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The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment

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Every time you wheel a shopping cart through one of Walmart’s more than 10,000 stores worldwide, or swipe your credit card or purchase something online, you enter a mind-boggling logistical regime. Even if you’ve never shopped at Walmart, its logistics have probably affected your life. The Rule of Logistics makes sense of its spatial and architectural ramifications by anal Every time you wheel a shopping cart through one of Walmart’s more than 10,000 stores worldwide, or swipe your credit card or purchase something online, you enter a mind-boggling logistical regime. Even if you’ve never shopped at Walmart, its logistics have probably affected your life. The Rule of Logistics makes sense of its spatial and architectural ramifications by analyzing the stores, distribution centers, databases, and inventory practices of the world’s largest corporation. The Rule of Logistics tells the story of Walmart’s buildings in the context of the corporation’s entire operation, itself characterized by an obsession with logistics. Beginning with the company’s founding in 1962, Jesse LeCavalier reveals how logistics—as a branch of knowledge, an area of work, and a collection of processes—takes shape and changes our built environment. Weaving together archival material with original drawings, LeCavalier shows how a diverse array of ideas, people, and things—military theory and chewing gum, Howard Dean and satellite networks, Hudson River School painters and real estate software, to name a few—are all connected through Walmart’s logistical operations and in turn are transforming how its buildings are conceptualized, located, built, and inhabited. A major new contribution to architectural history and theory, The Rule of Logistics helps us understand how retailing today is changing our bodies, brains, buildings, and cities and predicts what future forms architecture might take when shaped by systems that exceed its current capacities.


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Every time you wheel a shopping cart through one of Walmart’s more than 10,000 stores worldwide, or swipe your credit card or purchase something online, you enter a mind-boggling logistical regime. Even if you’ve never shopped at Walmart, its logistics have probably affected your life. The Rule of Logistics makes sense of its spatial and architectural ramifications by anal Every time you wheel a shopping cart through one of Walmart’s more than 10,000 stores worldwide, or swipe your credit card or purchase something online, you enter a mind-boggling logistical regime. Even if you’ve never shopped at Walmart, its logistics have probably affected your life. The Rule of Logistics makes sense of its spatial and architectural ramifications by analyzing the stores, distribution centers, databases, and inventory practices of the world’s largest corporation. The Rule of Logistics tells the story of Walmart’s buildings in the context of the corporation’s entire operation, itself characterized by an obsession with logistics. Beginning with the company’s founding in 1962, Jesse LeCavalier reveals how logistics—as a branch of knowledge, an area of work, and a collection of processes—takes shape and changes our built environment. Weaving together archival material with original drawings, LeCavalier shows how a diverse array of ideas, people, and things—military theory and chewing gum, Howard Dean and satellite networks, Hudson River School painters and real estate software, to name a few—are all connected through Walmart’s logistical operations and in turn are transforming how its buildings are conceptualized, located, built, and inhabited. A major new contribution to architectural history and theory, The Rule of Logistics helps us understand how retailing today is changing our bodies, brains, buildings, and cities and predicts what future forms architecture might take when shaped by systems that exceed its current capacities.

42 review for The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    I remember hearing a comment from an interview where someone said if we want to know what to expect from accelerating artificial intelligence, we should look at corporations as examples. They are vastly more powerful and cognitively sophisticated than individual humans, and their goals, constraints, and strategies are very distant from the biological drives of humans. This book made that idea resonate anew. The extraordinary optimization despite mind-bogglingly complex networks is awe-inspiring, I remember hearing a comment from an interview where someone said if we want to know what to expect from accelerating artificial intelligence, we should look at corporations as examples. They are vastly more powerful and cognitively sophisticated than individual humans, and their goals, constraints, and strategies are very distant from the biological drives of humans. This book made that idea resonate anew. The extraordinary optimization despite mind-bogglingly complex networks is awe-inspiring, and scary in the context of barriers-to-entry. The segments of the book that talk about the machine-directed workflow of pickers also blended the reaction of “wow, that’s cool... what is the trajectory of that trend?”.

  2. 4 out of 5

    calavera

  3. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

  4. 4 out of 5

    Harrison

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tadeas Riha

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nivrith Gomatam

  10. 5 out of 5

    Desdichado

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gale Fulton

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shashwat

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abhijit De

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jaran Arroyo

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Everhart

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dinah Handel

  17. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  18. 4 out of 5

    kye

  19. 4 out of 5

    sara

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael Lascarides

  21. 4 out of 5

    Luke Martin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christa May

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Seynaeve

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eve

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Regan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rad

  27. 5 out of 5

    Fred

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shoto Azikuri

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alastair Kemp

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Peacock

  31. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  32. 4 out of 5

    j.sarr

  33. 5 out of 5

    Dirk

  34. 4 out of 5

    Roshan Shah

  35. 5 out of 5

    Andi

  36. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  37. 5 out of 5

    Ed Summers

  38. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  40. 5 out of 5

    Apatrone

  41. 4 out of 5

    Saskia Scheltjens

  42. 4 out of 5

    Nguyen Truc

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