Silent Spaces – The Last of the Great Aisled Barns

Silent SpacesThe Last of the Great Aisled Barns

By: Malcolm Kirk

Bulfinch Press Book – 1994

A ‘coffee table book’ filled with extraordinary color and black/white photographs of the great aisled barns scattered throughout Europe, Scandinavia and the Northeastern US.  Kirk researches the history of these giant barns and gives the reader an insight into this unusual architectural form, from its origins in premedieval Europe to Colonial America.  Lots of heavy timber mixed with huge stones that create marvelous ‘silent spaces’ for us all to appreciate for generations to come.

Timber Frame Construction

Timber Frame ConstructionAll About Post and Beam Building

By Jack Sobon and Roger Schroeder

Garden Way Publishing – 1984

Jack and Roger created a book which introduces the practice of timber framing in simple terms so the novice can attempt a small building using the techniques described in this well written and drawing filled volume.  “With all the basics learned, you’re ready for work.  And it’s here that the authors help you as no other book will.  They construct with you a 12 x 16 foot garden tool shed and tell you how to change that size or that purpose.  Not surprising, the authors guide you first in building a stone foundation, then carefully tell how to prepare every timber for this building.”

The Old Way of Seeing

The Old Way of Seeing – How Architecture Lost its Magic (and How to Get it Back)

By Jonathan Hale

A Richard Todd Book – Houghton Mifflin Co.  -  1994

“This fresh and provocative book answers a question that countless people have asked about our man-made world:  how did things get so ugly?  We have all admired the natural grace of old buildings and wondered why today it seems so hard to create their equal.  We live in a time when only a gifted and dedicated team of designers can build something approaching the beauty that 18th century carpenters could do all by themselves.  What went wrong?”  According to Hale, it was around 1830 that builders and architects began to lose their sense of surety.  He explores the social pressures that turned buildings from expressions of the human spirit and nature into structures burdened with symbols.  An excellent thought provoking book that reads well.  Hale does an excellent job of explaining The Golden Section and how it provides perfect proportions used in all art forms – especially architecture.

Oak – The Frame of Civilization


Oak – The Frame of Civilization

By William Bryant Logan

W.W. Norton & Co. – 2005

“William B. Logan, a professional arborist and an award-winning nature writer, has put his love for oak to paper, and here relates the delightful, intimate history of the relationship between humans and oak trees since time immemorial.  With reverence, humor, and compassion, Logan reintroduces the oak tree so that we might see its vibrant presence throughout our history and our modern world.”  We find this book a delightful read that is just as informative as it is edifying.  Filled with photos and drawings, we recommend this book for all interested in woodworking and nature.

A Pattern Language

A Pattern LanguageTowns, Buildings, Construction

By Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein

Oxford University Press – 1977

This is Volume 2 of the Trilogy; The Timeless Way of Building (Vol. 1) and The Oregon Experiment (Vol. 3)

“You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building.  And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction.”  Christopher point out in this 1100 page book what to consider in space relationship within rooms, the importance of large front porches and using them, to how a neighborhood should be built in order to interact with each other.  He draws some of his conclusions from how the ancient European villages and towns were built; how the inhabitants lived amongst the structures which created a community; and how important privacy is and where it should be located in a house.  Some ideas will surprise you, but some will cause you to wish for the older ways of living which combined the outdoors with the interior spaces of your dwelling.

Building the Timber Frame House

Building the Timber Frame HouseThe Revival of a Forgotten Craft

By Tedd Benson with James Gruber

Fireside Book – 1980

“Timber framing is as old and as full of history as the story of architecture in wood itself. As a building technique, timber framing survived through the centuries on the sound principle that it provided exceedingly durable shelter.”  So begins one of the first books on the resurgence of timber framing in the United States.  Tedd Benson tells the story of this forgotten craft and how its rediscovery has led to what we witness today in private homes, commercial buildings both large and small, and in outdoor pavilions for farmer’s markets as well as State Parks.  This paperback book is recommended for the beginner, the historian, and is considered a staple on any timber framer’s book shelf.