Here is a list of some of our favorite books. They are the books that shaped the way we think about architecture. We have included Amazon links, but they are available on loan from our office.
They are not necessarily picture books, or image resources. We have many of those books as well – and we recommend a number of online resources in our client tool kit. But for those interested in delving deeper into the realm of ideas, here is our list:
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs
A passionate criticism of 1950s and 60s modernist (Corbusien) urban planning that earned her the title of Godmother of the American City. She calls for mixed uses, short blocks, density and pedestrian friendly neighbourhoods – all staples of contemporary planning.
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson, 2003
Fictionalized account of two simultaneous events in Chicago history: the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 (that had a profound architectural influence) and the emergence of serial murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes. Great reading!
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, 1943
Perhaps the most famous novel featuring an architect. The story of modernist, avant-garde architect Howard Roark – the personification of the self assured, egotistical, artist-architect.
From Bauhaus to Our House, by Tom Wolfe, 1981
A brilliant and frank criticism of avant-garde architecture and architects.
Home: A Short History of an Idea, by Witold Rybczynski
A history of American/European domestic culture, exploring our very notion of “home”. As with any Rybczynski book, it is beautifully written and deeply engrossing.
House, by Tracy Kidder
A wonderfully written story of the building of a custom home. Exploring in detail the point of view of the clients, builders and architect. A must read for anyone contemplating a new home, or a career in construction or architecture!
Learning from Las Vegas, by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour, 1972
The text that ushered in Post-Modernism. Written as a reaction to the egotistical and aloof world of high modernism, Venturi et al call for a return to a popular understanding of buildings and cities.
Loving Frank, Nancy Horan, 2007
A fictionalized account of the true story of the love affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney that shocked Chicago high society.
The Place of Houses, by Charles Moore, Gerald Allen, Donlyn Lyndon, 1974
A guide book for the making of beautiful and meaningful homes.
Towards a New Architecture, by Le Corbusier, 1923
Le Corbusier’s manifesto for modern architecture. For better or worse it influenced every generation of architects that followed.