In Sculpting Space, as the name suggests, the architect has converted his interests and knowledge in the sculpting of art and spaces into this book for other architects or clients to learn. In this book, several houses are designed and built for different clients each with its unique requirements. The author hopes to inspire the readers of this book to find their sculpted form to inspire their spirit.

Sculpting Spaces is a discovery of a large number of architectural styles, each describing the process of designing a customized residential space. This book does not talk about how but mainly talks of why the houses which have been mentioned came into existence. 

In this book, the author who is also an architect talks about some of his works in residential buildings and mentions how each of his works is a result of a unique portrayal of the client’s needs as well as personality. The author through this book has described the relationship between art and architecture. He has now and again mentioned that art and architecture are not parallel but entwined. 

Book in Focus Sculpting Space by Barry A. Berkus
Sculpting Space_©

Each of his buildings mentioned in the book has a striking feature that adds an artistic element to the structure. The architect has focused on some of his works and has highlighted some important features with the help of this book. The houses mentioned in the book are all built or proposed in The United States of America from the years 1965 to 2002 (year of publishing). Two of the houses from the fifteen mentioned in the book are his own houses. 

He mentions the wishes of the clients before his concept because he is a firm believer that the process of designing is a collaborative process with the client. For him, the client-architect relationship is an important part of the process as it leads to the creation of new ideas for both client and the architect. He has never seen the client as an opposition to his ideas but as an opportunity to create something different. 

Before the individual description of the houses, the author-architect has talked about his principles while designing. He has said that designing a private residence is more complex than the public spaces because the client who is using that space is in direct contact and the architect has a responsibility towards them to fulfil the needs. 

He has sculpted spaces and given a new definition to positive and negative spaces and organic and geometric plans. Junctions create interesting spaces and were the discovery that he used in all his works. He has treated the building as a sculpture thereby determining such proportions that a stranger looking at it should be provoked to feel the emotions and create a dialogue between them.

This book teaches us how architecture can lift spirits however small the project may be in scale. It helps create a conversation between people or even lifts spirits thereby creating a buzz among the people irrespective of their cultural backgrounds or ethnicities which would not have happened otherwise. 

Through the study of the works of great architects like Le Corbusier by directly visiting the various places helped him establish a certain relation between the old and the new, thus giving more maturity to his work. According to him, a better understanding of the old helps in providing innovative ideas for contemporary designing. 

He has also mentioned in the book that the building when built from the outside intends to define the internal spaces, whereas building from the inside out helps to bring the ideas and thoughts into physical form. His ability to interpret the client’s dreams into reality thus creating a unique architectural statement has been explained by him through the medium of this book. 

As design students, we do not have textbooks but the best part about that is that we have the luxury to read numerous other books from the library. This is a book one must read to understand design. Sculpting Space is a book that explains why houses are designed the way they are. More than the process it focuses on the reasoning. 

The author Barry A. Berkus gives us an insight into the creativity that has been displayed. It offers a large canvas to explore varied ideas for design. His reasoning for each project gives us another way to look at the project. It allows us to look at it from the eye of the creator with more clarity. It teaches the readers how architecture and sculpture can be similar and how they can play a large role in increasing the interaction between the users. Various aspects of architecture like connecting old to new, building from inside out and defining the vision teach a lot about architecture.


Berkus, B.A. (2002). Sculpting space: house design. Mulgrave, Vic.: Images Pub. Group.


Mithila’s curiosity is always keeping her on a lookout for new things to learn. She has a penchant for reading and holds interest in landscape, interiors and history. Along with these interests she’s constantly working on a way to inculcate her love for textiles in her practice.

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