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Based on many years of personal observation, Habraken's important new book critically examines the role of the architect as a professional descendent of Palladio, and as an heir to his architectural legacy. Seven innovative and carefully crafted essays explore the widening ideological schism between today's architects whose core values, identity and education remain rooted in the Renaissance legacy of creating artful 'masterpieces', and the practical demands on a profession which acts within an evolving, ubiquitous and autonomous built environment or 'field'. Clearly written yet expressing complex evolving ideas, this extended argument opens a new forum of debate across design theory, professional practice and academic issues. Moving the subject on from a historical perspective, Habraken shows how architects are increasingly involved in the design of everyday buildings. This must lead to a reassessment of architects' identities, values and education, and the contribution of the architect in the shaping of the built environment.
N.J. Habraken, Professor Emeritus, Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has enjoyed a worldwide following for four decades. He is the author of seven books, the subject of two recent ones and his recent publication of The Structure of the Ordinary (MIT 1998) was widely reviewed internationally. He is most well known as founder of the Open Building movement, founding director of the SAR Research Institute and as founding chair of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at Eindhoven University. Jonathan Teicher is an architect and author. He lectures in architecture and is a former American Institute of Architects bureaucrat.