25 Free Architecture Books You Can Read Online

If you don’t have access to an library (and even if you do), sifting through shelves can take hours. Buying books can be even more painful — for your wallet, at least. Instead, why not browse this list of 25 books that are all free and easily accessible online? Some are well-known classics of , but we hope you find a few surprises as well.

This Temporary Treetop Hotel Lets You Sleep “With the Birds”

Chinese architecture firm Penda, known for their ecologically sensitive designs, has redesigned the tent in a bold new way for the AIM “Legend Of The Tent” Competition. Their proposal, ”One With The Birds,” is a flexible and structure that integrates sleeping pods into the forest canopy. Inspired by Native American Tipis, which are moveable and reusable, the structure, made from bamboo sticks latched together with rope, leaves no impact on the site nor causes any harm to the bamboo itself. 

A mock-up of the project will soon be installed as a temporary hotel. According to the architects, “after the temporary hotel is deconstructed, the materials can be reused as scaffolding on a construction site or reused as another temporary hotel on a different location.”

Learn more about this remarkable structure, after the break.

GIFs Turn Architecture Into Animated Art

Axel de Stampa has shared with us his awesome series of Architecture Animée (Animated Architecture), which turn architecture from SANAA, Herzog and de Meuron, MAD Architects and more into amazing, zany gifs. See all nine after the break!

VIDEO: Kengo Kuma on Architecture, Materials And Music

In Kengo Kuma’s work you may see influences of light, transparency and . But when visiting the Woodbury School of Architecture in San Diego, Kengo Kuma shared a few of his not so apparent influences, from Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn to jazz music. Make sure to view “Knowing Kuma” to see the architect’s definition of architecture, materials and more.

VIDEO: Inside A Data Center, The Architecture Of The Cloud

Have you ever wondered where your information goes when you save it to “The Cloud”? The answer is within giant data centers. According to reports, Facebook and Google’s data centers resemble something from Science Fiction, while some could come straight from a Bond flick. In a new short film named Machine, Filmmaker and Visual artist Timo Arnall takes us where few have been granted access, showing the world what “The Cloud” really is – a massive architectural space with extreme energy demands. To experience the power surging and hear the deafening hum of a , check out the trailer above.

Architects: Leave Fashion to the Experts

Zaha Hadid has recently launched a new line of swimwear for Viviona. Image Courtesy of Viviona

Le Corbusier donned signature glasses; Frank Gehry designed footwear; early twentieth-century architect Adolf Loos even wrote “Why A Man Should Be Well-Dressed.” Now Zaha Hadid is making her way into swimwear. But are the nuances of fashion too much for architects to dip their feet into? Read the full article at the Telegraph.

Gensler, LOT-EK to Design Google’s Showroom of Floating Shipping Containers

© James Martin/CNET

UPDATE: The SF Gate reports that the architects of the Google Barge have now been revealed to be San Francisco-based firm Gensler and New York-based LOT-EK, a firm with experience adapting shipping containers for retail design. 

A mysterious construction project in the San Francisco Bay has been making waves for the past couple of weeks. Moored off Treasure Island, locals apparently refer to it as ‘the secret project’ – and, until now, that’s about as much as was known about it.

Despite months of rumors and complete radio silence from Google, spokespeople have finally released a statement on the project, stating: “Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. Although it’s still early days and things may change, we’re exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.”

While it’s a shame about the dinosaur, Google’s expansion into technology retail is possibly even more intriguing, as it’s entirely new turf for the company: retail design.

More info and an artist’s rendering of what the barge could look like, after the break…

Round Up: China’s Next Generation of Museums

Guangdong Museum / Rocco Design Architects. Image © Marcel Lam

Although it went largely unnoticed until Wang Shu was awarded the Pritzker Prize, China’s going through a major cultural boom. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal notes that, since 2012, hundreds of (often privately established) cultural institutions have popped up across the country, honouring everything from the famous Terracotta Soldiers to the local city planning department. We’ve rounded up a couple of these projects for your pleasure: Jean Nouvel‘s winning design for the National Art Museum, Steven Holl‘s mind-warping Sifang Museum, the seemingly extra-terrestrial Ordos City + Art Museum by MAD Architects, Trace Architecture Office‘s small museum of handcraft paper in the countryside, and a regional museum by Rocco Design Architects that takes inspiration from traditional Chinese lacquered boxes. Enjoy!

Is there a Future for India’s Stepwells?

Tourists in India dutifully make the rounds, visiting the spectacular temples, palaces, and forts the country has to offer. But, even when they’re practically under their feet, people often forget about stepwells, the massive subterranean (up to ten stories) structures that dot the Indian landscape.

As this video explains, , first constructed around 300 CE, were born out of a need to dependably collect and store water. They boast highly complex circulation and ornamentation, and over the years have evolved to function also as community centres and temples. But, as journalist Victoria Lautman has pointed out, with the spread of industrialisation and drought (not to mention widespread demolition), stepwells are slowly becoming derelict. 

What is Architecture? Steven Holl Describes It In Four words

© ArchDaily

While artists work from the real to the abstract, architects must work from the abstract to the real.“ 

Taking on no easy task, Steven Holl has set out to define , with a capital “A” – in just four words. His article, featured in the Critics Page of The Brooklyn Rail, is part of a series of short writings by artists and architects. Read What is Architecture? by Steven Holl.

5 Robots Revolutionizing Architecture’s Future

Rob/Arch Rotterdam Workshop

Robots fascinate us. Their ability to move and act autonomously is visually and intellectually seductive. We write about them, put them in movies, and watch them elevate menial tasks like turning a doorknob into an act of technological genius. For years, they have been employed by industrial manufacturers, but until recently, never quite considered seriously by architects. Sure, some architects might have let their imaginations wander, like Archigram did for their “Walking City”, but not many thought to actually make with robots. Now, in our age of digitalization, virtualization, and automation, the relationship between architects and robots seems to be blooming…check it out.

Keep reading to see five new robots making architecture.

Telecom Central / Architecture +

© Paul McCredie

Architects: Architecture +
Location: Wellington,
Design Team: Stuart Gardyne, Stephen Poulopoulos, Michael Bennett, Andrew Camberis, Iain Hibbard, Arnie Makan, Nick Whiting, Claudio Holzer, Mervyn Rothwell, Ben Crichton, Lucy McAuliffe, Bridget White, Kim Manford, Rachel Logie, Kirsty Chamberlain, Craig Thomson
Area: 35,000 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Paul McCredie

Batman & Architecture: The Dark Knight Rises and Gotham’s Buildings Fall

There is no other comic saga more influenced by than . Gotham, and the fictional architects that built the city, have been main characters since the first plots. Writer and architect Jimmy Stamp describes in these essay the fascinating architectural references and metaphors that have filled Batman stories for the last 60 years.

Batman, Gotham City, and an Overzealous Architecture Historian With a Working Knowledge of Explosives

By Jimmy Stamp

New York, Dubai, Tokyo, Moscow, Gotham. Every city in every atlas—real and fictional— has a unique character shaped by history and geography. More than a mere sense of place derived from architecture and planning, cities have a feeling that pervades the consciousness of those who live there until themselves become a a piece of the urban fabric, a fractional embodiment of the city itself. Perhaps more than any other person—real or fictional—Batman is integrally linked to his city, the city he has sworn to protect. In every sense of the word, he is a true avatar of Gotham. And Gotham City itself is an avatar, not only of the dreams of its fictional architects, but of our collective urban paranoia.

Read the full post after the break

Te Wharewaka / architecture +

Courtesy of +

Architects: architecture +
Location: , New Zealand
Design Team: Stuart Gardyne, Michael Bennett, Chris Hay, Damon Peachey, Erini Kaldelis, Nick Whiting, Kirsty Chamberlain, Todd Allen, Belinda Tuohy, Iain Hibbard, Janie Morris, Craig Thompson, Andrew Camberis
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: sqm
Photographs: Paul McCredie, Grant Sheehan

City Gallery / architecture +

© Patrick Reynolds

Architects: architecture +
Location: , New Zealand
Team: Stuart Gardyne, Michael Bennett, Arnie Makan, Damon Peachey, Belinda Tuohy, Nick Whiting, Chloe Phelps, Rachel Logie
Proyect Year: 2009
Photographs: Patrick Reynolds

Explore Chicago’s Best Architecture

© http://www.openhousechicago.org/

Ever wanted to get a behind the scenes look at some of the most interesting buildings in Chicago? If you are an architecture enthusiast, student, or just curious about what all the hype is about, this weekend is your opportunity to experience the best that Chicago has to offer. From October 15-16, 2011, the Chicago Architecture Foundation will be hosting openhousechicago 2011 – which is free and open to the public. The primary themes for OHC are sustainability and community, with an emphasis on how buildings can achieve energy efficiency, and how brings people and places together in a holistic manner.

Click here for a complete mapping of all the buildings available to explore.

References: www.openhousechicago.org

Video: Monty Python Architecture Comedy Sketch

YouTube Preview Image

This sketch comedy by Monty Python is sure to produce some laughs. For all the architects and students out there,  you will undoubtedly be able to relate to this situation. Whether it is when you are presenting to crits for studio review or as architects pitching your idea to developers.