Archive for the ‘books’ tag

AMNP Reviews: The Function of Form


Farshid Moussavi and ACTAR have released the first follow-up to 2006’s hugely popular The Function of Ornament,

Farshid Moussavi [now formerly of FOA], Harvard’s GSD, and Actar have responded to the widespread success of 2006’s The Function of Ornament – a self-described ” graphic guide to ornaments in the twentieth century” – with a second volume entitled The Function of Form. Over two and a half times the size of The Function of Ornament, in FOF Moussavi sets out to investigate the complex relationship established between form and function in modern / contemporary design – using the book’s introduction to both discuss various perceived historical relationships between form and function, and then to [essentially] argue that the actual relationship between form and function in architecture is in conflict with the dualistic view of modernism in the 20th century.

[Take that, Mies.]


The vast majority of the book is then organized into chapters by material/structural system – with each chapter investigating the variations possible within each system. This is achieved by first identifying the ‘base units’ of the system to be explored, and then tessellating those base units in the horizontal, vertical, and curved directions. For instance, the first chapter looks at grids and frames – establishing the base unit of one-way frames as ‘composed of a rectangular grid of columns supporting a pair of primary, parallel beams along the column lines which in turn support secondary beams that span between them at much closer intervals than the centers of the columns’. This ‘base unit’ is then tessellated in the 3 directions, creating various permutations of the one-way frame – which are further organized by spatial affect.

S.R. Crown Hall at IIT by Mies is the first example given in the book, representing a one-way frame tessellated horizontally – and having the spatial affects of ‘openness, lightness, freedom, horizontality, and specularity’.


The book goes on to investigate hundreds of variations of systems and their base units – providing a unique view of the relationship of form and spatial sensations and affects. FOF takes an in-depth look at the physical and atmospheric affects of each system, investigating the sometimes subtle differences in affects produced. The forms produced by each tessellated base unit are given a 2-page spread, with a simple 3d image meant to convey the spatial affects of the particular system on the left page – and a detailed description of the various components, including plan and axonometric drawings, on the right page.


A must-have for any designer, The Function of Form makes for a tremendous resource as a reference when investigating possible forms/structural systems for a given project – allowing readers to quickly compare spatial quality and affects of various systems, while also providing reasonably in-depth explanations as to how these qualities are achieved by the different systems.


The Function of Form, by Farshid Moussavi – edited with Daniel Lopez, Garrick Ambrose, Ben Fortunato, Ryan Ludwig, and Ahmadreza Schricker
Published by Actar and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Available from for $26.37, here.

::Review copy of The Function of Form provided by Actar::

Posted: December 17th, 2009
at 11:40pm by orangemenace

Tagged with ,

Categories: architecture,books

Comments: 1 comment

Ninja Math Contest


In an attempt to get AMNP’s Ninja Arithmetic feature up and running again, I’m announcing another book giveaway opportunity for readers. Submit a Ninja Arithmetic of your creation by Monday September 7th and you will be entered to win a copy of Installations by Architects : Experiments in Building and Design by Sarah Bonnemaison and Ronit Eisenbach. From the publisher, PA Press:

The first survey of its kind,Installations by Architects features fifty of the most significant projects from the last twenty-five years by today’s most exciting architects, including Anderson Anderson, Philip Beesley, Diller + Scofidio, John Hejduk, Dan Hoffman, and Kuth/Ranieri Architects. Projects are grouped in critical areas of discussion under the themes of tectonics, body, nature, memory, and public space. Each project is supplemented by interviews with the project architects and the discussions of critics and theorists situated within a larger intellectual context. There is no doubt that installations will continue to play a critical role in the practice of architecture. Installations by Architects aims to contribute to the role of installations in sharpening our understanding of the built environment.

A winner will be randomly selected by a lottery system, with entrants names counted once for each individual Ninja Arithmetic submitted [so submitting multiple ninja maths will increase your odds]. The only guidelines for submissions is that images are 492 pixels wide at 72 pixels/inch, and have a black background. If there are 20 or more entrants, I will choose an additional prize [another book] for ‘second place’. Submissions should be emailed to

The winning submission will be displayed on AMNP on Wednesday, September 16th – with the other submissions being featured over the following weeks. If you would not like your submission displayed on AMNP if you do not win, please make note of this in your email.

Check out the Ninja Arithmetic archive for inspiration – and good luck!

Posted: August 26th, 2009
at 12:00pm by orangemenace

Tagged with , ,

Categories: architecture,books,competitions,ninja arithmetic

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