Down Detour Road

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Down Detour Road

Down Detour Road

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As the world redesigns and rebuilds in the face of economic and ecological crises, unprecedented numbers of architects are out of work. What does this say about the value of architecture? That is the question that confronted architect Eric Cesal as he finished graduate school at the onset of the worst financial meltdown in a generation. Down Detour Road is his journey: one that begins off-course, and ends in a hopeful new vision of architecture.

Like many architects of his generation, Cesal confronts a cold reality. Architects may assure each other of their own importance, but society has come to view architecture as a luxury it can do without. For Cesal, this recognition becomes an occasion to rethink architecture and its value from the very core. He argues that the times demand a new architecture, an empowered architecture that is useful and relevant. New architectural values emerge as our cultural values shift: from high risks to safe bets, from strong portfolios to strong communities, and from clean lines to clean energy.

This is not a book about how to run a firm or a profession; it doesn't predict the future of architectural form or aesthetics. It is a personal story-and in many ways a generational one: a story that follows its author on a winding detour across the country, around the profession, and into a new architectural reality.

Read a review of Down Detour Road on the AIA Store's Facebook page.

Click here to hear a podcast with Eric Cesal at the 2011 AIA National Convention.

  • By Eric Cesal
  • Published by MIT Press, 2010
  • Paperback, 224 pages

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