Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9780226769950 Published April 2021
E-book $21.99 About E-books ISBN: 9780226770017 Published April 2021 Also Available From
E-book Retailers: Apple iBooks B&N Nook Google Play Kobo Library Vendors: EBSCO

The Porch

Meditations on the Edge of Nature

Charlie Hailey

The Porch

Charlie Hailey

224 pages | 6 halftones, 6 line drawings | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2021
Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9780226769950 Published April 2021
E-book $21.99 About E-books ISBN: 9780226770017 Published April 2021
Come with us for a moment out onto the porch. Just like that, we’ve entered another world without leaving home. In this liminal space, an endless array of absorbing philosophical questions arises: What does it mean to be in a place? How does one place teach us about the world and ourselves? What do we—and the things we’ve built—mean in this world? In a time when reflections on the nature of society and individual endurance are so paramount, Charlie Hailey’s latest book is both a mental tonic and a welcome provocation. Solidly grounded in ideas, ecology, and architecture, The Porch takes us on a journey along the edges of nature where the outside comes in, hosts meet guests, and imagination runs wild.
Hailey writes from a modest porch on the Homosassa River in Florida. He sleeps there, studies the tides, listens for osprey and manatee, welcomes shipwrecked visitors, watches shadows on its screens, reckons with climate change, and reflects on his own acclimation to his environment. The profound connections he unearths anchor an armchair exploration of past porches and those of the future, moving from ancient Greece to contemporary Sweden, from the White House roof to the Anthropocene home. In his ruminations, he links up with other porch dwellers including environmentalist Rachel Carson, poet Wendell Berry, writers Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston, philosopher John Dewey, architect Louis Kahn, and photographer Paul Strand.

As close as architecture can bring us to nature, the porch is where we can learn to contemplate anew our evolving place in a changing world—a space we need now more than ever. Timeless and timely, Hailey’s book is a dreamy yet deeply passionate meditation on the joy and gravity of sitting on the porch.


3. AIR



Illustration Credits
Review Quotes
"Masterful. . . . A Sand County Almanac for the Anthropocene. . . . Hailey’s book reaches beyond the merely static facts of history to something more poetic, a place where facts are free to glide against each other."
The Bookseller
"Hailey takes the reader on a journey to find the porch’s place in history, poetry, philosophy, and art."
Robert Pogue Harrison, author of 'Juvenescence'
“Hailey bears daily witness to the subtle vibrations of the natural world that well up from below, drift down from above, or move across his screened porch in the form of air, sound, light, weather, or wing beats. With this book, he fulfills a fundamental requirement of morality—paying attention.”
Juhani Pallasmaa, architect and professor emeritus, Aalto University, Helsinki
The Porch first appears to be a study of a minor architectural element, but it turns into a meditation on the secrets of human existence and the world. This book demonstrates convincingly how even a modest piece of architecture turns into a mediating device that frames, focuses, and articulates our views of reality. This book is a delightful invitation to the joys of reading, imagining, and dreaming.”
Daegan Miller, author of 'This Radical Land'
The Porch displays the best traits of university press books: an enormous body of research, backed by years of careful engagement with intellectual and cultural history, and a faith that the world is worth close consideration. Hailey’s prose is patient and deliberate, the mood reverent and ready for wonder. He has written an extraordinary book—literary and philosophical, sensuous and wise—a book with which to confront our changing world.”
Margaret Renkl, author of 'Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss'
“In a world of deep polarities, Hailey seeks the interstitial spaces where earth meets sky and land meets sea, where birds of the air meet trees dug deep into the soil, where the swimming manatees send their breath out of the water and into the air. As he makes clear in this deeply thoughtful meditation on connection, a porch is a literal entryway that connects the human realm and the natural world, but it is also a metaphor, for Hailey’s porch is exactly where we should all be standing. It is a place where we can see the hard truths of climate change as well as the extravagant beauty it imperils, a place where we can come to understand how inextricably we belong to both.”
David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania
“The weighty intimations of myth on these pages are leavened by the book’s beautifully prosaic and practical accounts of porch architecture. There could hardly be a more timely book when breathing walls, like bodies, are places where experiences of necessity meet those of freedom.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

Chicago Blog: Art and Architecture

Events in Art and Architecture

Keep Informed