News that printed book sales fell to a new low is not surprising considering the volume of free information now available to us (see Guardian article here).

However, those who don’t browse their local book shop or library are missing a hugely important source of information and inspiration that simply is not available on the internet. It is not just the written word that provides us with information, photos and illustrations do so too…for us seeing black and white photos of Unite d’Habitation formwork and rebar reminds us of how past builders and designers rose to the challenge of post-war construction with limited materials supply.

A recent book by Adrian Forty was recommended to us by Patrick Flemming (Cambridge University), sparking an interesting discussion on the subject of the book, concrete, and the architectural styles that developed along with it. The question then posed is whether the new Wunderkind of timber, CLT, will develop its own architectural style or whether it will simply mimic concrete or steel forms. The danger being that modern forms of construction such as CLT will be driven by the construction process (ie the need for speed and cheap as chips) and lose sight of the end game…creating space in which real people live or work for many years to come.

Adrian’s book ‘Concrete and Culture: A Material History’ is reviewed by BD and can be see here or if you are not a subscriber to BD then here on the publisher’s website.