Publications: books

Chris Abel's earliest writings were published in the Architectural Association Quarterly whilst he was still a student at the AA School of Architecture. He has kept up a steady stream of publications ever since, including many books and over one hundred and forty papers and essays, most of them in international journals or monographs on leading architects. The latter include keynote essays and numerous other contributions to all six volumes of the definitive series on Norman Foster's practice by Prestel.

Most recently, his book, The Extended Self - Architecture, Memes and Minds, (2015) won the International Committee of Architectural Critics' (CICA) 2017 Bruno Zevi Book Award. His latest book, the third edition of his collected essays, Architecture and Identity - Responses to Cultural and Technological Change (2017), also made it to the shortlist for another CICA Award, which are given every three years in conjunction with the Congress of the International Union of Architects (UIA).

The author's other major books are listed below. Extracts from selected essays and other publications may also be viewed here.


Buy

Architecture And Identity: Responses To Cultural And Technological Change


2017, Routledge (3rd edition), 416 pages

"Architecture and Identity is a classic. The first edition established it as the textbook for the connection between these two important arenas of popular interest. This third edition includes a masterful addition to the original text, one that not only takes the larger cultural discourses seriously, but building on earlier essays also reflects on and contextualises the present moment in the history of the built environment." Nezar AlSayyad, University of California Berkeley

"The impressive breadth of these collected essays from Chris Abel draws out the intellectual ground necessary to bring our ever-fresh obsession with technology in architecture, into the historical and cultural frame it desperately needs. For anyone interested in actually understanding the radical responses of architecture to the changing times, Abel offers a powerfully argued perspective built over many years of reflection that is more relevant than ever." Anthony Burke, University of Technology Sydney

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The Extended Self: Architecture, Memes and Minds

Winner of the CICA 2017 Bruno Zevi Book Award


2015, Manchester University Press, 378 pages.

"No single discipline has the answer to the world's environmental crisis and Chris brings an encyclopaedic knowledge to bear on its origins, exploring the concept of the extended self through philosophy, literature, genetics, architecture and cybernetics, weaving his way through many more subjects and issues to expound his theory."Norman Foster

"A wide ranging, and intellectually deep, exploration of ideas relating to memetics and the transmission of culture. That, in turn, provokes comparisons between the mechanisms of biological evolution and those of cultural change and influence. Abel handles all this with relish."Russell Blackford, Journal of Evolution & Technology

"It would be hard to imagine reading The Extended Self and not coming away with new directions for future research."Joshua August Skorburg, Journal of Environmental Philosophy

"Throughout The Extended Self Abel does a masterful job coordinating a considerable range of concepts and resources in an organised and compelling manner."Andrew Grosso, Tradition & Discovery; The Polanyi Society Journal

A powerful and provocative exploration of the implications of recent theories of embodiment and extended cognition, and it rightfully turns them away from the classical cognitive science preoccupation with problem solving onto the phenomenon of problem creation, thereby implicating ethical questions on the broadest scale."Suraj Sood and Lisa Osbeck, Journal of Theory & Psychology

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The Reichstag
With Norman Foster


2012, Prestel, 96 pages

The transformation of the Reichstag is one of the most symbolically charged projects of recent decades, marking the reunification of Germany and the relocation of the parliament to Berlin.From the book cover

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Carre d’ Nimes’
With Norman Foster


2015, Prestel, 96 pages

"The Carre d'Art shows how a building project, backed by an enlightened political initiative, can provide a powerful catalyst for reinvigorating the fabric of a city."From the book cover

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Beijing International Airport
With Norman Foster


Prestel, 2010 96 pages

In text and illustrations, this book shows what makes the International Terminal of the Beijing Airport a standard for all others to follow."From the book cover

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Architecture, Technology and Process


Architectural Press, 2004, 268 pages.

Drawing upon a wide range of knowledge and disciplines, the author argues that underlying technological changes in the process of architectural production are of fundamental importance to the way we think about machines and the world we live in.From the book cover

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Norman Foster: Works 1-6
Introductions and essays


2004-2013, Prestel, 400 pages

Norman Foster: Works' is a comprehensive, multi-volume survey of a remarkable career, which explores the evolution of the Foster studio, decade by decade, from its formation in 1960 to the present....Bringing together contributions from noted commentators on architecture alongside essays and observations from Norman Foster and his colleagues in the practice, Norman Foster: Works provides the definitive account of an exceptional body of work.From the book cover

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Sky High: Vertical Architecture


Royal Academy of Arts, 2003, 120 pages.

"Published to accompany 'Sky High', a skyscraper show curated by Norman Foster within the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition, this striking book traces the evolution of vertical architecture around the world. An incisive text and numerous colour illustrations survey early iconic skyscrapers in America, the changing skylines of the Pacific Rim and the most recent energy-efficient towers in Europe, examining how attitudes towards tall buildings are changing."From the book cover

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Harry Seidler: Houses and Interiors, Vols 1 & 2


Introductions, Images Publishing, 2003, 144 pages

"Many of the houses will be familiar to older generations of architects who graduated in the 1950s and 60s and who eagerly devoured Seidler's designs as part of modernism's essential repertoire of domestic architecture. However, to younger designers around the world who are now shaking off the worst excesses of postmodernism, these houses will come as a revelation: products of an earlier, alternative modernism that was respectful of its locality as well as expressive of its time. As such, both Seidler's work and career demand renewed and close examination."From the author's introduction to Vol 1

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Architecture and Identity (Chinese edn)


China Architecture and Building Press, 2003, 320 pages
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Architecture and Identity:
Responses to Cultural and Technological Change


Architectural Press (2nd edition), 2000, 288 pages.

"Chris Abel is a nomad in the intellectual as well as in the geographical sense...The result is always unconventional and challenging, and sometimes impressively prescient."Colin Davies, The Architectural Review

"Where [Abel] really scores is with his discussions of regional architecture in far-flung parts of the world, pointing out the need to understand overseas cultures in their own terms."Andrew Ballantyne, Times Literary Supplement

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Architecture and Identity:
Towards a Global Eco-Culture


Architectural Press, 1997, 264 pages.

"Chris Abel approaches the subject of architecture and its relation to social and cultural identities from a wide range of knowledge, including cybernetics, philosophy, new human science and development planning, as well as his experience as a teacher and critic on four continents."From the book cover

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Manikata Church: Richard England


Academy Editions, 1995, 80 pages

"Today, Manikata Church stands as a telling rebuke to those architects and commentators who maintain that to communicate, architecture must carry a big sign before it and strike a big drum wherever it goes. As this story shows, the Church communicates the most profound meanings, not always immediately, but in diverse and subtle ways. As such, Manikata Church reminds us of the continuing power of Modern architecture - in the right hands - to surprise us and its critics, with its range and depth and its capacity to meet the most demanding of spiritual as well as material needs."From the author's text

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Renault Centre: Norman Foster


Architecture Design and Technology Press, 60 pages.

"This monograph is a uniquely detailed and authoritative record of the Renault Centre, produced by Chris Abel from the Foster Associates' archives, and photographed and drawn under his supervision. Its illustrated essay, portfolio of large-format photographs (many in full colour), 24 pages of specially drawn technical details, and fact-sheets and bibliography are unlikely ever to be surpassed in a single publication."From the book cover