30 Books Architects Should Read (A Place to Start)


Phew. 30 seems like a lot of books, but in reality there are so many amazing books out there that everyone, not just Architects should read. It is by no means the be-all end-all list, but it is a good place to start if you are an Architect or interested in Architecture. These books consistently show up on other Architecture blogs or forums “must-read” lists. These books range in topics from theory/practice to history to personal habits and business strategies.

I plan to read through this list and provide my personal feedback – mostly for fun, but also to give an idea to others on what to expect, so they can decide for themselves which books would make their lists. I have read some of these before – but plan to read them again with a fresh and not-so-stressed-from-architecture-school brain. Depending on how this goes, I would like to make separate reading lists that are more categorical – but for now this is where I am choosing to start.

As the Architects out there may notice I haven’t included the books that most people would consider quintessential – such as literally every book Ching has ever written, or things like the Studio Companion – and I have also left out monumental works such as De Architectura (Vitruvius).  I have left them out intentionally, as I consider these to be more practical and technical and would like to explore them separately.

So! Here we go! The following list is in no particular order, nor in the order I will be reading them:

  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People / Stephen R. Covey
  2. Towards a New Architecture / Le Corbusier
  3. The Stones of Venice / John Ruskin
  4. Studies in Tectonic Culture / Kenneth Frampton
  5. On Weathering / David Leatherbarrow
  6. The Great Cat Massacre / Robert Darnton
  7. Essays in Architectural Criticism / Alan Colquhoun
  8. The Poetics of Space / Gaston Bachelard
  9. The Death and Life of Great American Cities / Jane Jacobs
  10. A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time / John Brinckerhoff Jackson
  11. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture / Robert Venturi
  12. The Details of Modern Architecture / Edward R. Ford
  13. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction / Christopher Alexander et al.
  14. How to Build and Maintain a Strong Client Base for Your A/E Firm / PSMJ
  15. Thinking Architecture / Peter Zumthor
  16. Tadao Ando – Conversations With Students / Tadao Ando
  17. S, M, L, XL / Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau
  18. How to Win Friends and Influence People / Dale Carnegie
  19. Yes is More / Bjarke Ingels
  20. 101 Things I learned in Architecture School / Matthew Federick
  21. Bldg Blog / Geoff Manaugh
  22. The Thinking Hand / Juhani Pallasmaa
  23. Becoming an Architect / Lee W. Waldrep
  24. The 4 Hour Work Week / Tim Ferriss
  25. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things / William McDonough & Michael Braungart
  26. Start with Why / Simon Sinek
  27. Architecture and Disjunction / Bernard Tschumi
  28. Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan / Rem Koolhaas
  29. Ten Canonical Buildings / Peter Eisenman
  30. The Architecture of Humanism: A Study in the History of Taste / Geoffrey Scott

Of course feel free to comment or suggest other books that you think should be on this list – I am always interested in new reading content, and to get the information out to others!

Happy Reading!

Photo Credit: https://www.kafnbusinessservices.com/books-courses-freebies/

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