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116 Best Architecture Books for Architects and Students

09:30 - 11 September, 2018
116 Best Architecture Books for Architects and Students, © Leandro Fuenzalida | ArchDaily
© Leandro Fuenzalida | ArchDaily

Architecture, while a profession that is very visibly and tangibly realized, has deep wells of research, thought, and theory that are unseen on the surface of a structure. What urges architects to design the way they do? What are their motivations, their affiliations, their interests? For practitioners 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), we have gathered a broad list of 116 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 each of our editors, and are categorized loosely by type. Within their categorization, they are organized alphabetically. Read on to see the books we consider valuable to anyone interested in architecture. 

Home Library Architecture: 63 Smart & Creative Bookcase Designs

06:00 - 20 August, 2018
Home Library Architecture: 63 Smart & Creative Bookcase Designs, Apartamento Riachuelo / 0E1 Arquitetos. Image © Marcelo Donadussi
Apartamento Riachuelo / 0E1 Arquitetos. Image © Marcelo Donadussi

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. 

Images of bookcases have become explosively popular online in recent years, tapping into trends around hygge and #architectureporn. Who wouldn't want to cozy up in a library filled with dusty books and lush plants? But these images typically present bookcases just as a decorative element, superfluous to the actual design of the space. 

Like many things, when architects take on the design of bookcases they can become so much more: recessed and hidden, cantilevered, patterned, embedded...the list goes on! We've rounded up some of the finest examples of bookcases that combine practicality with ingenuity. Read on for more: 

10 Books on Architecture You Can Read Online For Free

09:30 - 12 June, 2018
10 Books on Architecture You Can Read Online For Free

There are few things in this world better than books on architecture, especially when they're available to download for free! Following on from our ever-popular post from 2014, we've gathered up ten more books that cover a broad range of interesting topics—including advice to architecture students from Herman Hertzberger, a look at what sparks the formation and growth of a city, and even a book that offers an in-depth architectural analysis of Alfred Hitchcock's films. Check out the list below!

Listen and Learn: 6 Entrepreneurial Audiobooks to Help You Plan Your Future While You Work

09:30 - 18 May, 2018
Listen and Learn: 6 Entrepreneurial Audiobooks to Help You Plan Your Future While You Work

The way we consume long-form content has transformed drastically in recent years. More and more parts of our everyday lives are now transitioning to new digital mediums to save us time.

If you are the type of person who enjoys plugging into a good hard rock or soft jazz playlist while hammering out those 10 sheets of section details, why not simultaneously gain some knowledge about self-motivation or the latest business tactics? These 6 audiobooks could be just what you need to hear to fuel your inner entrepreneur.

The Best Architecture Reads this Spring: 19 New Books Selected by Metropolis Magazine

09:30 - 12 May, 2018
The Best Architecture Reads this Spring: 19 New Books Selected by Metropolis Magazine, via Metropolis Magazine
via Metropolis Magazine

Metropolis Magazine has released a curated list of 19 new books to read this spring, with topics ranging from the evolution of social housing to Stanley Kubrick's unfilmed masterpiece to a fascinating tome on the architecture of Zionism. Not simply volumes detailing well-tread histories, these chosen titles explore every niche category through the lens of architecture. Ever wondered how Buckminster Fuller inspired six former gang members to construct his geodesic dome? Or what metro stations in North Korea look like?

MIT Press to Make Landmark Architecture Books Freely Accessible Online

16:00 - 30 April, 2018
A selection of out-of-print books are soon to be made available by MIT Press. Image © Niall Patrick Walsh
A selection of out-of-print books are soon to be made available by MIT Press. Image © Niall Patrick Walsh

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.”

Explore These Architecturally Innovative Bookcases

06:00 - 23 April, 2018
Explore These Architecturally Innovative Bookcases, © Ossip van Duivenbode
© Ossip van Duivenbode

At first, books were kept in chests but as they became published in bulk they moved into the cupboard. The doors came off and the bookcase began to evolve. Today, bookcases can be integral architectural elements that shape space and, in some cases, even light. In celebration of International Day of the Book on April 23rd, ArchDaily compiled this round-up of architecturally, innovative bookcases.

Scroll down to see inventive architectural book storage from Alberto Kalach, ARCHSTUDIO, Toyo Ito, and more.

Courtesy of Alberto Kalach © Tsukui Teruaki © Dirk Weiblen © Jaime Navarro + 17

What Books Have Shaped Your Career as an Architect?

06:00 - 26 February, 2018
What Books Have Shaped Your Career as an Architect?, © Mónica Arellano
© Mónica Arellano

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!).

Ice Cold Ornament: Here Are Some Great Reads Paired With Frozen Desserts

04:00 - 30 October, 2017
Ice Cold Ornament: Here Are Some Great Reads Paired With Frozen Desserts, © Ice Cream Books
© Ice Cream Books

Ice Cream Books is a conceptual art project with a rather predictable, if not delightful, output: "great reads paired with frozen desserts." The work is beguilingly simple and stunningly direct – wafer cones act as columns and space frames, ziggurats and buttresses, all supporting popular tomes.

And so, for little other reason than pure gratification—and to ease you into your Monday morning—enjoy these books paired with (largely structurally sound) frozen desserts!

© Ice Cream Books © Ice Cream Books © Ice Cream Books © Ice Cream Books + 13

How the Layout of Urban "Cells" Affects The Function and Success of Neighborhoods

09:30 - 22 August, 2017
How the Layout of Urban "Cells" Affects The Function and Success of Neighborhoods, Courtesy of Robin Renner
Courtesy of Robin Renner

As urban areas develop, each city forms a unique structural logic. With this structure usually conceived on an ad-hoc basis, political terms such as “metropolitan area” and “neighborhood” are not always useful when analyzing and comparing the performance of cities. In a quest for new analytical tools, Robin Renner has devised an anatomically-based classification system in his new book Urban Being: Anatomy & Identity of the City. Through a thoughtful investigation of existing urban areas from around the globe using satellite images and personal experiences, Urban Being offers an insight into how transportation networks and streetscapes can be best organized to promote a healthy metropolitan environment.

Renner’s analysis ranges from macro-regions that can even cross country borders to the defined spaces between arterial roads in cities, which he calls "urban cells." As the neighborhoods and units in which inhabitants reside, urban cells are important when examining the identity and efficiency of a city. They are defined by both their physical properties and the actions that take place inside of them. Below is a small sample of how Renner analyzes urban cells from the book.

Courtesy of Robin Renner Courtesy of Robin Renner Courtesy of Robin Renner Courtesy of Robin Renner + 6

"Parthenon of Books" Constructed from 100,000 Banned Books Rises at Nazi Book Burning Site in Germany

16:45 - 10 July, 2017
"Parthenon of Books" Constructed from 100,000 Banned Books Rises at Nazi Book Burning Site in Germany, <a href='https://www.instagram.com/p/BVz8SkYBdFe/'>Via Instagram</a>
Via Instagram

Argentine artist Marta Minujín has created a full-scale replica of one of the world’s most famous structures, the Parthenon in Athens, constructed out of censored books as a symbol of resistance to political repression. Currently on display at the Documenta 14 art festival in Kassel, Germany, the 100,000 books that make up the monument have been sourced entirely from donations, allowing people from all over the world to contribute titles they feel a personal connection to.

Collaborating with students from Kassel University, Minujín selected more than 170 titles banned in various countries across the world. These books were then strapped to the steel structure with plastic sheeting, protecting them from the elements and allowing sunlight to filter through the building.

This New Book Lets You Fold Your Own Paper Models of Iconic Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings

14:00 - 12 June, 2017
This New Book Lets You Fold Your Own Paper Models of Iconic Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings, Courtesy of Lawrence King Publishing
Courtesy of Lawrence King Publishing

With celebrations of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th Birthday in full swing in architectural institutions throughout the country, a new book is giving Wright fanatics the chance to recreate some of the architect’s most notable works through a series of cut-and-fold paper models.

Created by paper engineer and artist Marc Hagan-Guirey, the book contains templates for creating 14 Wright-designed structures using the Japanese art of kirigami. The book leads you through the assembly of each model, which providing photographs, drawings and information for each building, including favorites like Fallingwater and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Read Dozens of Historical Architecture Books for Free Online Thanks to New Library Exhibition

09:30 - 28 May, 2017
Read Dozens of Historical Architecture Books for Free Online Thanks to New Library Exhibition, © Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
© Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

Buffalo and Erie County Public Library of Buffalo, New York, has recently opened a new exhibit at their Central Library titled Building Buffalo: Buildings From Books, Books From Buildings. The exhibit will feature a large selection of rare, illustrated architectural books from the Library’s collection dating from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The bonus for those who are geographically distant from Buffalo is that, as part of the exhibit, the Library has also made dozens of historical architecture books available online, completely digitized and free to the public.

7 Novels Every Architect Should Read

09:30 - 12 January, 2017
7 Novels Every Architect Should Read

Great architects are like great writers. Our abilities to observe the world around us down to the tiniest details, and then make the most remarkable connections, have in time given humanity great stories and experiences - whether through imagined or real spaces. As Charles Eames put it, "Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The key to quality of the connections is the key to quality per se."

As architects, we have a nearly endless succession of connections to make, from materials, to geography, to time, to people, to experiences and statements of our own beliefs, all coming together in the design of a space. Novels are therefore a great way to remind yourself of the creative possibilities that architecture holds, encouraging you to dream about what architecture could be; and what experiences could be. These 7 non-architectural novels each have their own qualities that could open up the architectural world (and provide you with an enjoyable reading list in your time off). Enjoy!

Beautifully-Designed, Downloadable Bauhaus Architecture Books

12:00 - 25 November, 2016

Last year Monoskop delighted the architecture and art community by making many of the Bauhaus publications available to freely download. As a perennial fan of all types of architecture communication, I had previously written about the exceptional qualities of Bauhaus-produced books and journals and how these visual teaching tools ultimately influenced more recent, canonical publications. Below we share an edited excerpt from “Architects’ Books: Le Corbusier and The Bauhaus,” a chapter from the larger research project, Redefining The Monograph: The Publications of OMA and Rem Koolhaas.

To access Monoskop’s treasure trove, which includes titles by visionaries such as Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and others, visit Monoskop's Bauhaus archive.

As the Bauhaus operated in a generally experimental and revolutionary status, the information taught was not unified in any particularly accessible form. The Bauhausbücher were produced in order to expose the elements of the Bauhaus education to the original, small student body. These books later proved invaluable when the school was closed by the National Socialist Government in 1933, their contents holding authentic records of Bauhaus education. Merging theory and practice, the books, designed by Moholy-Nagy, are a testament to his creative ideas. He saw traditional forms of information dissemination as supplying information to students without stressing the relevance and relationship to the world in which they were living. His books sought to clarify these relationships through stimulating images and insightful (though at times lengthy and ethereal) text.

Little Free Library Design Competition

01:00 - 11 October, 2016
Little Free Library Design Competition, Courtesy of Unknown
Courtesy of Unknown

Design a little free library, help a community, and win the opportunity for your library to be mass produced and have global impact.

Footnotes on Climate

16:30 - 17 May, 2016
Footnotes on Climate

An installation of nearly 100 books in the James Stirling-designed Book Pavilion at the Venice Biennale serves as a collection of documents that asks us to consider how climate intersects with architectural ideas.

The Jane Jacobs Documentary to Premiere Fall 2016

08:00 - 4 May, 2016
The Jane Jacobs Documentary to Premiere Fall 2016, Author and Activist Jane Jacobs in 1961. Image © Phil Stanziola [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Author and Activist Jane Jacobs in 1961. Image © Phil Stanziola [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Jane Jacobs Documentary - a feature length film focusing on the life and work of celebrated author and urban activist, Jane Jacobs - is set to be released Fall 2016. Coinciding with the author’s 100th birthday, Robert Hammond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, and Matt Tyrnauer, producer/director of Valentino: The Last Emperor, plan to have the film tour festivals near the end of this year.