Architect Library, Throughout the years of studies and practice as an architect, one amasses a large number of books and reading material that emulates and concrete ideas. Some become staples for colleges, and some for design. Though many books qualify as must-reads, some make architects who they are. Books that are incremental to a designer’s skill and knowledge- that teach methods of critical thinking and create an ambry of thought that is progressive and intellectual.
Here are 10 books found in every architect’s library-
1. Architects Data- Ernst Neufert
From anthropometric measurements to spatial design standards- Neufert’s data has been a ready reckoner for students and professionals to have in their architect library. From all standard measurements to commonly used and designed spaces, Neufert’s book contains data to simplify design and maximize usage of space. Chapters are distinctively defined by scale and typology, making them easy to refer to.
2. Architecture- Form, Shape, and Order- Francis D.K Ching
Simple lessons of proportion, form design, and quality of shapes have been effortlessly elucidated in Ching’s infamous book. With clear illustrations and an adept writing style, Ching teaches complex theories of architecture with relatable examples, commonly used spaces, and built forms with superior ease. This book is a must-read every few years, the teachings in this book resonate with designers no matter how experienced.
3. De Architectura- Vitruvius
To understand religion, one must access the root of the idea, in this case, what can be called the Bible of architecture is a must-have in architect library. Though the original verses are far too complex, the condensed form of the ten volumes of architecture is a good way to understand the roots and journey of design- from the Vitruvian Man to the first designed and documented spaces.
4. Complexity & Contradiction in Architecture- Robert Venturi
Venturi’s book on the exhaustion of a single style of architecture transcending into another, convulsing ideas and theories condense in one book, known by many as the ‘gentle manifesto’. Understanding of spaces as an urbanist and postwar built forms has been incisive yet progressive, his ideas being a firm understanding of the change of spaces during movements of art and architecture. A book with real questions and the answers architects deserve.
5. A Pattern Language- Christopher Alexander
Alexander’s book on studying urban textures is a staple found in all master’s courses in urban planning and design. The organic nature of city growth, the types of cities, and how they expand and nurture is all explained with interesting outlooks and examples from all parts of the world, thoroughly studied before presenting.
6. The Seven Lamps of Architecture- John Ruskin
Though not very commonly found in bookshelves, this is one for the purists. Ruskin dives into the details of almost all essential elements used in architecture and built design, talking about the proportions, styles, volumes, forms, and types in this book. Many theorists disagree with the elements chosen to be part of the list, but it is worth reading what makes it pivotal for design.
7. The Death & Life of Great American Cities- Jane Jacobs
While the world adopted modernism to be a way of design and living, Jacobs had already finished a study and inquiry on its terrible effects on cities in America. Comparing before and after conditions, Jane Jacobs deciphered exactly what it means to have poor design impacting millions of lives, from it encouraging certain activities to destroying some. Completely relatable and applicable in current times.
8. The Fountainhead- Ayn Rand
Skyrocketing architects into fame by framing the protagonist’s character around one, Rand’s supposed reflection of Wright in this book has inspired many young minds to turn to design and architecture for their passion and livelihood. Though it prides a modernist individual who is innovating design, the challenges faced by the character reflect the time and age and yearn for timelessness with its gripping yet thought-provoking storyline.
9. Towards a New Architecture- Le Corbusier
Analyzing architecture must be learned from a master, and Corbusier teaches it in the most effective way possible. this book is a must-have for an architect library. With clear sketches and callouts that dissect a built form, Corbusier views forms through a different lens and perspective, creating a kaleidoscope of factors to use while looking at an art form. Though it has a myriad of applications in the real world while sifting through art depictions, this is one to understand after many reads and a definite one all architects must own.
10. The Eyes of The Skin- Juhani Pallasmaa
A theorist would be remiss to say that this book hasn’t changed the way the built form can be perceived by the senses, even the unexpected kind. Pallasmaa’s famous book talks about the suppression of sensory elements and the role of the body while understanding the built form, and how it is a vital lesson to be taught to all. Engaging all of them through the architectural manifestation is one a designer should strive for, explained in surreal methods by the author.