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Manual: the Architecture and Office of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Iain Borden, Manual: the Architecture and Office of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, (Birkhäuser, 2003), 240pp. AIMS & QUESTIONS The majority of monographs on architectural practices seek to simply describe the buildings and projects produced by the architects, while providing relatively little insight into the development of these projects, or into the practical aspects of the practice itself. By contrast, Manual: the Architecture and Office of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, provides not only a comprehensive account of the firm’s projects, but also the way the firm has developed over the past 15 years, involving such things as finance and practice development as well as architectural design and theory. The book has three research aims: (1) to provide a comprehensive account of the projects and office of AHMM (2) to investigate the methodology of the writing of monographs of architectural practices (3) to explore visual and textual methods for the presentation of material, in this case as a metaphorical “manual” of architectural practice. METHODS The book involves architectural history, architectural criticism and inter-disciplinary collaboration. It is based on the intersection of two main research methods. (1) a detailed empirical and interpretive study of AHMM, including visits to over 30 buildings and projects, 120 hours of recorded interviews, and detailed archival work in the office over a period of 3 years. (2) A close collaboration with graphic designers Studio Myerscough to develop a communicative textual and imaging strategy for the book, centred around the theme of a manual of architectural practice. CONTEXTS The book sits within a broad concern with the history of architecture, in particular a methodological concern as to how the history of architecture and architectural practices can be interpreted and communicated in alternative manners to conventional empirical descriptions, purely hagiographic accounts of architecture as buildings, or simple text-plus-image presentations. DISSEMINATION The book has been reviewed extensively in the UK and European architectural press, and is internationally published and distributed by Birkhäuser.
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  • The Bartlett School of Architecture
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