitably share common concerns – for environmental responsiveness, for social harmony, for contextual sensitivity – Morphosis always invests in a nuanced particular. The firm works for a responsible singularity, infusing and validating its own quintessence with deep research and the active pursuit of the best practices that must defend humane urbanism from the threats of homogeneity, inequality, and scarcity.”
    --Michael Sorkin

    “For some years, Thom Mayne and Morphosis have been shaking up the world of architecture with their dramatically original buildings, but now they take their innovative approach one big notch higher, integrating urban planning and architecture in a lucid new method of design. Combinatory Urbanism lays out the philosophy and techniques of the method, as well as giving many detailed examples from their growing number of large-scale projects. This has the potential to be a real game-changer.”
    --Lebbeus Woods

    Lebbeus Woods: "Talking with Thom Mayne"

    SAMPLE SPREADS:
    Selected Introductory Material + the NEW ORLEANS URBAN REDEVELOPMENT chapter (PDF 3MB).


  • REVIEWS
    "The book is nothing short of a tour de force and should be required reading for landscape urbanists and landscape architects. It's thesis strikes at the heart of what only a handful of us in the landscape world have been saying for about a decade: that the complexities of urban territories require new paradigms for thinking through systems and collective relationships beyond style, taste, individual ego, and only then will new form emerge that is smarter and reflexive and will lead us to a brighter future. Combinatory Urbanism delivers a bullseye on this message…Unlike most books of this kind, the beautiful and accessible graphics open the floodgates of ideas and breakdown the rote of daily practice. Students and general audiences of design and planning who spend time with this book will find it difficult to go back into their disciplinary silos."
    --Professor Alan Berger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Urban Studies & Planning

    “Combinatory Urbanism delves into armatures and manouvers which is what an urban mechanism - a city - is made up of. Looking at structure, not style, Thom Mayne and the Morphosis crew actually inhabit style - if we redefine the word to suggest invention engaging with logic. In so doing, they create new categories of 'place'.”
    --Peter Cook

    “Thom Mayne has produced a powerful view of how an architect can re-envision the city. Combinatory Urbanism is not just an architect’s summary of his latest or greatest projects, but is a true challenge to all of us in the design community, to think differently, challenge the norms, and seek new ground in the form of open collaborations for re-envisioning the city.
    Thom has demonstrated remarkable leadership in the architectural design and planning community that has been generally far too silent in terms of how to direct and influence the growth of our cities and our regions. The design community must engage in the discussion and debate. Better cities come from many voices and many commitments.”

    --Philip Enquist, Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

    “This book is an antidote for all architects and planners who think that the new urbanism will emerge only through the deployment of historical precedent. Morphosis and Thom Mayne introduce the reader to a serious web of sharp-eyed city observations, rigorous urban research, and deeply contextual urban design programs and designs. Completed over the past decade, the twelve Morphosis projects illustrated in this book embrace the contemporary conditions of the city with optimism, projecting urban production that is simultaneously conscious infrastructure and human-centered architecture. Urban designers, planners, and architects take note. Morphosis well demonstrates that the contemporary city in all its guises deserves to benefit and prosper from the implementation of contemporary architecture.”
    --John Kaliski, Principal, Urban Studio

    “The Swiss build the Gottard tunnel; the Chinese move the Yellow River; the Koreans suggest connecting the Han and the Nakdong; and someone whispers re-build the Mississippi Delta. Combinatory Architecture is Combinatory Urbanism: colossal scale; sophisticated technique; re-imagined environments; re-invented sociologies. Ambitious. Complex. And simultaneously artful. Thom Mayne’s collective form points the circuitous way.”
    --Eric Moss, Eric Owen Moss Architects
    Director, Southern California Institute of Architecture

    “Scale is not a given, it must be invented. For too long designers have been limited by the binding restrictions of the scale we call Architecture and the scale we call Urbanism. What Mayne and Morphosis have accomplished in Combinatory Urbanism is not simply the design twelve large projects, but the invention of a new scale of design that colonizes the nebulous, unseen and largely unsuspected world that lies between buildings and cities. The projects in this book actively demonstrate the opportunities opened up by this scale, effectively recalibrating our efforts to a new design horizon. Not since Urbanisme or Learning from Las Vegas has the stakes for urban design been raised so quickly and so high.”
    --Albert Pope, Gus Sessions Wortham Professor
    Rice University School of Architecture

    “In his new book Combinatory Urbanism, Thom Mayne as a strategic architect shows how city planning as a discipline can be sustained for the future.
    In our complex society traditional urban planning in form of a master plan is outdated as the growth of our cities can no longer be predicted and planned. Thom Mayne re-introduces strategic paradigms into urban planning that contain more than architecture.
    In his projects new approaches in urban planning can be found through an articulated architecture that considers more than form. The 10 projects compiled in the publication show how a mix of different thought approaches produce complex solutions for a complex society. Not one language, but a multiplicity of languages that anticipate future possibilities make his solutions concrete, yet open ended and fascinating.

    --Wolf D. Prix / COOP HIMMELB(L)AU

    “Combinatory Urbanism is a perfect example of why Thom Mayne continues to stay on the cutting edge of architecture and urban planning. From Manzanares to Manhattan, this is a blueprint for moving beyond static architecture and engineering, to the next stage of ‘dynamic urbanism.’ Educators and students alike should take note of Mayne’s innovative approach to creating a more sustainable, just, economically productive society.”
    --Jeremy Rifkin, The Foundation on Economic Trends

    "A brilliantly imaginative book on urban planning and architecture byone of the world's greatest living architects based on a study of 12 of his projects.
    His architecture responds to the manipulation of surfaces, forms, ridges, and valleys that dynamically interact with the needs of the sites and programs."

    --Richard Rogers

    “The brilliance of Morphosis’ contribution to questions of the city is the insistence on the formal core of urban practice. Rather than seeking a series of generic solutions to problems that inevitably share common concerns – for environmental responsiveness, for social harmony, for contextual sensitivity – Morphosis always invests in a nuanced particular. The firm works for a responsible singularity, infusing and validating its own quintessence with deep research and the active pursuit of the best practices that must defend humane urbanism from the threats of homogeneity, inequality, and scarcity.”
    --Michael Sorkin

    “For some years, Thom Mayne and Morphosis have been shaking up the world of architecture with their dramatically original buildings, but now they take their innovative approach one big notch higher, integrating urban planning and architecture in a lucid new method of design. Combinatory Urbanism lays out the philosophy and techniques of the method, as well as giving many detailed examples from their growing number of large-scale projects. This has the potential to be a real game-changer.”
    --Lebbeus Woods

    Lebbeus Woods: "Talking with Thom Mayne"

    SAMPLE SPREADS:
    Selected Introductory Material + the NEW ORLEANS URBAN REDEVELOPMENT chapter (PDF 3MB).


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2011
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