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Nature and the idea of a man-made world

Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World is – as it says in the subtitle – an investigation into the evolutionary roots of form and order in the built environment. Norman Crowe’s take is an anthropological one: he sees the origins of the built environment in the organic settlements and structures of human history. This natural connection has been lost to modernism, and it is up to contemporary architecture to restore the truly human values in what we build.

The topics discussed include, for instance, the psychological and practical origins of architecture, ideas of harmony, timelessness and nature in Classical architecture compared to Chinese and Japanese conceptions, and organic principles of urban order. Crowe is in search for a balanced world:

Each of us, whether we recognize it or not, acts upon a foundation of some concept of nature. If we want to live in a world that we perceive as balanced, we hold at the back of our minds the notion of an ideal balance between the built world and nature.
— Norman Crowe, Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World, p. 8

The book was published by The MIT Press in 1992. Further information about the contents of this title and a few endorsements are available on the publisher’s website.

The copy for sale is in excellent condition. The dust jacket shows some minor wear, but the pages are as good as new.


Out of stock

Weight 878 g
Dimensions 23,6 × 18,8 × 2,0 cm

Norman Crowe





B&W photographs, drawings




Number of pages



The MIT Press

Publishing year