14 Books Every Architecture Student Should Read

Have you been wondering what books every architecture student should read? The following books are recommendations and suggestions from myself, and the First In Architecture Community. We have put together a selection of books that we feel are a great read whether you are an architecture student or professional, we hope that some of these books would be a welcome additional to your library.

I love books, and certainly collect them way faster than I read them. Having a varied reference point though is valuable, and I find myself reaching for my bookshelves constantly as I work on different projects.

Theory

Thinking Architecture – Peter Zumthor

Thinking Architecture is a collection of essays and lectures. The nature of the book means you can pick up and read short extracts at a time. Peter Zumthor articulates what motivates him to design buildings. A firm favourite amongst the Architecture community. Easy reading to expand your architectural horizon.

The Architecture of Happiness – Alain de Botton

In this book, Alain de Botton explores the relationship between buildings and our well being. A fascinating read for any architect or architecture student.

Experiencing Architecture – Steen Eiler Rasmussen

Great book if you have an interest in or starting an architecture degree or anyone looking to broaden their mind in the understanding of how we can perceive space and objects in different ways.

Towards a New Architecture – Le Corbusier

Considered to be a classic that should live on every architects shelf, this is a collection of essays from Le Corbusier exploring the concept of modern architecture. Written in 1927, the book still has a lasting effect on the architectural profession, an important read.

Analysing Architecture – Simon Unwin

Analysing Architecture is a great introduction for those wishing to work in the architectural field. Full of illustrations the book explores examples from around the world and through history to explain strategies in architectural design.

Twenty Five Buildings Every Architect Should Understand – Simon Unwin

A great companion to Analysing Architecture by Simon Unwin, this book explores some of the key buildings of the twentieth and twenty-first century architecture. The case studies look at the relationship of architecture to the human being, and how it frames our lives, and contributes to our sense of identity and space. The beautiful explanatory hand drawings add further understanding and inspiration. I really like this book and think every student should have this in their library.

The Language of Architecture – Simitch and Warke

This book explores the basic building blocks of the language of architecture, the definitions, function and usage. Full of explanatory images, the book is divided into 26 chapters exploring topics such as context, environment, concept, analysis, surface, scale and movement. I only purchased this book recently and wish I had found it during my studies. A very useful addition to any architectural library.

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Fundamentals, Construction & Technology

Architects Pocket Book – Baden Powell

The Architects Pocket Book is one of the first books I purchased when I was studying at University. I noticed another student referring to it in the studio, and quickly realised how useful it is, on a daily basis. The book is packed full of a wealth of useful information providing guidance from planning right through to building regulations, services, structure, materials and so much more. As they say, it is the famous little blue book that you can’t afford to be without.

Metric Handbook, Planning and Design Data – Littlefield

The Metric Handbook belongs in every design office and student library. Constantly updated, Metric Handbook serves as a reference to the latest construction standards and building types. Planning and design data relevant to any building project providing succinct guidance on regulations and areas the designer needs to focus.

Modern Construction Handbook

The fifth edition of this book released in October 2018,  is an advanced reference to all the main elements of construction, including materials, walls, roofs, structure, environment and more. The 3d presentations are clear and engaging, with every new edition adding more content, more details and more examples.

Building Regulations In Brief – Tricker and Alford

This book provides a very practical guide to the Building Regulations, planning permission, and the approved documents. Regularly updated in order to remain current, this book is another constant reference point in my library. It is easy to follow, very comprehensive and a great starting point for those aiming to familiarise themselves with this key area of the industry.

The Environmental Design Pocketbook – Sofie Pelsmakers

If your focus is on environmental and sustainable design (which it should be really) – this book provides guidance on all the core sustainability issues, design guidance, technology and best practice. This pocket book covers a lot of ground, with well researched and presented information, a great addition to your library.

Architecture – Form, Space and Order – Francis D.K Ching (or anything by Francis Ching)

I am a massive fan of all of the Francis Ching books, but this one is a great introduction to the basics of architecture. Beautifully illustrated, this book gives an introduction into the vocabulary of architectural design, looking at Form, Space, Organisation, Circulation, Proportion and Scale to name a few.

Architectural Graphics – Francis D.K Ching

Architectural Graphics is another Francis Ching book that is beautifully illustrated, presenting a wide range of techniques architects and designers use to communicate their ideas. The book looks at architectural drafting, perspective drawing, rendering, orthographic projections, presentation drawings and much more. This book really is a comprehensive guide to professional architectural drawing, I would highly recommend it is in every architecture students library.

That wraps up the books that we selected for new architecture students that will help get them set up for their architecture careers. If you think I have missed anything, please comment below – I would love to hear what books have inspired you!

My favourite Tools and Resources

I have curated a list of some of the tools and resources I would strongly recommend for anyone studying or working in Architecture.