How buildings learn

Stewart Brand is an American writer, biologist, designer, former soldier, entrepreneur and Lord knows how many other personas. Soon to be 78 years old, he is one of those blokes that literally lived a handful of lives combined together (four, five… maybe six?) each worth a highly esteemed life in itself. Brand could be said to be “larger than lives” — one just needs to read his Wikipedia page to figure it out. Among his ventures, the Long Now Foundation (with Brian Eno) and the Whole Earth Catalogue. This time around our Lazy Susan stops at his book and consequent BBC documentary “How buildings learn“, an extraordinarily documented exhibition of his views on modernist architecture written (at first) and filmed (right after) sublimely. Le Corbusier, Gehry, Buckminster Fuller… you’d all better run for your lifes as Brand gives a strong voice to all those perplexities that half of the world had (and still has) when staring at some of the most celebrated buildings disseminated the world over. They might be beautiful, but are they truly functional? Brand is a Master Beautiful Thinker and your brain’s clogs will tinker much better after having met his work.

Originally published at on October 1, 2016.