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List of essential books for architects and architecture students

Being a multi-disciplinary field, Architecture education doesn’t end with the course completion. You are always in the process of learning architecture once you choose architecture as your career. There is a lot that makes architecture a whole, and understanding all the aspects will probably take more than a lifetime. With this said, you get the freedom to choose your architecture educational resources to comprehend knowledge based on your liking; this further helps you to develop your perspective. Books written by architects form a major educational resource.

Below is the list of books that is diverse just to give you the variety that architecture brings and for you to confirm your taste. We have created this list that will be a great read whether you are an architect or an architecture student. Go through this list and create a collection of your own.

1. Peter Zumthor : Thinking Architecture

"In a society that celebrates the inessential, architecture can put up a resistance, counteract the waste of forms and meanings, and speak its own language"

- Peter Zumthor

Thinking Architecture, a book written by architect Peter Zumthor is a collection of serene and well-grounded statements from his architectural lectures and essays. Articulation of things that motivate him to design buildings, his architectural ideas. The book is just like his architecture humble and peaceful.

2. Le Corbusier: Towards a New Architecture

Truth to tell, the modern man is bored to tears in his home; so he goes to his club. The modern woman is bored outside her boudoir; she goes to tea-parties. The modern man and woman are bored at home; they go to night-clubs.

But lesser folk who have no clubs gather together in the evening under the chandelier and hardly dare to walk through the labyrinth of their furniture which takes up the whole room and is all their fortune and their pride.”

― Le Corbusier

Towards a new architecture, a book by Le Corbusier is a collection of essays which explore the concept of modern architecture. One of the classics that you should have on your book shelf. This book consist of wide range of ideas and innovative theories.

3. Rem Koolhaas : S M L XL

“Architecture is a hazardous mixture of omnipotence and impotence. It is by definition a chaotic adventure... In other words, the utopian enterprise.”

Rem Koolhaas

S M L XL, a book by Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau is a collection of selected remarkable design work produced by OMA, a Dutch firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture. The collages, images, drawings and the text in the book challenge the conventional understanding of architecture and scale.

4. Alain de Botton : The Architecture of Happiness

“Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through materials of the same tendencies which in other domains will lead us to marry the wrong people, choose inappropriate jobs and book unsuccessful holidays: the tendency not to understand who we are and what will satisfy us.”

― Alain de Botton

The Architecture of Happiness, a book by Alain de Button explores the relationship between architecture and human behavior + well-being. An amazing read for architects and architecture students as the book explains the power of architecture.

5. Charles Correa : A Place in the Shade

― Charles Correa

A Place in the Shade, a book by Architect Charles Correa is a seminal collection of architectural essays. The book consists of the finest and the most thoughtful observations about 20th-century architecture and mainly explains the meaning of life.

6. Bjarke Ingels : Yes is More

“First of all, we really need to care about the people we are designing for, understand what their dreams and desires and priorities are, and then we have to use that understanding as the driving force of the work we put forward, because the second we know what questions … are important, then all we have to do is answer them.”

Bjarke Ingels

Yes is More, an archicomic on Architectural evolution by the BIG Architects. This book presents a new way of looking at and speaking about the architecture.

7. Simitch & Warke : The Language of Architecture

The Language of Architecture, a book by Andrea Simitch and Val Warke explores the basic elements that build a language of Architecture. This book consists of explanatory images with twenty-six topics such as Design Concept, context, analysis, environment, surface, scale, and more.

This book should be on every architect's shelf and mainly on every architecture student's shelf, as this book guides you through all the basics you need to know in your architecture schooling years.

8. Francis D.K. Ching : Architecture - Form, Space & Order

“All pictorial form begins with the point that sets itself in motion… The point moves … and the line comes into being—the first dimension. If the line shifts to form a plane, we obtain a two-dimensional element. In the movement from plane to spaces, the clash of planes gives rise to body (three-dimensional) … A summary of the kinetic energies which move the point into a line, the line into a plane, and the plane into a spatial dimension.”

Francis D.K. Ching

Architecture: Form, Space & Order, a book by Francis D.K. Ching is one of the best books for the introduction to the basics of architecture. This book consists of amazing illustrations that explain the language of architectural design. This could be the first book that any architecture student or architecture enthusiast could read.

9. Robert Venturi : Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture

Robert Venturi

Complexity and Contradiction, a book by Robert Venturi has become an important document of architecture literature. The book consists of detailed and sophisticated arguments by the architect which are explained with a lot of illustrations. This book is a valuable expression of an important movement in architectural history and is a compelling case for an architecture beyond modernism.

10. John Ruskin : The seven lamps of Architecture

"Thus, architecture is an organic human interpretation of the environment and should be respected as such."

John Ruskin

The seven lamps of Architecture, a book by John Ruskin is an extended architectural essay. The book describes lamps as the leading principles of architecture.


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