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UPC: 9781938922589
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Author: Phyllis Richardson
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolis Books (August 31, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938922581
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938922589
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 10 inches

One of the most powerful design philosophies of recent years has been architect Glenn Murcutt's dictum that buildings should "touch the earth lightly." Ever since the Industrial Revolution, architects have sought to liberate our houses from their solid foundations, but now climate change, new materials and restricted land use have given fresh impetus to finding lightweight solutions for our dwellings. The projects here combine two strands of thinking: that buildings can weigh less and have minimal impact on their environments, and that this lightness--visual, material, ecological--can create beautiful, ethereal houses that offer new, natural modes of habitation and greater communion with our surroundings. Each of the 40 houses selected by Phyllis Richardson--author of the widely successful XS series and Nano House--is presented through photographs, plans and lucid explanations. Residences that float on air or water, ingenious constructions using local materials, innovative structures, inflatable spaces, high-tech hyper-intelligent houses--"superlight" takes many forms. From the desert landscape of Arizona to the urban jungle of Tokyo, from rural China to mountainous Chile, this book brings new solutions for architects and designers everywhere.


The innovative lightweight plastic cover of this book hints at the pioneering content within… Plans bring depth to each scheme. (Homes & Gardens)

Stunning photography, illuminating floor plans and expert explanations. (Elle Decoration)

Truly special and unique… Grand designs indeed. (Fabric)

The term light in architecture has meant different things to successive generations. For pioneering modernists, Glasarchitektur stood for a transparent, rationalist approach that would further hygienic and economic aims. In architecture of the past several decades, the use of exotic perforated, semitransparent, and multilayered materials shifted attention to the appearance of “lightness,” as in the projects, many by heavyweight architects, in Terence Riley’s 1995 Museum of Modern Art (New York) exhibition “Light Construction.” Superlight: Rethinking How Our Homes Impact the Earth shifts the focus to physical lightness, environmental impact, and affordability. Evenly distributed across the globe, and accompanied by careful descriptions of site, concept, and physical aspect by author Phyllis Richardson, the up-to-date selection of forty-one projects, mostly residences, is divided into categories: “Floating,” “Low Energy,” “Urban Light,” “Escape,” and “Extreme.” A dream-and-drool book for the environmentally minded, it offers intriguing housing solutions for developing countries–such as a clever, airy, elevated metal grid with ground-floor patio, created in 2013 in Thuân An, Vietnam. (Christopher Lyon Bookforum)

Unique translucent corrugated plastic covers intertwined by exposed threaded bindings glistening with glue provide the housing for architect and design writer, Phyliss Richardson’s latest book, Superlight: Lightness in Contemporary Houses. The unusually light construction lures you in to uncover page after page of homely architecture porn – over 40 dwellings that are thoughtfully crafted and have minimal impact on the earth. (Abby Schlageter Another Magazine)

In 'Superlight: Rethinking How Our Homes Impact the Earth' (Metropolis Books $35), Phyllis Richardson offers a global, contemporary perspective, high-lightening projects from Chile to Vietnam. She reconsiders what makes a perfect 'light,' expanding the definition from weight to impact on the site, energy consumption (or generation) and ability to cope with climate change. (Alexandra Lange The New York Times, Home Section)

This book's 41 examples, are all well presented, are organized into five somewhat overlapping categories. They begin with 'Floating,' as in 'over water, on stilts, mobile.' Consider a house built by H&P Architects in Hanoi, Vietnam, with the goal of withstanding 5 feet in flooding-the bamboo latticework walls also support blooming plants.


The compendium closes with 'Extreme,' featuring a project by Interior Design Hall of Fame member Shigeru Ban, also this year's Prizker winner. Like some of this larger works, this lodge on a Japansese island in the East China Sea was constructed from polyurethane-coated cardboard tubes. It therefore resembles a log cabin in every aspect...but weight. (Stanley Abercrombie Interior Design)

In a new book, Superlight: Rethinking How Our Homes Impact the Earth (Metropolis Books), Phyllis Richardson tours 40 houses that were designed with lightness in mind. The result is a compendium of beautiful, innovative structures, including a floating egg-shaped residence and a number of tree houses built on stilts. (Kristen Flanagan Architectural Digest)