Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
These three books represent the culmination of research by an upcoming academic in the field of Heritage Building Rehabilitation. Her research highlights the need to re‐use, preserve or upgrade existing buildings for current and future use hence preserving the natural and built environment through a reduction in the usage of natural materials and a decrease in waste and reconstruction costs. The author has developed a design process support system aimed at fulfilling the needs of designers working on rehabilitation designs.
The way the three books are named is representative of the author's background in the architectural profession. She uses the Latin term columna (column) as a metaphor to illustrate her work and consequently goes on to call the three divisions (of her work) Basis (base), Scapus (shaft) and Capitellum (capital). Each of the three books is practically self‐contained in its own right. Each, however, starts with the same Summary and Introduction that reminds the reader of the central theme of the work. Basis explains the literature review and the basis of the design theory for the doctoral research. Scapus deals with the design product phase where her Design Process Support System is explained in terms of the building and design processes involved so that the user can understand the background and assumptions of the design process theorised for rehabilitation projects. Capitellum reveals the framework and the interface of the Design Process Support System (named RE‐ARCHITECTURE®), gives the conclusions arrived at in this undertaking and highlights the significance of such a Design Process Support System to the future of rehabilitation design.
What is surprisingly innovative about this work is the author's understanding and commitment towards built environment rehabilitation as not just a method of preserving the built heritage but also of preserving the natural. She challenges the cultural values of the modern society that sees the fulfilment of its built environment needs only in terms of new construction and calculates the value of new constructs in terms of short‐term revenues rather than long‐term costs such as wastage, use of non‐renewable resources among other ecological concerns.
The book is fundamental reading for architectural designers engaged in the rehabilitation of built heritage while a valuable read for architectural practitioners and students. Given the ecological and sustainability‐related concerns within the built environment professions, Basis (book I) may make a constructive read for professionals such as Facilities Managers engaged within the built environment – helping them appreciate a design alternative that is not always considered first choice when developing a construction design.