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Interviews

"Humor is an important aspect of life" says architecture professor Mark Moreno


Andrews University professor Mark Moreno shares 4 books that have impacted his life in architecture.
"Humor is an important aspect of life" says architecture professor Mark Moreno

by GoArchitect Staff

5 months ago


Each week GoArchitect interviews one person with one question: What 3 books have impacted your life in architecture and why? 

The books may be from childhood or just yesterday, what's important is that they helped define their personal or professional life. Want to be considered for an interview? Please fill this out.


Mark Moreno

Associate Professor at Andrews University School of Architecture & Interior Design & Founding Director at Renaissance Kids

Since 1992 Professor Moreno has worked at four universities in focus areas related mainly to Placemaking, drawing, and Person/Environment relationships.  His teaching methodologies emphasize hands-on experiences.  In 2011 he received the Daniel Augsberger Excellence in Teaching Award.
Professor Moreno has worked for many firms and on his own, as Stockton Moreno Designs.  He shares his professional expertise widely within his community, and is always promoting walkability and quality sense of place.  For about 12 years, he served on the board of directors and long range planning committee at Curious Kids Museum, Saint Joseph, MI, and helped to facilitate development of Silver Beach Center which includes Curious Kids Discovery Zone, Shadowland Ballroom, the Carousel and Whirlpool Field splash pad. He currently serves on the board of directors at Citadel Dance and Music Center and actively engages in stage set designs and constructions.

What 3 books have impacted your life in architecture and why?

Light is the Theme: Louis I. Kahn and the Kimbell Art Musuem

Nell E. Johnson, Louis Kahn

Light is the Theme, a book about Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum, is one of the first books on architecture that I bought as a college student. It suggests, even by its title that buildings can mean more than just shelter from the elements, and that buildings should connect us in important ways with nature. It’s a simple read and explains Kahn’s thinking about the building’s relevance to an average person, specifically a housewife from Abilene, TX. Hence, this memorable anecdote reveals architecture’s relevance to the world. As a designer and educator, I remain, indebted to Kahn’s design genius, and intrigued by his idiosyncratic and poetic muse.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs

The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs, began to fill in a missing side to my architectural education. The book is foundational to the notion that the purpose, meaning, and value of buildings are defined also how they function socially beyond their walls, in making people-friendly public space. Because of the book’s influence on urban designers and planners today, it is also a convincing exhibit of how a single person can profoundly and positively impact the world.

A Pattern Language

Christopher Alexander

A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander and his associates, demonstrates a deeply reflective series of person/environment relationship patterns. These patterns explain the possibilities of establishing intimate connections with physical place, and they empower the reader to believe he or she can shape one’s own piece of the world with a love and caring for authenticity. Each step of making such constructions, and setting the stage for positive interactions as humans, moves us a bit closer to healing the larger world.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin

Laura Numeroff, Felicia Bond

In a barefaced attempt to squeeze a fourth book into a three book series, I submit that humor is an important aspect of life that sometimes needs to be injected into life. If You Give a Moose a Muffin is a beautifully illustrated book about the conditions of a boy and a moose that spark a string of imaginings, and associations that warrant creative responses of making and doing. I’ve shared this book with students to promote the idea that the design process is a never-ending sequence of “what ifs,” and “if this, then what?” All kids should be empowered to make fun use of their imaginations.


Have any of these books influenced your life or career in architecture? Leave a comment below and tell us how.

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