Professor Simon Unwin BArch PhD Registered Architect

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Simon Unwin is a freelance writer and lecturer based in Cardiff, UK. He is a registered architect but concentrates on writing about architecture and teaching architectural analysis and design. His publications include five books: Analysing Architecture (Routledge, London, 1997, 2003, 2009 and 2014); An Architecture Notebook: Wall (Routledge, 2000); Doorway (Routledge, 2007); Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand (Routledge, 2010); and Exercises in Architecture (Routledge, 2012). These books are used in schools of architecture around the world. Analysing Architecture has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Persian, and is currently being translated into Portuguese, Russian and Arabic.

Simon Unwin is Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of Dundee, Scotland, where he was Professor from 2004 to 2009. Previously he was Senior Lecturer at the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff University, Wales. He has lived in Australia as well as the UK and taught or lectured in Israel, the USA, China, Malaysia, India, Sweden, Turkey and at other schools of architecture in the UK and Europe. He has been a member of the panel of judges for a number of architectural prizes and awards including The Andrew Doolan Prize for Architecture in Scotland (2006) and the RIBA President's Medals Dissertation Prize (2008).

Contact: info@simonunwin.com

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SeCRETS of ARCHITECTURE

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The SeCRETS of ARCHITECTURE series of eBooks explores the underlying architecture of significant buildings, gardens, urban compositions from around the world and all periods of history and prehistory. The aim of the series is to get inside the minds of architects, wherever and whenever they operated, by analyzing their work. Each eBook focuses on a particular example. The methodology for analysis is based on that illustrated in my books Analysing ARCHITECTURE (Routledge, 2009) and Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand (Routledge, 2010).

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VILLA LE LAC

The second eBook in the SeCRETS of ARCHITECTURE Series analyzes Le Corbusier's Villa Le Lac, on the banks of Lac Léman in Switzerland.

SeCRETS of ARCHITECTURE eBooks are downloadable for your iPad from iBooks.

Villa Le Lac - Simon Unwin

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Skara Brae

The first eBook in the SeCRETS of ARCHITECTURE Series analyzes the Neolithic village of Skara Brae on the Orkney Islands.

SeCRETS of ARCHITECTURE eBooks are downloadable for your iPad from iBooks.

Skara Brae - Simon Unwin

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Analysing Architecture NEW

Now in its fourth edition, Analysing Architecture has become internationally established as the best introduction to architecture. Aimed primarily at those wishing to become professional architects, it also offers those in disciplines related to architecture (from archaeology to stage design, garden design to installation art) a clear and accessible insight into the workings of this rich and fascinating subject. With copious illustrations from his own notebooks, the author dissects examples from around the world and all periods of history to explain underlying strategies in architectural design and show how drawing may be used as a medium for analysis.

This new edition of Analysing Architecture is revised and expanded. Notably, the chapter on 'Basic Elements of Architecture' has been enlarged to discuss the 'powers' various architectural elements offer the architect. Three new chapters have been added to the section on 'Themes in Spatial Organisation', covering 'Occupying the In-between', 'Inhabited Wall' and 'Refuge and Prospect'. Two new examples – a Mud House in Kerala, India, and the Mongyo-tei (a tea house) in Kyoto, Japan – have been added to the case studies at the end of the book. The select bibliography has been expanded and the index overhauled.

Works of architecture are instruments for managing, orchestrating, modifying our relationship with the world around us. They frame just about everything we do. Architecture is complex, subtle, frustrating... but ultimately extremely rewarding. It can be a difficult discipline to get to grips with; nothing in school quite prepares anyone for the particular demands of an architecture course. But this book will help.

Analysing Architecture is the foundation volume of a series of books by Simon Unwin exploring the workings of architecture. Other books in the series include Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand and Exercises in Architecture.

Simon Unwin Chats with Routledge about the 4th Edition of Analysing Architecture

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Sample pages

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An Architecture Notebook: Wall

An Architecture Notebook builds on the foundation of Simon Unwin's previous book Analysing Architecture (Routledge, 1997). Using numerous examples, illustrated with clear line drawings, this volume describes and illustrates the many powers attaching to one of the most basic architectural elements – the wall.

Exploring its primitive origins in relation to the natural walls of cliffs and caves, illustrating the effects and opportunities of its evolution into the artificial and then the naked cave, and examining the ways in which it is used to frame and organise the spaces of our lives, this book presents the wall as one of the most powerful inventions of the mind.

Like its predecessor, An Architecture Notebook is a stimulus to thinking about what one can do with architecture. It offers an example to student architects of how they might keep their own architecture notebooks, collecting ideas, sorting strategies, generally expanding their understanding of the potential of architecture to change the world.

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Doorway

Remember that frisson as you step through a doorway: into a crowded party or a silent church; for a job interview, or into your own home after a long journey. Though we take them for granted, doorways impinge on our lives in many ways. Their thresholds divide up the world, punctuating our movements from place to place and creating 'fault-lines' in our experience. Their mystery intrigues and challenges us. We measure ourselves against them and they set down the geometry of our relationships. Doorways affect our emotions and influence how we behave; sitting on a doorstep, we can find peace just watching the world go by. Framing the transient moment, doorways stand as reminders of the 'between' in which we live. It is no wonder that through human history and across all cultures, doorways have possessed great symbolic power and had ceremonies and rituals associated with them.

Doorway is a profound but accessible and entertaining exploration of the ways our built surroundings set out the spatial matrix of our existence. Using examples from archaeology to the present, and from all around the world, this book provides a fresh and revealing perspective on architecture and its poetry.

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Sample pages

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Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand

Have you ever wondered how the ideas behind the world’s greatest architecture came about? What process does an architect go through to design buildings which become world-renowned for their excellence?

In this book Simon Unwin reveals the secrets behind twenty such buildings. He asks you to 'read' the building and understand its starting point by analysing its final form through drawing. By this gradual process of understanding the thinking behind architectural form, you learn a unique methodology which can be used every time you look at a building.

Analysing buildings from throughout the twentieth century and across the globe including the US, France, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, Spain, Finland, Australia, Norway, Sweden and Japan, this book is essential reading for every architect.

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Sample pages

Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand sample page Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand sample page Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand sample page Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand sample page
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Exercises in Architecture

Architecture is a doing word. You can learn a great deal about the workings of architecture through analysing examples but a fuller understanding of its powers and potential comes through practice, by trying to do it. As you learn a language you need to practise using it; and as you practise you learn more about what you can do with the language. It is the same with architecture… This book offers student architects a series of twelve exercises that will develop their capacity for doing architecture. Each exercise is divided into a short series of tasks aimed at developing a particular theme or area of architectural capacity, providing prompts for practice. The exercises deal with themes such as place-making, learning through drawing, framing, light, uses of geometry, stage-setting, the genetics of detail and many more.

Exercises in Architecture builds on and supplements the methodology for architectural analysis presented in the author's previous book Analysing Architecture (third edition, Routledge, 2009) and demonstrated in his Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand (Routledge, 2010). Together, the three books deal with the three aspects of acquiring any creative discipline: Analysing Architecture provides a methodology for analysis that develops an understanding of the way architecture works; Twenty Buildings explores and extends that methodology through analysis of examples as case studies; and Exercises in developing capability in architecture by following rudimentary exercises.

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Sample pages

Exercises in Architecture sample page Exercises in Architecture sample page Exercises in Architecture sample page Exercises in Architecture sample page
The 'Person' Notebook

The 'Person' Notebook

I began this notebook in 2004 alongside some of the other notebooks in this series. I had the idea that I could devote separate notebooks to specific themes, and for a while carried around five or six notebooks. Needless to say this discipline eventually failed. The present notebook began as a record of investigations of the relationships between architecture and the person. This theme, because it is so general, does prevail throughout the notebook, but its pages also contain material prepared for the book Doorway (Routledge, 2007), and drawings related to various trips abroad.

The 'Time' Notebook

The 'Time' Notebook

This notebook started as exploration of the theme 'time in architecture' but gradually other themes pushed their way in. Like the other notebooks in this series it has not been edited. This iBookstore edition contains a brief Introduction but otherwise is a facsimile of the original notebook.

The 'Entrance' Notebook

The 'Entrance' Notebook

This notebook contains some of the research for the book Doorway. It was not compiled with publication in mind and has not been edited.

Download (13 MB)

You may also download this notebook for your iPad from the iBookstore. The iPad edition has:

  • an Introduction explaining the context of the Notebook
  • easier navigation through a scrollable bar
  • a detailed and fully hyperlinked Index
The 'Place' Notebook

The 'Place' Notebook

This notebook started with a focus on the issue of 'place' but this gradually widened. It too was not compiled with publication in mind and has not been edited.

Download (14 MB)

The 'Heart' Notebook

The 'Heart' Notebook

Download (12 MB)