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Unpacking My Library

September 6, 2011

Association of Architecture School Librarians
by Barbara Opar, column editor

We all know how much value architects place on the tactile and physical objects. We also know why they still like the printed book. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the 2009 book and exhibition entitled: Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books. In addition to showing the variety of reading matter leading architects and educators have collected, this title gave us insight into their minds and development. Steven Holl, for instance, states (p.97) “I’ve felt that a book is like a building, and a building is like a book.”

Following in this same vein is a web site entitled Designers & Books which I suggest you explore. 56 designers from Emilio Ambasz to Eva Zeisel  share their reading lists. The site states that it is devoted to making known those books that the participants have identified as meaningful and formative, which have shaped both their world views as well as their personal ideas about design.

Some of the architects included on the site were part of Unpacking My Library.   But you will see new names as well, including Andres Duany, who not surprisingly lists twelve books dealing with cities and urban design. Denise Scott Brown’s choices include T.S. Eliot and Tom Wolfe as well as writings by John Brinckerhoff Jackson on landscape. Daniel Libeskind does not include any architecture titles among his 9 item list. 

To read more, go to: www.designersandbooks.com

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