Now that we are halfway through the year, what better time to prioritize your reading list? Whether you’re interested in the history of interior design, the relationship between architecture and health, or learning more about the 20th century’s forgotten architects, Metropolis editors have selected a variety of current and forthcoming titles that will be sure to get you through 2021.
Architecture Books: The Latest Architecture and News
Funded by Andrew W. Mellon and the National Endowment for the Humanities foundations as part of the Open Book Program, a collection of classic books, published between 1964 and 1998 are now available online as open access e-books through the MIT Press Open Architecture and Urban Studies book collection.
The author or editor of over twenty books, Michael Sorkin was a renowned architect, urbanist, and writer. Principal and founder of Michael Sorkin Studios and president of the non-profit research group Terreform, a nonprofit urban research and advocacy center, Sorkin was especially famous for his writings for the Village Voice and the Nation. The Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at the City College of New York who passed away earlier this year due to complications resulting from COVID-19 wrote the forward for Miró Rivera’s Monograph Miró Rivera Architects: Building a New Arcadia.
Sharing your shelf is, in a way, sharing yourself. Every element —from the titles you choose to the way you organize them— says something about your personality and your interests.
The most recent edition of The Cathedrals of England brings to a new generation the classic 1930s Batsford guide to England’s religious architecture. Concisely written and speaking to a broad readership, the book serves as a practical guide today as it did almost a century ago, acting as a reference catalogue for every Church of England cathedral in the country at the time.
For more than a century, architects have been addressing the world as a project through speculative designs in an attempt to imagine the future and reframe global issues. Globalisation, the ever-increasing interconnectedness demands action on a worldwide scale and invites a reflection on the profession's responsibilities. The latter is precisely what the book The World as an Architectural Project achieves, through a compilation of world-scale speculative projects of the past century, making a compelling case for the agency of architecture.
Architecture has deep wells of research, thought, and theory that are unseen on the surface of a structure. For practitioners, citizens interested, and students alike, books on architecture offer invaluable context to the profession, be it practical, inspirational, academic, or otherwise. So, for those of you looking to expand your bookshelf (or confirm your own tastes), ArchDaily has gathered a broad list of architectural books that we consider of interest to those in the field.
In compiling this list, we sought out titles from different backgrounds with the aim of revealing divergent cultural contexts. From essays to monographs, urban theory to graphic novels, each of the following either engage directly with or flirt on the edges of architecture.
The books on this list were chosen by our editors, and are categorized loosely by type. Read on to see the books we consider valuable to anyone interested in architecture | Last updated in December 2019.
Erieta Attali has devoted two decades to exploring the relationship between architecture and the landscape at the edges of the world. Attali’s photography interrogates how extreme conditions and demanding terrains provoke humankind to re-orient and center itself through architectural responses. Her unrelenting and highly physical expedition has seen her traverse four continents, working in isolated and remote terrains from Iceland to the Indian Ocean.
The MIT Press, in collaboration with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is set to digitize landmark out-of-print architecture and urban studies books published by the MIT Press, making them freely accessible online for discovery and research. Aided by a $157,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MIT Press are enabled to digitize a collection of “image-rich and intellectually prized architecture and urban studies titles” complete with the commissioning of new forewords for the works. Following the project’s completion, MIT Press intends to distribute a minimum of 25 titles for free on several platforms, including its own ebook service.
Among the titles to be released are Francoise Choay’s “The Rule and the Model: On the Theory of Architecture and Urbanism,” which links modern theory with classical and Renaissance architecture, and John Templer’s “The Staircase,” regarded as the first theoretical and historical analysis of the elemental stair. Books on the subject of famous architects will also be released, such as Donald Leslie Johnson’s “Frank Lloyd Wright vs. America: The 1930s” and Grant Hildebrand’s “On Leon Battista Alberti: His Literary and Aesthetic Theories.”
Everyone knows that becoming an architect translates to a lot of time in front of a computer screen, or on-site or in the model shop—or waiting for renders to finish. But we also know that being a good architect is about much more; truly savvy architects and really thoughtful projects often spring from strong theoretical, philosophical or practical trains of thought (and they are not always directly inspired by architecture itself!).
Have you registered for your free library card? If you haven't, you're missing out on some serious perks! The Internet Archive has a lending feature that allows users to electronically "borrow" books for 14 days. With over 2,000 borrowable books on architecture, patrons from across the globe can read works by Reyner Banham, Walter Gropius, Ada Louise Huxtable and Jonathan Glancey. There are also helpful guides, dictionaries and history books.