Foundations Featured as Book of The Week in A Weekly Dose of Architecture Books

Our debut book, Foundations, has been featured as the Book of The Week in A Weekly Dose of Architecture Books this week!

Duvall Decker’s Foundations is basically an anti-office manual, in that it is focused entirely on the intangible, philosophical aspects of the firm rather than the mundane “standards” that are shared by every practice. Yes, architects will relate to some of the anecdotes recounted across the foundations and propositions, but they will see how Duvall Decker responded to particular situations and instill their approach into the various aspects of daily work. Foundations is not the first book expressing the ethos of an architectural practice, but I’m wagering that most firms in the United States, where the average size is around a dozen employees, will find more useful statements in its pages than, for instance, The World by Design: The Story of a Global Architecture Firm by A. Eugene Kohn of KPF, a firm with 600 employees in nine offices on three continents — Duvall Decker has 17 people on its profile page (not all of them architects), much closer to the national average than KPF.

As I read through the book and added Post-it Notes to some of my favorite passages, a few things came to the fore. The references are diverse and deep, from Kenneth Frampton’s “Towards a Critical Regionalism” and Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman to Karl Popper’s Of Clocks and Clouds and The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. The language is also diverse, with memorable assertions like “create a wake of interest” and “the concrete must breathe the abstract” balanced by more grounded advice on the workings of their firm. The practical advice, in turn, is open and honest, as in a discussion on debt and fees and Duvall Decker’s own office manuals: its “Instruments of Service” and “Basis of Collaboration,” both of which acknowledge how the work of architects is social, is rooted in communities.

click here to read the full review by a Weekly Dose of Architecture Books.