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Jacks – A House and its Atmosphere

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About the Book

A House and its Atmosphere is a meditative essay about the experience of designing and building a house of one’s own. Told in seventy black and white photographs and a series of narrative excursions, architect Ben Jacks reflects on a lifetime of influences as he reveals the personal nature of inhabiting a place at the edge of a tidal cove on an island in Maine. A House and its Atmosphere quietly advocates for the simple logic and modest ease of direct experience and an observational perspective in architecture.

In chapters about imagining, walking, and designing Ben Jacks reflects on the essence of architectural experience, describing what it is like to begin to make momentous decisions, arguing that aesthetic experience is the result of how one has learned to see. Memory, family, nature, relationships, and work inform design at every step.

A House and its Atmosphere is a grounded story about designing and building a small work of architecture. With students of architecture and amateur builders in mind, Ben Jacks makes a case for design informed by theories of place-identification, detail, and craft. The book is a primary source and a chronicle of experience of radical empiricism. As such it offers a kind of conceptual tool kit for those interested in thinking about the processes of architecture, designing, and placemaking.

A House and its Atmosphere is a fresh and valuable contribution to the shelter memoir genre, from a professional architect’s perspective.

For more information or to buy the book, go to Culicidae Architectural Press.