Thursday , 20 October 2016

Top Books for Architecture Students and Architectural Design

People often ask me what books I would recommend for their architectural studies. So far I have written posts about books for architectural model making, books for detailing and construction, essential books for the new student – but I have not yet done an overview of more design and architectural thinking orientated books – not until now!
So here goes (in no particular order!):

The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture

In The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture, Pier Vittorio Aureli proposes that a sharpened formal consciousness in architecture is a precondition for political, cultural, and social engagement with the city. Aureli uses the term absolute not in the conventional sense of “pure,” but to denote something that is resolutely itself after being separated from its other. In the pursuit of the possibility of an absolute architecture, the other is the space of the city, its extensive organization, and its government. Politics is agonism through separation and confrontation; the very condition of architectural form is to separate and be separated. Through its act of separation and being separated, architecture reveals at once the essence of the city and the essence of itself as political form: the city as the composition of (separate) parts. Aureli revisits the work of four architects whose projects were advanced through the making of architectural form but whose concern was the city at large: Andrea Palladio, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, tienne Louis-Boulle, and Oswald Mathias Ungers. The work of these architects, Aureli argues, addressed the transformations of the modern city and its urban implications through the elaboration of specific and strategic architectural forms. Their projects for the city do not take the form of an overall plan but are expressed as an “archipelago” of site-specific interventions.

Cities for People

For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use or could use the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into the landscapes he believes they should be: cities for people.

Design Like You Give a Damn

Design Like you Give A Damn [2] is the indispensable handbook for anyone committed to building a better a more sustainable future. With the rise in social demand for recycling programs and sustainable living this second title in the Design Like you Give A Damn repertoire, documenting more than 1 00 new projects from around the world tunes into this fever pitch of change. This volume is packed with practical and ingenious design solutions that address the need for basic shelter, housing, education, health care, clean water and renewable energy. One-on-one interviews and provocative case studies demonstrate how innovative design is reimagining community and uplifting lives. From swing sets in refugee shelters, a co-ed skate-park in war-torn Afghanistan, to building material innovations such as smog-eating concrete to innovative public policy that is repainting Brazils’ urban slums, Design Like you Give A Damn [2] serves as a how-to guide for anyone seeking to build change from the ground up.

Studies in Tectonic Culture

Kenneth Frampton’s long-awaited follow-up to his classic A Critical History of Modern Architecture is certain to influence any future debate on the evolution of modern architecture.Studies in Tectonic Culture is nothing less than a rethinking of the entire modern architectural tradition. The notion of tectonics as employed by Frampton — the focus on architecture as a constructional craft — constitutes a direct challenge to current mainstream thinking on the artistic limits of postmodernism, and suggests a convincing alternative. Indeed, Frampton argues, modern architecture is invariably as much about structure and construction as it is about space and abstract form.

Composed of ten essays and an epilogue that trace the history of contemporary form as an evolving poetic of structure and construction, the book’s analytical framework rests on Frampton’s close readings of key French and German, and English sources from the eighteenth century to the present. He clarifies the various turns that structural engineering and tectonic imagination have taken in the work of such architects as Perret, Wright, Kahn, Scarpa, and Mies, and shows how both constructional form and material character were integral to an evolving architectural expression of their work. Frampton also demonstrates that the way in which these elements are articulated from one work to the next provides a basis upon which to evaluate the works as a whole. This is especially evident in his consideration of the work of Perret, Mies, and Kahn and the continuities in their thought and attitudes that linked them to the past.

Frampton considers the conscious cultivation of the tectonic tradition in architecture as an essential element in the future development of architectural form, casting a critical new light on the entire issue of modernity and on the place of much work that has passed as “avant-garde.”A copublication of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies and The MIT Press.

Thinking Architecture

Architecture that is meant to have a sensuous connection to life calls for thinking that goes far beyond form and construction. In his texts, Peter Zumthor articulates what motivates him to design his buildings, which appeal to the visitor’s heart and mind in so many different ways and possess a compelling and unmistakable presence and aura.Now in its third edition, this book has been expanded to include two new essays: Architecture and Lanscape deals with the relationship between the structure and its surroundings, with the secret of the successful placement and topographical integration of architecture. In The Leis Houses, Peter Zumthor describes the genesis of two wooden houses in the town of Leis in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, thus thematizing the special challenge of integrating contemporary architecture into a traditional architectural context.

Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture

The book is organised into three distinct sections that in turn highlight the significance of spatial intelligence for architecture: the first section provides an overview of spatial intelligence as a human capability; the second section argues how the acknowledgement of this capability in architectural education and the profession should enable the demystification of the practice of design, forming the basis of a more democratic interface between society and practice; the final section explores exciting new opportunities for practice in the linking of real and virtual environments in the information age.

The Dissertation: A Guide for Architecture Students

The Dissertation is one of the most demanding yet potentially most stimulating components of an architectural course. This classic text provides a complete guide to what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and what the major pitfalls are.

This is a comprehensive guide to all that an architecture student might need to know about undertaking the dissertation. The book provides a plain guide through the whole process of starting, writing, preparing and submitting a dissertation with minimum stress and frustration.

The third edition has been revised throughout to bring the text completely up-to-date for a new generation of students. Crucially, five new and complete dissertations demonstrate and exemplify all the advice and issues raised in the main text. These dissertations are on subjects from the UK, USA, Europe and Asia and offer remarkable insights into how to get it just right.


S,M,L,XL presents a selection of the remarkable visionary design work produced by the Dutch firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.) and its acclaimed founder, Rem Koolhaas, in its first twenty years, along with a variety of insightful, often poetic writings. The inventive collaboration between Koolhaas and designer Bruce Mau is a graphic overture that weaves together architectural projects, photos and sketches, diary excerpts, personal travelogues, fairy tales, and fables, as well as critical essays on contemporary architecture and society.

The book’s title is also its framework: projects and essays are arranged according to scale. While Small and Medium address issues ranging from the domestic to the public, Large focuses on what Koolhaas calls “the architecture of Bigness.” Extra-Large features projects at the urban scale, along with the important essay “What Ever Happened to Urbanism?” and other studies of the contemporary city. Running throughout the book is a “dictionary” of an adventurous new Koolhaasian language — definitions, commentaries, and quotes from hundreds of literary, cultural, artistic, and architectural sources.

Bldgblog Book: Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculation, Landscape Futures

Architecture is more than what makes up our built environment; it is a way of thinking about the world-and beyond. This is the lesson author Geoff Manaugh, creator of the popular website BLDGBLOG, entertainingly communicates in this tour-de-force of architectural speculation and futuristic critique. In five sections that relate to the sprawling, smart, always compelling, and often very funny inquiry that comprise the site-Architectural Conjecture, The Underground, Weather Control, Architectural Music, and Landscape Futures – “The BLDGBLOG Book” will find its place among the legions of hip and literate design-interested readers who are still bored by architecture magazines. Heavily illustrated with fantastic images from prehistory to the outer reaches of space, “The BLDGBLOG Book” is a must-have primer to the future of architectural thought.

Basics Architecture: Representational Techniques

This first book in the Basics Architecture series explores the concepts and techniques used to represent architecture. A broad array of techniques employed to develop architectural ideas are described, ranging from the way in which sketches are used to develop conceptual ideas, through to the working drawings and details required for the construction of buildings.

The book covers both two-dimensional and three-dimensional methods of representation and shows a variety of media, from those used in freehand sketching, through to cutting-edge computer modeling and drawing techniques. Using examples from leading international architects and designers along with more experimental student work, a broad range of interpretations, possibilities and applications are demonstrated.

Basics Architecture 03: Architectural Design

Basics Architecture: Architectural Design explains the mysterious and little-discussed process of designing architectural projects. Through discussion and case studies, it allows the reader to develop a personal approach to architectural design, based on their own values, skills and preoccupations.

This book sets architectural design education within its context by describing the design studio and explaining the activities that take place there. The realities of the design process, and the relationship between education and practice, are explored in detail. The book describes each stage of development, from concept through to completion, and includes interviews with leading architectural practices. The architectural design process is as diverse as the people who practise it; every architect follows their own individual design process.

Basics Architecture: Architectural Design introduces a number of different processes through examples and case studies. This allows a reader to identify with certain methods that they could develop to respond to their own work, and enables them to develop their own unique approach.

101 Things I Learned In Architecture School

This is a book that students of architecture will want to keep in the studio and in their backpacks. It is also a book they may want to keep out of view of their professors, for it expresses in clear and simple language things that tend to be murky and abstruse in the classroom. These 101 concise lessons in design, drawing, the creative process, and presentation–from the basics of “How to Draw a Line” to the complexities of color theory–provide a much-needed primer in architectural literacy, making concrete what too often is left nebulous or open-ended in the architecture curriculum.

Each lesson utilizes a two-page format, with a brief explanation and an illustration that can range from diagrammatic to whimsical. The lesson on “How to Draw a Line” is illustrated by examples of good and bad lines; a lesson on the dangers of awkward floor level changes shows the television actor Dick Van Dyke in the midst of a pratfall; a discussion of the proportional differences between traditional and modern buildings features a drawing of a building split neatly in half between the two. Written by an architect and instructor who remembers well the fog of his own student days, 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School provides valuable guideposts for navigating the design studio and other classes in the architecture curriculum. Architecture graduates–from young designers to experienced practitioners–will turn to the book as well, for inspiration and a guide back to basics when solving a complex design problem.

Analysing Architecture

Now in its fourth edition, Analysing Architecture has become internationally established as the best introduction to architecture. Aimed primarily at those wishing to become professional architects, it also offers those in disciplines related to architecture (from archaeology to stage design, garden design to installation art), a clear and accessible insight into the workings of this rich and fascinating subject. With copious illustrations from his own notebooks, the author dissects examples from around the world and all periods of history to explain underlying strategies in architectural design and show how drawing may be used as a medium for analysis.

Studio Craft and Technique

Studio Craft & Technique is a one-stop handbook for undergraduate students of architecture. Based on the belief that technology is at the heart of design studies, this book encourages students to think of design and technology as an integrated whole. We provide step-by-step techniques for skills that students use in their undergraduate studies, such as drawing, model making and surveying and explain the conventions of architectural representation. The book also explains the primary elements of construction and structure from first principles, using clear diagrams and drawings. Students will use this handbook on a daily basis in their design and technology studios through their first years of study. Studio Craft & Technique has been recommended to first year students by The Bartlett School of Architecture.

Architects Pocket Book

This handy pocket book brings together a wealth of useful information that architects need on a daily basis – on site or in the studio. It provides guidance on a range of tasks, from complying with the Building Regulations, including the recent revisions to Part L, to helping with planning, use of materials and detailing.

Compact and easy to use, the Architect’s Pocket Book has sold well over 65,000 copies to the nation’s architects, architecture students, designers and construction professionals who do not have an architectural background but need to understand the basics, fast.

This is the famous little blue book that you can’t afford to be without.

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