PDR Book Design with Meaning in the Margins


Four Houses: Design for Change

PDR recently had the honor of working with the notable Houston architect and Rice University professor William Cannady—but not on a building—on a book—his book.

Cannady’s Four Houses: Design for Change, was recently published through Architecture at Rice, and featured in the Houston Chronicle. The book presents four homes Cannady designed and lived in over the past several decades. As a result the stories illuminate the multifaceted perspectives of Cannady as a designer, a professor, a business man, and a family man.

The book was over 20 years in the making when PDR joined Cannady’s long list of collaborators. We worked with him to polish the contents and create a design built to showcase the book’s very focused and personal aspect of his life’s work.

A reoccurring theme in Cannady’s work is his tendency to defy convention and seek new ways of working—something for which PDR also has a penchant.

A meaningful storytelling thread in Four Houses was a bit of an experiment. We arranged for Cannady and his former student and current collaborator, New York architect Rob Rogers, to sit down over a meal, talk about the houses, and reflect on their significance. The recorded conversation became a thoughtful addition in the margins of the book, weaving the stories of the four houses together in new ways from beginning to end.

The Chronicle noted, “Perhaps the most important thread in the book came to the native Texan after his writing was done. He was having lunch with a former student, New York architect Rob Rogers, who commented that the manuscript showed that Cannady wasn't afraid of major change.”

We are honored to have played a role in bringing Cannady’s stories together in Four Houses: Design for Change, and look forward to his next endeavor—House Five?

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