7 x 10
7 x 10
The houses we dwell in, the cities surrounding our houses, even the clothes we wear—these are all shelters we erect against the elements. They are also the embodiment of intuitive rituals, individual and cultural responses to nature’s rhythms. Life in the 21st century has separated us from those traditions—now, Ritual House reawakens us to our lost natural heritage.
Celebrated architect Ralph Knowles, Distinguished Emeritus at USC’s School of Architecture, has carefully crafted a book for architects, designers, planners—anyone who yearns to reconnect to the natural world through the built environment. He shows us how to re-examine a shadow, a wall, a window, a landscape, as they respond to the natural cycles of heat, light, wind, and rain. Analyzing methods of sheltering that range from a Berber tent to a Spanish courtyard to the cityscape of contemporary Los Angeles, Knowles shows us the future: by coining the concept of solar access zoning, he introduces a radical yet increasingly viable solution for tomorrow’s mega-cities.
Understanding how the elements affect our lives is more vital than ever. High-energy enclosed building systems have cut us off from nature, but we can re-connect to our landscapes and to humanity through buildings that honor ecological balance, personal choice, and creativity. By engaging nature in our designs, we can create shelters that are unique to their climate, their region, and their relationship to the sun.
Ritual House will take its rightful place among those classic works that become touchstones for the culture.
"Ritual House is easily placed among the most important books in architecture in the past 100 years."
Don Watson, architect
"Knowles reminds us that we can connect to the temporal rhythms of nature and weather in profound and sustainable ways, through the very shelters we create to counter the elements."
Bruce Lindsey, Head of the School of Architecture, Auburn University; Co-director, The Rural Studio
"My influences are many and varied, but during my years as a student, Ralph Knowles may have been the most important. Only recently have I come to understand that he was 50 years ahead of his time…I am grateful that he continues to contribute to our built environment through his intelligent analysis and synthesis of contemporary issues in architecture."
Thom Mayne, founder and principal, Morphosis; 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate
"Knowles was one of the first architectural thinkers to introduce modern architects to the sun. Now, in Ritual House, he shows us how to restore dignity, meaning and sensibility to the design of homes and communities—by paying attention to the qualities of nature that are essential for human well being and survival."
Sim Van der Ryn, Emeritus Professor of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley
Chapter 1. Sheltering
Chapter 2. Migration
Chapter 3. Transformation
Chapter 4. Metabolism
Chapter 5. Sheltering the Soul
Chapter 6. Settings and Rituals
Chapter 7. Boundaries and Choices
Chapter 8. The Solar Envelope
Chapter 9..The Interstitium
Chapter 10. The New Architecture of the Sun