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my Essential architecture book list

The books in my architecture library provide context for my work; history, precedent, theory, technics, best practices, fresh perspectives and of course creative stimuli. The ones I return to often are like harmonic frequencies, which continue to vibrate and resonate over time even as my ideology is evolving. Is it a coincidence that some of the most emotive connections to books and architectural writings were forged in architecture school many years ago? You know how they say the music you’ll listen to the rest of your life is the music you were into when you were 18? That’s how many of these books are for me. So, these precise books may not hold the same importance for you, but as a thought exercise, consider what your library currently says about you, your interests and what blind spots or knowledge gaps you might want to fill.

What follows are my favorites categorized into six different themes.

History

Architecture: From Prehistory to Postmodernity (Trachtenberg)

Modern Architecture: A Critical History (Kenneth Frampton)

Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings (Visser)

Reading the Forested Landscape (Wessels)

The Granite Landscape (Wessels)

 

Narrative

Thinking architecture (Peter Zumthor)

In Praise of Shadows (Tanizaki)

Condemned Building (Douglas Darden) Out of print.

Ghost (MacKay-Lyons)

Anarchitecture (Lebbeus Woods)

 

Process + Making

Type Variant House (Vincent James)

Boundaries (Maya Lin)

The Work of Shim Sutcliffe

Tom Kundig (various monographs)

Peter Zumthor Buildings and Projects 1985-2013 (Durisch)

 

Machines + Architecture

Building Machines (Pamphlet Architecture #12)

Instrumental Form (Wes Jones)

Gyroscopic Horizons (Neil Denari)

Morphosis

Blast Furnaces (Bernd + Hilla Becher)

 

Details, Connections, and Technics

Detail publications

Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture Series (Phillips/Yamashita)

The Works: Anatomy of a City (Ascher)

Wood and Wood Joints  (Zwerger)

Architectural Graphic Standards (Ramsey/Sleeper)

 

Fundamentals

Form, Space, and Order (Ching)

Architectural Graphics (Ching)

Programs and Manifestoes on 20th Century Architecture (Conrads)

Lego Architecture Studio Companion book

Unbuilding (Macaulay)

Underground (Macaulay)

Cathedral (Macaulay)

Castle (Macaulay)

Pyramid (Macaulay)