The Architecture of Life: May 2008

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Friday, May 23, 2008

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You!

Okay, I am excited!

Sam Gosling's book is shipping from a week ahead of schedule. I got an advance copy and it is great!

I'm writing a review for my little newspaper. I will post the review when I get it done, but suffice it to say it will be a rave.

I think it will be a great success because it teaches the reader an important skill that can be applied to everyday to become an expert Snoopologist.

Snoopology - as defined by Sam's dry British wit - is the science of snooping through people homes, offices and environments in order to identify clues to their personality and character.

It is filled with the latest scientific research about personality - including many ground-breaking studies by Sam and his collaborators - but from a commercial point of view I am certain it will be a great success simply because it taps into the endemic human needs to gossip about other people.

Talk about a literary gold mine!

Sam is a brilliant researcher and a charismatic person, but as it turns out, he can write too! Who knew? The book is aimed at a general market, not just academics. It is intelligent, witty and fun...but doesn't sell out the science. I highly recommend it.

And just to prove that my obsessive need to self promote has not suddenly is an excerpt from the last chapter, which is about - of all things - my own Truehome Workshop!

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"Travis, a builder and designer who also heads up an architecture firm, contacted me when he heard about my snooping studies because he recognized the connections between his work and my research.

"I am interested in how people’s personalities leave their imprint on the spaces in which they live, and he is interested in creating homes perfectly matched to his clients’ personalities.

"I soon discovered that Travis is no ordinary builder. Over the last twelve years he has been developing an innovative system, which he calls the Truehome Workshop, to help people identify their emotional and psychological associations to places and to integrate those associations into the design of their houses.

"In a sense, Travis is focusing on the processes I have been studying—identity claims, self-regulators, and behavioral residue—and taking them to the extreme.

"I look at how people affect their existing spaces with their deliberate and inadvertent reflections of who they are—putting up posters, playing mellow jazz, leaving magazines scattered across the floor.

"Travis goes to a whole new level.

"He doesn’t wait until people move to a new place and then use posters and music and magazines to shoehorn their personalities into it.

"He considers people’s personalities so early in the design process that he can make the house fit the occupants, not the other way around.

"When I visited Travis and looked at some of the plans he had created for his clients’ houses, I quickly saw how his understanding of the functions of a living space differs from that of a conventional architect.

"One plan was stretched out on a long table. Whereas a conventional architect might use labels such as family room, back porch, and master bedroom, Travis’s labels denote the feelings each space must evoke for the home’s owners.

"Here the kitchen was labeled “warmth and companionship,” the dining area “friendship,” the pantry “abundance,” the master bath “rejuvenation,” the laundry area “productivity,” the gun room “safety and adventure,” the rear porch “friendship,” the front porch “community,” the living room “relaxation and family,” and the master bedroom “privacy, passion, and reflection.'"

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That's all you get for free. If you want to read more, you should just go buy the book.

Here is the link on to Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You. You won't be sorry.

And of course, neither will I. (heh heh) Check back later for the full review.

Design Anthropology Explained!

Dori Tunstall just published an article at the Adobe Think Tank website about Design Anthropology that bears reading by anyone interested in the subjects being discussed on this blog.

Dr. Elizabeth "Dori" Tunstall is an Associate Professor of Design Anthropology at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in the School of Art and Design. I met her because she was looking for people from a variety of disciplines for a panel at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association next November.

She is a leader in field of Design Anthropology and teaches Research Methods for Art and Design and critical design and governance courses. She has worked for Sapient, Arc Worldwide, and AIGA's Design for Democracy and holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University.

I suggest you check it out. It is a great synopsis of the possibility provided by that approach to the human-environment interface.

Great work, Dori!