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Build. Sci. Vol. 10, pp. 85-87. Pergamon Press 1975.

Printed in Great Britain

Manual of Tropical Housing and Building.

Part one: Climatic Design
O. H. K O E N I G S B E R G E R , T. G. I N G E R S O L L , A L A N M A Y H E W , S. V. S Z O K O L A Y
Longman Group, London (1974) 320 pp. £4.95 (hardback) and £2.95 (paperback).

A F T E R a sporadic start in the early nineteen-fifties, intensity. It contains many original and useful
books in English on the design of buildings in ideas, but the difficulty of generalising or even,
relation to climate appeared at a rate which reached in some cases, of reproducing the processes which
an average of about one a year during the sixties are illustrated, can sometimes lead to impotence
with a peak towards the end of the decade which on the part of an architect or planner who tries to
has subsequently declined. They are roughly of use it. A comprehensive collection of information is
three kinds: descriptive works which introduce contained in the bilingual (German and English)
the subject in general terms and give examples Tropenbau: Building in the Tropics by G. LIPPSMEIER
of buildings which show a response to climatic (Callway Verlag, Munich, 1969). Principles are not
forces; accounts of building research and theory treated in any detail and, although the book makes a
more or less orientated towards architects or other most useful addition to any tropical designer's
designers; and books written specifically to provide library, it is organised around the traditional
help to architects or planners during the design approach to the provision of information for
process at the point at which help is needed. For climatic design which is either prescriptive or
cultural and economic reasons most of the books evaluative: the latter implying a process by which
so far published have concentrated on conditions buildings are first described and then evaluated on a
and needs in hot climates; a bias which may change predictive basis, the final specification logically
as the cost of energy rises in cooler countries. being arrived at by a process of iteration.
Of the descriptive works, probably the best A major step forward in methodology was made
known is Climate and Architecture by J. E. ARONIN in the publication Climate and House Design:
(Reinhold, 1953) with its excellent bibliography. Design of Low Cost Housing and Community
Two valuable books originating with research Facilities Vol. 1 (U.N. Department of Economic
workers are J. F. VAN STRAATEN'S Thermal Per- and Social Affairs, New York 1971). This was
formanceofBuildings(Elsevier, 1967) and B. GIVONI'S written for the United Nations by OtTO KOENIGS-
Man, Climate and A rchiteeture (Elsevier, 1969, which, BERGER, CARL MAHONEY a n d MARTIN EVANS (then
despite its broad title, also concentrates on hot- of the Department of Development and Tropical
country thermal problems). These are books for Studies of the Architectural Association, London)
research workers, engineers and building scientists, and was the first presentation of an approach,
and for architects with a strong motivation to incorporating the "Mahoney Tables", which allows
improve their knowledge and understanding of the an input of climatic data and an output of specifi-
field. They are analytical and evaluative in approach cations of the required characteristics of built
and their primary intent is, in a broad sense, form in order to achieve satisfactory performance
educational. Except for the last two chapters in in the input climate. This generative approach, by
Givoni's book, on principles of design, they are not inverting the form/performance relationship, breaks
design manuals and they are not structured so as to the iterative cycle of the more traditional propose-
match into a design process by recognising either form/evaluate process.
the types of decision the practising designer needs There has been a major gap in the literature in
to make, or the speed at which he has to make them. that there has been no book for use by practitioners
There are, in fact, very few books on climatic as a manual during the design process which, by
design aimed at use in the design office by the moving rapidly from principles to practice, can also
working architect or planner. A work which is be used educationally both in pre- and mid-career.
already a classic and which sometimes comes near This gap is filled very well by the present work.
to this is VICTOR OLGYAY'S Design with Climate The Manual of Tropical Housing and Building
(Princeton U.P., 1963). The book's origins in (Part 1: Climatic Design) by OTTO H. KOENIGS-
reports of practical design studies by its author BERGER, T. G. INGERSOLL, ALAN MAYHEW a n d
give it immediate relevance and a seductive S. V. SZOKOLAY, has been a long time in reaching
86 Book Reviews

its present published form. It was begun in 1952 The writing is clear and concise, and the many
by Otto Koenigsberger as a nucleus for a course at graphs and tables are excellent. There are some
the Architectural Association which was taken in-text reproductions of photographs which, no
each year by over twenty architects, planners and doubt for reasons of economy, are reproduced
builders from a large number of different countries. in a form which is only adequate, but otherwise
After ten years of change and development through the publishers have made a splendid job of design
daily use in teaching, the text was brought up to and production. Although the book deals with
date by T. E. Ingersoll. The third version was technical matters, the treatment given does not
written by Alan Mayhew with the special intention assume more than an elementary knowledge of
of making it as effective as possible in the teaching/ mathematics and physics, or of building con-
learning process, and the final drafting and tech- struction. On the whole it seems to be at the right
nical updating were carried out by S. V. Szokolay. level for its intended users, and the author's hope
The book is divided into 10 sections, the first that it will be useful not only to students and
four dealing with thermal problems: the given practitioners--which it undoubtedly will--but also
conditions of climate, the desirable conditions of to clients, is fully justified. The book is open to
thermal comfort, the principles of thermal design criticism on this point. Some readers may wish that
and the means of thermal control. Sections five a deeper analytical treatment were given of a
and six deal with light and lighting, and noise and number of matters but this would have made the
noise control, each starting with a section on book much longer and in most cases more mathe-
principles. Section seven discusses applications in matical treatments are already available in special-
providing shelter in hot-dry, warm-humid, com- ised works. There are also places where the reader
posite and tropical upland climates. The eighth might hope for additional help in decision-making
section, "design aids," gives the processes described or for more detailed recommendations, but the
in the U.N. publication which was mentioned subject is one which still requires much more
above in a more concise form and this is followed research, particularly into ways of organising
by a useful bibliography and 36 pages of data, knowledge in relation to the decision-making
design tools and design aids, in Appendices. These process. There seems little to stop the book going
include sunpath diagrams for latitudes ranging through many editions, and new material will
from the equator to 40 ° North or South and a doubtless be added as it becomes available in a
transparent plastic shadow-angle overlay is in- suitable form.
cluded with the book. C. B. WILSON

An Introduction to Soil Mechanics and

(Second Edition)
Applied Science, London (1974), 361 pp., £5.00.

THIS book is intended to serve as a general text- The contents cover the basic engineering pro-
book on soil mechanics for undergraduate students perties of soils such as permeability, compres-
of civil engineering. In this respect it has many sibility and shear strength and the classical approach
competitors, but bears favourable comparison with to problems of estimating settlement, bearing
the best of these. When the First Edition appeared capacity of foundations, earth pressure on retaining
in 1969 the fact that S.I. units were used throughout walls and stability of slopes. Other topics include
gave it a temporary advantage for teaching pur- sgil classification, site investigation, electro-
poses in Britain. This special position has since been chemical properties of clay minerals, and piled
lost but the more fundamental merits of the book foundations. This new edition differs little from the
remain. first edition, but brief descriptions of some geo-