DAM Selects the Top 10 Architectural Books of 2016

DAM Selects the Top 10 Architectural Books of 2016

The Frankfurt Book Fair and Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) have announced the results of the 2016 International DAM Architectural Book Award, their annual list of the ten best architectural books published in the past year.

This year, books were selected from 214 entries and 88 international publishers, based on criteria such as design content, quality of material and finishing, innovation, and topicality. The winning books feature a wide range of topics and graphic styles, and feature projects from all over the world.

Find the top 10 and additional shortlisted books below.

DAM Selects the Top 10 Architectural Books of 2016 - More Images+ 16

DAM Architectural Book Award 2016 Winners

African Modernism - The Architecture of Independence. Ghana, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia 

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: Park Books
Edited by: Manuel Herz
Authors: Manuel Herz, Ingrid Schröder, Hans Focketyn, Julia Jamrozik
Design: Marie Lusa
Photography/illustration: Iwan Baan, Alexia Webster

The book presents 80 Modernist structures in five countries, Ghana, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Kenya and Zambia, which were built in the 1960s and 1970s, the first years of independence, when people’s hopes were at their highest. And to our eyes they seem unfamiliar and new, even though some of their architects were from Europe. Remarkable discoveries, our usual image of Africa with all its disasters and misery is transformed to one veering towards cool mid-century Modernism.

© Uwe Dettmar

Dieter Kienast -Stadt und Landschaft lesbar machen (Dieter Kienast - Readable City and Landscape)

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: gta Verlag
Authors: Anette Freytag
Design: Büro 146. Valentin Hindermann, Madeleine Stahel, Maike Hamacher with Tiziana Artemisio and Barbara Hoffmann
Photography/illustrations: Georg Aerni, Christian Vogt

In “Stadt und Landschaft lesbar Machen” Anette Freytag vividly breaks down how design, theory, and presentation are interwoven in Dieter Kienast’s work, and how the latter is a combination of artistic, scientific, intellectual, and social aspects (gta Verlag). This makes the book clearly different from existing illustrated books.

© Uwe Dettmar

Habitat Marocain Documents - Dynamics Between Formal and Informal Housing

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: Park Books
Edited by: Sascha Roesler
Author: Jean Hentsch, Udo Kultermann, Sascha Roesler, André Studer, Theres Studer
Design: Adrian Ehrat
Category: Construction history monograph

This is an evolutionary building monograph on a small series of three settlements built towards the end of the French colonial era (1954-56) in Casablanca, Morocco, by the two young Swiss architects Jean Hentsch and André Studer. They built a structuralist masterpiece, which attempted to adopt approaches to regional vernacular architecture and enable future transformations of the rigid structure. This approach can be followed by means of the architects’ very historical looking travel photos of the country at that time. The actual transformations that occurred during the next 60 years are then shown, and thus the life of these structures, revealing a typical dilemma of well-meaning Westerners, whose cultural prejudices collide with the residents’ actual living habits.

© Uwe Dettmar

Housing Cairo: The Informal Response

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: Ruby Press
Author: Marc Angélil, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes u.a.
Design: Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Something Fantastic (Julian Schubert, Elena Schütz, Leonard Streich)
Photography: Students on the Master of Advanced Studies in Urban Design course at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich 

Housing Cairo documents the aspect of informal urbanization in this metropolis with 20 million inhabitants. The book is the result of a Master’s course (Master of Advanced Studies in Urban Design at ETH Zurich) supervised by Marc Angélil, and using photographs and plans traces the city’s historical development through to the present day. Taking a district on the west bank of the Nile as an example, the methods of construction used in the very dense cluster is analyzed using photos and drawings.

© Uwe Dettmar

Das leichte Haus. Utopie und Realität der Membranarchitektur (The Light House. The Utopia and Reality of Membrane Architecture)

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: Spector Books
Author: Walter Scheiffele
Published by: Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau
Design: Ludovic Balland Typography Cabinet, Basel, Siri Bachmann

The author Walter Scheiffele bases his publication on the 1926 book “Der Raum als Membran” by Siegfried Ebeling (1894–1963). At that time the latter developed his theory of biological architecture. On the basis of Ebeling’s biography, the books relates the history of lightweight construction and the theories behind it. It ranges from the Glass Chain and Bruno Taut, Paul Scheerbart, Hermann Finsterlin, and Hugo Junkers’ metal building projects, to Frei Otto and Werner Sobek. Interviews with contemporary architects were conducted and feature in the book.

© Uwe Dettmar

Manual of Section

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Author: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis
Edited by: Sara Stemen, Jennifer Lippert
Design: Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis

The idea is so surprisingly obvious that one really wonders why no one ever thought of it until now: 62 buildings from the 20th century are presented in freshly drawn cross-sections (strictly speaking: cross-section perspectives). These cross-sections reveal not only the spatial qualities in each case, but also provide information about the way the edifices are constructed. Walls and floors are literally cut open, revealing some surprises: Who knew that Le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamps is far less solid than previously thought? Insights resulting from the method behind the cross-section make the book a textbook, which all architecture students ought to consult from their very first semester on. It contains a wealth of discoveries about structures that are seemingly familiar and have often featured in publications, which makes close study along the edges of the cross-sections a pleasure.

© Uwe Dettmar

Nadogradnje - Urban Self-Regulation in Post-Yugoslav Cities

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: M BOOKS
Authors: Martin Düchs, Monika Grubbauer, Hanna Hilbrandt, Vladimir Kulić, Sven Quadflieg, Dubravka Sekulić
Edited by: Sven Quadflieg, Gregor Theune
Design: Sven Quadflieg
Photography: Gregor Theune

Based on a series of photos by Gregor Theune, this book addresses the phenomenon of adding stories to and extending existing residential buildings, as well as the continued construction of their type in the successor states to former Yugoslavia (“Nadogradnje”). It presents a good two dozen of these photographs, which are peculiarly fascinating: Time and again stories are added to pre-fabricated buildings form the socialist era – not infrequently in the form of timber-clad huts with gable roofs.

© Uwe Dettmar

The Other Architect. Another Way of Building Architecture

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: Spector Books/CCA
Edited by: Giovanna Borasi
Design: Jonathan Hares

“Architecture as production of ideas” (Mirko Zardini)

This exhibition catalog, which was produced in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Architecture, is about “The Other Architect”, in other words not about forms of architecture and the classic production of architecture, but about how new spaces and laboratories for working and reflecting in can be created outside traditional structures and beyond built edifices. It is not about building or buildings, but about thinking. The book is a collection of some 20 examples dating from the 1960s to the present day. They include, for example, the international ILAUD Group, IAUS in New York, and Forensic Architecture from London.

© Uwe Dettmar

This is Frank Lloyd Wright

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Edited by: Liz Faber
Author: Ian Volner
Design: Laurence King Publishing, Art Director Angus Hyland
Illustrations: Michael Kirkham

This short publication is a skillful mixture of a monograph about the legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright that by all means deserves to be taken seriously, and an entertaining closer look at a highly colorful character – an esteemed teacher, failed businessman, bon viveur. Even Wright’s extravagant dress style gets a mention. Short articles, sumptuous illustrations, and a cover made of hard cardboard give “This is Frank Lloyd Wright” the appearance of a children’s book. It is a clever disguise for a successful introduction to the work of one of the greatest architects of recent times – educational literature at its best.

© Uwe Dettmar

Völlig losgelöst - Architektur der 1970er- und 1980er-Jahre in der Nordwestschweiz und den grenznahen Regionen (Completely Detached - Architecture of the 1970s and 1980s in Northwest Switzerland and Border Regions)

© Uwe Dettmar

Publisher: Park Books
Authors: Christian Flierl, Ulrike Jehle-Schulte Strathaus, Roger Ehret
Design: Andreas Hidber
Photographer: Christian Flierl

Apart from the title “Völlig losgelöst”, which refers a to chapter of Pop music from the 1970s and 1980s, in terms of format and design this work initially appears to be a classic illustrated book. The book has recent architectural photographs of buildings from the era to which its slightly attention-grabbing refers. Using an extremely calm visual idiom and desaturated colors, Christian Flierl photographs buildings of which we are hardly still aware. Pleasantly short interviews by Ulrike Jehle-Schulte Strathaus and other authors, as well as a historical context help the reader understand this era and accept its aesthetics long after. Given the compelling nature of its content, theme, and style, this book deserves to keep on being perused and discovered.

© Uwe Dettmar

DAM Architectural Book Award 2016 Shortlist


  • The Architectural Heritage of Sri Lanka (Publisher: Talisman Publishing)
  • Architecture Reading Aid Ahmedabad (Ruby Press)
  • Designing TWA - Eero Saarinens Airport Terminal in New York (Park Books)
  • Himmel aus Beton - Gisela Erlacher (Park Books)
  • Martin Rauch, Gebaute Erde – Gestalten & Konstruieren mit Stampflehm (DETAIL)
  • Stadtbilderklärer Gera-Lusan (Mitteldeutscher Verlag)
  • SUDU: Research / Manual (Ruby Press)
  • Up Up: Stories of Johannesburg´s Highrises (Hatje Cantz)
  • Veduten der Normalstadt (Franz Schiermeier Verlag)

The award ceremony will be held on October 19, 2016 in the library at Deutsches Architekturmuseum and all winning books will be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair from October 20 to 23, 2016.

This year the external jury comprised: Werner Huthmacher (photographer), Torsten Köchlin (designer), Karoline Mueller-Stahl (lector, author), Christoph Scheffer (arts editor hr-iNFO radio), Martin Seelinger (architect, treasurer of The Society of the Friends of Deutsches Architekturmuseum).

The internal jurors were: Peter Cachola Schmal (Director, DAM), Annette Becker (curator, DAM), Oliver Elser (curator, DAM), Christina Budde (curator, architecture education at DAM \ coordination, DAM Architectural Book Award 2016).

News via DAM.

Image gallery

See allShow less
About this author
Cite: Patrick Lynch. "DAM Selects the Top 10 Architectural Books of 2016" 17 Oct 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/797518/dam-selects-the-top-10-architectural-books-of-2016> ISSN 0719-8884

© unsplash user Kazuend. Licensed under CC0


You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.