The Oxide Blog includes contemplations from Charles Holden, key books that have influenced Oxide’s philosophy, and other thoughts.

Stewart Condo - Living Room

Sacred Domestic Space

A sensual modern home tells a story about the people who live inside. When a home reflects the true nature of its occupants, it becomes imbued with meaning. A sensual modern home is designed with a concisely worded concept to communicate ideas at the highest level of clarity. Subtle design features –  the way light […]

Richardson Residence

Architectural Hieroglyphs

Floor plans at their essence are hieroglyphs – a few blunt strokes that appear cut or carved from raw slabs of clay or stone. As plan (or parti) takes on mass, the resulting solids and voids; sculpt light and shadow, foster movement and enclosure, and guide proportion and detail. The hieroglyph reflects and inspires the […]

Alvar Aalto - Villa Mairea

Notes from What I Have Learned, Oxide Points (40123) Charles Fulbright Holden, Architect-Builder, year 37, late July

Long before choosing architecture as a profession, I learned from Tolstoy’s use of “fatherland” in War and Peace, the importance of context; the influence of both the “matter” in and around us and the “patterns” that drive and are driven by us. For me, this duality is mother and father – mater and pater – […]

The Poetics of Space

The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard

Thirty years since its first publication in English, French philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space remains one of the most appealing and lyrical explorations of home. Bachelard takes us on a journey, from cellar to attic, to show how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our thoughts, memories, and dreams. <Purchase>

Wabi Sabi

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional. <Purchase>

Sexual Personae

Sexual Personae: Art & Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia

From ancient Egypt through the nineteenth century, Sexual Personae explores the provocative connections between art and pagan ritual; between Emily Dickinson and the Marquis de Sade; between Lord Byron and Elvis Presley. It ultimately challenges the cultural assumptions of both conservatives and traditional liberals. <Purchase>

A Pattern Language

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander

You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual […]

War and Peace

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Few would dispute the claim of “War and Peace” to be regarded as the greatest novel in any language. This massive chronicle, to which Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) devoted five whole years shortly after his marriage, portrays Russian family life during and after the Napoleonic war. Tolstoy’s faith in life and his piercing insight lend universality […]

North Carolina Architecture

North Carolina Architecture by Catherine Bishir

North Carolina Architecture Catherine Bishir portrays the wide range of architectural heritage from colonial times to the beginning of World War II. North Carolina Architecture addresses the grand public and private buildings that have become familiar landmarks, but it also focuses on the quieter beauty of more common structures: farmhouses, barns, urban dwellings, log houses, mills, factories, […]

The Forgetting Room

Forgetting Room, Nick Bantock

Forgetting Room, Nick Bantock.  The author of the hugely successful Griffin and Sabine trilogy presents a richly illustrated novel chronicling a discontented man’s search for the meaning of the inheritance left him by his grandfather, an artist. <Purchase>