How to read like an architect.


Okay, so we’ve had two recent discussions concerning how architects use clothing and cars to cultivate an image. I thought it might be interesting if we extended the same general idea to books. What kind of library do you have, or should you have, as an architect? This could be a personal library, the library at your firm, and/or the library of the firm where you work.

Sep 12, 14 11:56 am

i think your firm libraries will often be material libraries arranged by csi number.  the library in my office does not look like the one you've pictured.  it's shoved in the back next to the server and phone board, and includes storage for paper and coke.

the internet has changed material libraries in a good way.  sometimes you still need samples of course, and some of the reference materials, but the broad selection the internet can offer that a firm library can't is a great step forward for our profession.

Sep 12, 14 12:23 pm

I think libraries say a lot about an architect and their ideas on design and history in general.  Like anything, it can be used to pose or give a false impression, but when I see an ample library, it makes a positive impression.  Like the architect actually looks at previous examples to help inform their problem solving process.

Sep 12, 14 1:09 pm
Non Sequitur

Interesting topic. I'd like to play too.

Outside of a few architectural theory books, my library consists mostly of science books. Here are the ones I can recall at the moment:


  • S, M, L, XL
  • Content
  • Mutations
  • Delirious NY

Corbusier's Towards a New Architecture

Oscar Niemeyer's The Curves of Time


Stanford Kwinter's Far from Equilibrium

De Wolfe's Civilia: The End of the Sub-Urban Man (note: my most prized book)

Deyan Sudjic's The Endless City & Living in the Endless City

add to these about 2 dozen books by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Neil DeGrase Tyson, JG Ballard, Jarred Diamond, Lawrence Krauss, Micheal Shermer, Sam Harris and Stephen Hawking to complete the library.

Sep 12, 14 2:50 pm

I have a lot of books in hard-copy and in PDF format. I don't retain so many books on theories so much. The reason and rationale is that someone else's personal design preferences doesn't serve me as much. I have them, mosty as left over from architecture history courses. However, I often retain my books for reference. I have building codes, books useful for architecture and engineering subject matter, historic preservation and so forth. 

Sep 12, 14 3:00 pm
Non Sequitur

RBAA, I am pretty sure we all have construction, code and system references in our libraries. I think the point here is too look for other books that might not be your standard fare.

Sep 12, 14 3:10 pm

That's true. I have tons of books but hey, I have a library that is just about 2-3 blocks away from me. I have books from my computer field days. I have books from my other academic studies as well.

I have a library. My main library of books that I have actively with me are books used for my work. For research, I have the city library, the community college library, the heritage museum and many other resources if I don't have them. 

I have an extensive library in the codes, construction, systems references, etc. I do also have a library of books from other subject matters. For architectural reference, I have the architecture around me as a reference. I have a vast array of pdf. I try to retain books that are useful to me in day to day work. Yes, I do have books on theory and so forth. 

I have a good array of resources in my personal collection. I just don't have the books 'inventoried' in a manner to write down at the moment. 

Sep 12, 14 3:30 pm

I have a confession to make – I’m dyslexic and can not read or spell. In my whole life I have never read a book – can’t. It used to be an absolute secret, not even my kids knew but now that its over I’m not ashamed at all…I wish I could show you all that I accomplished - your mouth would drop open and you’d say “how in the hell did you do that – not being able to read”. But I can read a little but only with my index finger and I have to reread things over and over which with the stuff we need to read like codes and such my form of reading actually was an advantage. I also get numbers mixed-up they get reversed somehow, sometimes. The advent of the computer saved me. Before I had trouble communicating my thoughts and ideas and just prayed for a way/method that I could get what was in my mind out. Somehow when I type it all flows, what a relief!

Of course we had office library’s and in the early days they were in the conference room for show…but a great place for everybody to retreat and study quietly. In the last years the library went into the back room with books spread around the office for quicker reference. It’s funny, I suppose because of my problem I had a huge personal library filled mostly with monographs and how-to architectural books (solar etc.) but just recently with a remodeling and I had to purge through it and most of it went to the dump. My son is an architect and I pulled out the best and when he came over and I presented it to him for selection - he just looked at me and only took a few…I suppose just out of respect. I just loved my books and would pour over them the best I could but today when Record comes I don’t even crack the cover – just lost the juice.

With everything now online it’s great but it’s harder for me to read - can’t hold my finger up…..thinking of getting a tablet that will work more like a book. When I do find something to delve into I do still order the book…I discovered a book by SHoP and I’m ordering it today and working on a thread to discuss it. I won’t be able to read it all but will be able to somehow glean what I need. Being dyslexic is a terrible handicap and I suffered greatly, but don’t feel sorry - many billionaires (I’m not a billionaire) in this country are dyslexic….it can be an accelerant and it was somehow for me.

Sep 12, 14 4:51 pm

that isn't so bad for an architect.  let's be honest, we're only looking at the pictures.

have you used any of the text to speech software to help, or is that how you follow the forums here?  are you using something like dragon to type your responses?  from what i've seen, dragon is pretty good and quite helpful for a lot of people, but you can usually tell because it's still a bit off.  your posts seem too well written for any of the text-to-type programs i know of (though i don't follow them that close).

i know google has a guy working on helping develop accessibility software for blind people.  some of that might might be helpful in a way.

Sep 12, 14 5:12 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Lets count the people that own S, M, X, the following within the last few weeks - The Oglethorpe Plan by Thomas D. Wilson, Shopping in Jail by Douglas Coupland, Three Drops of Blood by Sedaq Hedeyat, Log 31, parts of Karl Marx's History: A Defense by G. A. Cohen........notable in the last year - On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, Blind Owl by Sedeq Hedeyat, Architectural Theory: 1968-2009 Constructing a New Agenda edited by Krista Sykes......

Sep 12, 14 5:25 pm
Carerra I've heard that Eliel Saarinen was severely dyslexic.

The firm I used to work for, AOS, had an amazing physical library in the office, a comfortable bookshelf-lined space that was available to just sit and read or as an alternate small conference room. Filled to bulging with monographs, history books, technical books, magazines, everything. It was a great resource for everyone in the firm.
Sep 12, 14 5:46 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Beyond the Outsider by Colin could forget that read from a few months ago. It quickly summarized my half ass reads of Merleau Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception and Edmund Husserl's The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (like 10th try at that bastard)....this all coincided with me reading Columbia University recent student journal - Blind Leading the Blind...phenomenonology vs parametricism. Interviews with wigley, holl, frampton, and many many more...

Sep 12, 14 5:48 pm

The subject line is about reading, but the post emphasizes collecting books.  Related, but far from the same things.  And thanks for sharing your story, Carrera.  It's ironic that yours seems to be the first post to actually talk about reading, and managing your disability over time.  Kudos to you for your accomplishments.

How people read  and retain is really interesting.  Print, or pdfs?  Highlighting, or leave pages pristine?  Note-taking, or memory-reliant?   One thing I've learned in teaching is how difficult it is to find sources that explain something well.  Yes, there's a boatload out there on this or that topic.. but what book or article does the best job, so I can spare the students (those who actually bother to read) unhelpful detours to arrive at a better understanding more quickly?  It's a challenge.

Sep 12, 14 6:33 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Library, what is that? haha.  Citizen have you ever had to remind your students what a library is and where it is?

Quondam those old books look really interesting, especially the drawings.  I think you'll be able to read through Blind Owl in one or two sittings - it's quite the state of mind...assuming Costello translation (that's the popular one).  Colin Wilson's sequel to the "The Outsider" is easy philosophy to digest and really more observant than conclusive - like Koolhaas.  You'll probably put it down once he is done observing - I find that's when S, M, X, XL is the best - trying to get started.

Sep 12, 14 6:49 pm

True, Quondam.  But I've seen several threads over the years about books and collections of them.  And I enjoy the topic, too.  

But how people read, and where, and when, is interesting as well.  This is just a plug for that discussion.

Sep 12, 14 7:01 pm

Yes, ODN, I have.  

I've put up a slide with a photo of the main library.  "You all recognize this building... it's where the coffee house and copy room are located.  Fun fact: did you know it's also filled with these things called books?"  We all laugh (me, through a few tears). 

But even that description is changing.  Lots of the books are being sent off site to make room for study areas and work stations.  More and more books need to be paged, which only decreases the chances of being seen, much less read, by younger students.

Sep 12, 14 7:11 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Quondam speaking of scanning old books - I just received a few days ago in the mail "The villas of the ancients illustrated" by Robert Castell.  This publication landed him in debt, in prison, and ultimately led to death.  Inspiring James Oglethorpe to do something about prison conditions.   A digitized book out of print preserved....Google Books.

By the way, the Georgia Historical Quarterly, Spring 1989, Rodney M. Baine essay notes that in Oglethorpe's assistance to Castell's widow with regard to lawsuits against the prison warden he most likely was given or leant by Castell's widow the unfinished manuscript of Robert Castell's translation of Vitruvius - never published.  Oglethorpe had also two copies of "The villas of the ancients illustrated" (according to book sale).

 Is that John Hejduk's - Pewter Wings (at bottom)

Sep 12, 14 7:59 pm

Thanks everyone for your contributions so far, especially you Carrera. I have a cousin with dyslexia and I wish he would view it as you do: something to be overcome, instead of something to be overcome by.

I think I should preface my contribution by making it clear that I don’t yet have office experience, so my personal library is more like a student’s in character (also meaning that I can’t answer my own question because I’m not yet an architect). Most of my books are architecture or design books, with a strong focus on single-firm or single-building monographs and theory. When learning about a new firm, I prefer to read a thorough study of one building by that firm. I have a few art and business books because I have two-year degrees in those fields. I also have books on culture, vernacular building, fiction, and philosophy.

Because I’ve been weeding my personal library, I’ve been rereading a great deal. I often take notes when I read and then go back and scan any pages that I’ve noted as interesting to aid retention. I’m trying not to keep books I don’t enjoy enough to own because I don’t want to store them and because it’s more sustainable to pass those books on to someone else. For storage I use an antique pie safe that my paternal grandmother left me, meaning that none of my books are on display. I have a comfortable chair next to it where I sometimes read and nap.

Sep 12, 14 8:33 pm

Donna, Yes, Saarinen was dyslexic and so was Richard Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Harry Belafonte, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Ansel Adams, Tommy Hilfiiger, Poblo Picasso, Andy Worhol, Richard Bransen, Henry Ford, William Hewlett, Ted Turner and Steven Spielberg….the list seems endless! I also had OCD and I wonder if this too is a common thread….handicaps like this some how are gasoline to the campfire, it was for me. You would commonly think that someone who couldn’t read would end up in a gas station somewhere but the lack of those abilities somehow doesn’t stifle dreams and the drive to succeed and to be somebody. My firm won 150 design awards, 4 were National AIA Awards…while it was a team effort, how in the hell does that happen with a guy that can’t read? I’ll tell you how – at 8 years old I had a dream of being an architect and I let nothing stop me in my dream. I can’t tell you how many people told me that it was “impossible” but it never stopped me. When I ran into an obstacle, and there were many, I would climb over the obstacle and proceed on to my goal. I shy away from telling of my accomplishments but I was a millionaire at 30 and I attribute that to drive and the fear of failure. With or without a handicap I tell people to never, ever, ever give up on anything they do.

I don’t need anything complicated to communicate; dyslexicia is simply a confusion of the words I read and comprehension of a sentence. If I read it probably at least twice I get it. I simply write everything in Word then cut-and-paste; it takes me sometimes an hour to get it right and reading the stuff is usually only a sentence or a paragraph so it isn’t that hard.

I’m now wondering if I should have revealed this but Archinect says that for every post written there are 850 non-posters that read and even if I only reach one person with this it will be worth it. I don’t care if it is a diagnosed condition; even if you have a math deficiency don’t ever let it deter you from your dream. Architecture is based on passion and don’t let the mechanics involved get in your way of your passion.

Sep 12, 14 8:45 pm

Carrera, my wife is dyslexic and she has more books than I. ---- a few of my favorites that relate to architecture, but are not architecture books per se... ---- Earth Moves by Bernhard Cache. A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History by Manuel DeLanda. A New Philosiphy of Society, also by DeLanda. Liebniz and the Baroque, Felix Guattari. ---- Currently reading Flattening the Earth by John Snyder. It is all about the history of map projections and cartography. I am following along and re-creating the projections he describes- using drawing tools (compass, ruler, divider) to re-create the early ones, and Mathematica to re-create the post-calculus projections. it has been really interesting. ---- I always recommend that students buy and read The Atlas of Novel Tectonics by ReiserUmemoto. ---- ---- sorry for the lack of line breaks. it always happens on my iphone.

Sep 12, 14 11:21 pm

I started getting up in the middle of the night, can't always sleep, so I read or listen to audio books. I read every night before bed and at times throughout the day. Lately, it has been biology, history, and children's books in foreign languages. I never read about architecture, just look at pictures in those books. Although I've started many architecture books with words, have finished very few, I rarely get past chapter 3 before I feel like I'm lost in the woods, going in circles. I'm probably hyperlexic, the other end of the spectrum of dyslexic. 

Sep 13, 14 5:29 am

... I married an English minor, between the two of us we have at least 9 full bookcases. Only 3/5 of one is architecture books. 

Librivox - free audio books that are in the public domain, I've listened to many. Good for road trips.

Sep 13, 14 5:45 am
Olaf Design Ninja_

nice link Margoak.

Sep 13, 14 4:03 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Via margoak's link Diller and Scofidio practically have same reading list. Many have Towards a New Architecure and DeleuZe shows up a lot. And Denise Scott Brown - long long list.

Sep 13, 14 4:36 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

archanonymous  nice list...and I thought only the Samsung wouldn't allow line breaks.

Earth Moves showed up in dream once 12 years after reading it, so I re-read it.  I had not read Deleuze when I read Earth Moves the first time, but it sure as hell sounded like Deleuze the second reading after knocking out Thousand Plateaus.

here is the image from the dream

Dream 20120114

Sep 13, 14 4:45 pm

I have about 6000 thousand books, maybe 1500 architecture which i dont read anymore. Most of what I read these days is philosophy and mysteries (I like Simenon's Maigret). I read diferently than most people, I taught myself how to read as a child and I scan like a photocopier, memorizing the text.. About 1500 words a minute, the time it takes to slowly turn a page. Sometimjes I can read the book back in my sleep. . As a student at SCI-Arc i spent one summer reading every book in the school library. About two months. I know its weird but everyone who knows me knows about mky reading. BTW I am aslo dyslexic.and I dont know my left from my right..


Sep 13, 14 4:46 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

It appears reading like an Architect is a condition. 

Carrera it's called personality in my world, you're dyslexic and OCD, apparently good qualities for a 30 year old millionaire architect.  This is a condition we have to treat?

Eric Chavkin I am interested in this reading back in your sleep.  I know the answer to this question: why don't you rule the world with this super human skill?

Every time I try this, reading in my dreams, when I zoom in on a word I wake-up.  Based on your reading method Eric it does not appear you zoom-in?  Inception

Eric it sounds very eidetic to me - what you are doing; like Good Will Hunting or  is that speed reading?

I only managed to read like you suggest once in undergrad with Vitruvius because you only had 2 hours to check-out the book.  I didn't have the money to photo copy so I did as you noted, copied the pages in my mind quickly.  It was a very different experience and I swear I burned a couple thousand calories - was hungry thereafter.

With your reading method I am interested in your reading of philosophy.  The first time I read Leibniz it would take me about 10 minutes per page because I was getting into his mind and the small print put lots of words on a page....haha

Eric, do you get into people's minds or do you understand their expressed data as you perceive it?

I have serious doubts about your reading method or speed readers in general, maybe because I'm an idiot... but I always wanted to test a reader like you with real material like Philosophy. A story is a story, but mind bending shit is something else.

I guess my question is, if you understood those 6000 books why aren't you the smartest man in the world?  Or is understanding not reading?

Tammuz once objected to my reading as NOT research, so I'm thinking reading means different things to different people?

Sep 14, 14 12:46 am
eric chavkin

There are alot of stories about my reading. One time a reporter was skepical about my claim and tested me by my reading a couple pages of the LA Times. After about 45 seconds he asked me how many votes some canidate got. (14, 385 sticks out). It was a menory trick, thats all, but it blew his mind. Never ever saw anything like that he said.

I taught my brother how to read like me and he became the fastest reader in California, 50,000 words a minute. (this done on computer) They put my brother on stage, gave him a few seconds to read a two page essay and he took questions from the audience. He missed who was he author of the article. 9 of 10 not bad. My brother  is now one of the highest paid law proffesors in the state, teaching bar prep.

My stagegy for reading non-fiction is backwards. I first read the index, then the bibliography, the footnotes and last the text. I do this to 'encircle'  the text, anticipate it  whiie i read.

The speed of the reading for me is not an issue. It does get in the way of poetry, but then I slow it down so i can heard my inner voice.

The sleep reading is actually seeing the book pages and reading from it. I dont , cant, do that very much anymore. I am getting older.

At this moment  I am reading ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDIVAL EUROPE Henri Pirenne (well written);AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENTIsiah Berlin, the  sections and commentary on Locke and Hume; CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI Carlo Levi ( saw the film, halfway thru it)


that it

Sep 14, 14 1:49 am
boy in a well

yes, but can you hear the author's inner voice?

had to ask....

Sep 14, 14 2:11 am
Olaf Design Ninja_

Eric - many thanks - got it. so it's data absorption at a very high rate which means you're factually accurate nearly all the time as your brother's stat would prove, especially useful in law.

Your poetry point proves what I have always have thought - thank again.

I consider the purpose of reading is to be in the mind of the writer, and this takes time on good shit.  Click bate and TMZ are minds I don't want to enter.

In short, I feared there were people out there that could read Jim Morrison in 5 minutes and understand him ... I fear this because, if you could do that, what the hell are you doing with your life?  and I who only dream of being that level one day feel mighty inadequate.

here I am turning 36 drinking after a long day of college football still wondering how did that man Jim Morrison say what he said and disappear at 27?

Eric for the dreams I recommend trying some Red Bull or energy drink with B12 and B6 prior to sleeping and your dream reading should come back - no joke - assuming you fall asleep.  If falling asleep is an issue have a few good Belgium beers after the Red bulls.

Sep 14, 14 2:17 am

Eric, that is amazing, very impressive.  

Speaking of poetry, I'm currently in an online Modern Amercian Poetry class at UPenn if anyone wants to join me, it is enlightening, free, easy, and it just started last week so you can easily catch up. 

Sep 14, 14 10:03 am

Eric, With respect, dyslexia is a learning disability that can hinder a persons ability to read, spell, and sometimes speak and can be involved with number arrangement. What you have is “Left and right confusion” and doctors are in the dark about it. It has to do with brain lateralization and is not dyslexia.

I envy your ability to read so fast, my wife reads that way and goes though almost a book every night. What a wonderful thing to be able to do. My mom is 94 and is almost blind but listens to books-on-tape…but I’ve tried it and can’t find subjects on architecture which is my main interest.

I have to ask, don’t you think “speed reading” hinders your ability to read building codes and such, I’ve found that every word counts and your ability to scan I would think is a handicap in that regard.

Sep 14, 14 10:48 am
eric chavkin

Carrera> thanks. Besides having problems with left/right I invert the last digits of numbers, especuially phone numbers. In grade schol I would write THE as TEH and AND as ADN. I aslo cannot name smells. I also confuse the names of common objects.

That said my IQ is off the charts, especilally pattern recognition. Yep like the movie. So almost everything for me in the design field  is recognizing patterns, naming them, and discussing similiar patterns. I have been doing this for 30 plus years. This isi how I compensate for being fucked up.

'building codes? Yeah you can zip thru that and get the overall logic/ feel for where things are in the codes. Then I re-read to comprehend. It takes different types of memory to do this. The initail 'scan' stays in your brain about 10 min and if I recall the image it stays in me. It goes fro RAS to memory. I can still 'picture' the code for a projection booth I designed 26 years ago.

I dont really think this is unusual. I am just focased on how my brain works. Yes B-12 produces color in dreams. I like coffee.


Sep 14, 14 12:33 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

I would be interested in the difference if any between Carrera's design process and Eric's? Yes B12, the B6 i think is for metabolism.

Sep 14, 14 1:12 pm

Eric, do you read the shapes of the words?

When I read, sometimes I attach meaning to the shapes of the words, like skeleton is a meaningful shape, and bubble. It could be that you have enhanced vision and mapping from having more retinal cells and/or efficient neural links. 

I would like to know more about your reading process if you care to share. You said you taught your brother how to read that way, what did you teach him?

Sep 14, 14 1:31 pm

Olaf, I can’t imagine many straight lines bouncing around in Eric’s brain, but we’ll see. For me its all straight lines and right angles, I don’t think I’ve ever designed something at an angle unless someone made me do it. The Dyslexia is read & spell and doesn’t affect design – but it might, no way to tell. The OCD does affect in the sense that when I get into something I’m ferocious and never let go – I might count fire extinguishers 5+ times before I let go.

My design process is based on SOM’s Field Theory where I base everything off a grid….its those straight lines and right angles at work. Everything has to be super organized – Ducks-In-A-Row. Some of my grids are angled but I have to turn the paper around so everything appears to be right angled and when I’m done I turn the paper back and it’s Voila!

Sep 14, 14 2:33 pm
chatter of clouds

Israeli forces detain 174 Palestinians in last week alone

Published today (updated) 14/09/2014 18:33



RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces have detained 174 Palestinians across the West Bank during the second week of September alone, a Palestinian rights group said Sunday.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society said in a statement that Israeli troops detained the largest number of Palestinians in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, where 69 people were taken in a arrest raids.

The Hebron district came second, with 40 Palestinians detained.

Seventeen were arrested in Ramallah, 12 in Bethlehem, ten in Jerusalem, five in Tulkarem, four in Nablus, and four in Qalqiliya, the statement added.

Thirteen Palestinians were detained in Tubas, Salfit, and Jericho, it added.

In the first week of September, 127 Palestinians were detained.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons, including around 2,000 detained during Israeli arrest campaigns over the last three months alone.

Sep 14, 14 2:42 pm
eric chavkin

tint> No I don't attach meanings to the 'shapes' of text. e.e. cummings does that, and concrete poetry. Although correspondence of text shape and meaning is a nice variationn of Omnipoetica. Is yours a synthesia, like colors seen along with sounds.

As for neural links I know mine are dense. I take one idea and branch-off twenty directions, circling around the 'idea' connecting aspects all different ways. Drives people crazy. "what's the point?" I reply this is the point.

Reading technique. people read the same words maybe five times. They see it, (the scan); they 'think' it; 'hear' it silently; say it to themeselves and often times outload. The game is to get to the level of just seeing the text or thinking it. The brain is autiomatically recording what are eyes see. Every one or two minutes I think of what I just rad especially if I am not following. But it is fast. Fiction goes about as fast as I can turn a page. and I get into the rythmn of the prose. Dialog is quick.

Non fiction takes concentration of course, especually philosophy.

The method of developing super speed reading on is this: Start with sentances, then go to paragraphs then pages. decrease time on the screen  to almost a flash. and test comprehension. Took six months to get to be the fastest reader in California with 90%comprehension. Insane. It was an experimental program.

BTW my eyesight stinks. Nearsighted with stigmatism.

Sep 14, 14 2:49 pm
chatter of clouds

Wooops....apologies to you lot. My post was not meant to go here. I had two or three archinect windows open...reading this one, scrolled down, left it, came back to what i though was another thread and pasted it here accidentally. Ironic to think that you're all talking about dyslexia :)

Sep 14, 14 4:37 pm

Eric, by enhanced vision I misspoke, I didn't mean focus ability, I meant perhaps more dense cells on your retina and/or strong or direct connection of these cells to the brain because that is what could give good visual mapping ability like you describe - more cells, more wiring, better wiring. Nearsightedness and astigmatism has to do with focusing the light - the cornea and lens -which is something different. I am not an expert but I help teach dyslexic students, so am interested. I feel I could read like how you describe but not for long as it would start to hurt my eyes and brain.

Sep 14, 14 5:16 pm
eric chavkin

tint> I dont think it is the retina. It's the brain. My retina are so screwed up that I am almost blind. I see thru a mottled web now with fireworks going off all the time: yellow, red but mostly blue colors poping in and out.. Also i have floaters which are spots in my vision field.

I believe that my accerlerated reading ability has more to do with having read alot of books, understanding the construction of the argument(s) and text, and adapting my pace of rading to the writers style.

I guess that's why I am more atteacted to avant-garde styles of writing. If I havent seen it before I get interestd.

But the key I feel is that having alot of previous knowledge helps to read and understand new stuff.

Sep 14, 14 6:41 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Random note my girls are bouncing around screaming California( maddie is 6 and mickey is 3)...Eric I would still like to hear your process for design. Carerra put his up.

Sep 14, 14 7:02 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Tammuz I want you to understand I may be drunk off my ass watching football while listening to Johnny Cash... but you keep searching your name on archinect and posting your ignorant bull shit as you shit on Palenstinians and Isrealites at the same time. Google Martin Luther, do some real research and get back to us when you have acquainted yourself to the 21st century. Then call up your buddy Orhan and let him know all of us have read your shit back in the day and we are ready for peace. Love Chris psalm 91 fan of jesus aethiest...anyway Eric you have an answer for us?

Sep 14, 14 7:14 pm

Efforts to broker a cease fire agreement have failed and the indiscriminate bombing of Archinect continues without pause. 

Sep 14, 14 8:19 pm
eric chavkin

Sorry guys. I dont have a design philosophy really. My built works tend to be straight forward and simple (not minimal) , productivist derived objects, (think donald judd, r m schindler) .I I am a fan of my professor Glen Small whose forms derive from studiesm of nature and enviromental processes.

My naming patterns is a nominalist and a starting point of my critique.

Sep 15, 14 12:17 am
chatter of clouds

Olaf,  it seems all your reading passes straight through into your urine without having a perceptible effect on how your simplistic mind works. That's not called dyslexia, by the way- no reason to find an alibi- just simple stupidity.

I have apologized for posting an irrelevant post here - this should suffice. But it seems some individuals are too petty to simply overlook it.

Anyway, to steer this back, my "library" (I have plenty of books but I never thought of them as a library, library just sounds so defined, packaged)  isn't with me here, but I've taken out a few books I'm toggling between, most are in French because they don't have as many English books and its good to practice:

-Rafael Moneo: Intranquilité théorique et stratégie du projet dans l'oeuvre de huit architects

- Shlomo Sand - Comment le people juif fut inventé

-Maurice Godelier - The Mental and the Material (its a real dense read, I've been reading it forever)

Sep 15, 14 1:16 am

Dyslexia, or some degree of that spectrum is useful, I've found.  I don't have the level of it described by some (that I know) but when you get stuck in a design, I've found myself 'flipping' things around (after a break) and end up with solutions I didn't see coming.  I worked for an Italian architect (Andrea Ponsi) years ago who built reversable vision glasses where mirrors would switch the individual eye's perspective and you would notice stuff that escaped your common vision all the time.

The pattern recognition is also very usefull, allthough with so many beautiful patterns out there, I'm still surprised how many fucking grids we get, especially out of Holland.  What's with that place?  Considering their older cities absolutely stunning buildings it's all the more incomprehensible, beyond the usual modernist group think.  But like tammuz, I digress.   Regardless of one's aesthetic perspectives, it's nice to hear our profession has a home for many kids who just don't like to read legalese.

Sep 15, 14 5:42 am
Olaf Design Ninja_

Eric, Carerra and Thayer- D thanks for commentary on how you read and proceed with design, all very interesting.

Sep 15, 14 7:01 am

@citizen, tint and Olaf, i highlight/underline/circle etc (depending on whether it is my book/essay) and am a big fan of notes/marginalia (both in my own reading process, but also love seeing notes/marginalia by others in used books).

I find that is the best way for me to process/understand. also think it works as a mnemonic tool to help my brain structure the data for future recall.

Am also a speed reader (though perhaps not as fast as eric) though i do find that with philosophy, regulatory documents  or really dense literature sometime i have to reread sections/passages to understand/recall.

@eric your story re: memory trick reminds me of a "game" i often play with my better half. she will think i am not listening to her, but will then be able to repeat what she was saying, back to her...

Sep 18, 14 3:41 pm

I don't speed read although I do scan and skim sometimes. Usually, I try to deep read. My best comprehension tool is to sum it up, every sentence, every paragraph. As I go, I create a picture and then I don't have to take notes. I am always looking up etymology of words too.

Nam, speaking of memory tools, are you familiar with Cicero's Memory Palace? It is a technique to tap into our brain's vast visual spatial abilities and use it to help remember stuff. 

Sep 19, 14 6:16 am

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