December 15, 2020

One for the Books: The Year’s Suggested Architecture Books for Gift Giving

AASL Column

One for the Books: The Year’s Suggested Architecture Books for Gift Giving

One for the books indeed! This year has certainly been one we will long remember. Perhaps even the limits placed on access to print titles. 

The year’s events have made us shift away from print and explore more ways of accessing content. We might even consider that a plus and educational. But for many of us the print book still holds a special place in our hearts and minds.

With that thought in mind, we are again presenting a list of notable architecture books. And the good news is that this a time for you to gift others or enjoy something bought for you and yes, even by you for yourself. You’ve more than earned it. So here are this year’s suggestions:

Arnaud, Michel. Cool is Everywhere: New and Adaptive Design Across America. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2020. ISBN: 978-1419738227. 272 pages. $35.00 

An interesting work that shares Arnaud’s photographs of innovative design reuse in cities across the United States.

Beam, Alex. Broken Glass: Mies can der Rohe, Edith Farnsworth, and the Fight Over a Modernist Masterpiece. Manhattan: Random House, 2020. ISBN: 978-0399592713. 352 pages. $28.00

Who doesn’t want to hear more of the backstory of Mies’ feud with Edith Farnsworth?

Cheng, Irene. Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present (Cultural Politics & the Built Environment). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020. ISBN: 978-0822966593. 424 pages. $45.00

A timely and very important contribution to the history of race and architecture.

Guido, Luca. Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2020. ISBN: 978-0806164601. 272 pages. $50.00

This book brings into focus the contributions of an architect largely forgotten in the past decades.

Hobhouse, Niall. Architecture through Drawing. London: Lund Humphries, 2020. ISBN: 978-1848223776. 240 pages. $99.99

The subject of drawing in architecture is beautifully presented through well-selected examples.

Hopkins, Owen. Postmodern Architecture: Less is a Bore. New York: Phaidon Press, 2020. ISBN: 9780714878126. 224 pages. $49.95

A well-done overview of a movement that is again drawing attention.

Lees-Maffei, Grace. Iconic Designs: 50 Stories about 50 Things. Brooklyn: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020. ISBN: 978-1350112476. 240 pages. $24.95

What makes a design iconic? The author tries to answer this question while showing examples as varied as the Sydney Opera House and the Post-It Note.

Nieland, Justus. Happiness by Design: Modernism and Media in the Eames Era. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020. ISBN: 978-1517902056. 400 pages. $39.95

Discusses the experimental film work of Charles and Ray Eames and their Midcentury colleagues.

Pollak, Victor A. Saving the Light at Chartres: How the Great Cathedral and Its Stained-Glass Treasures Were Rescued during World War II. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2020. ISBN: 978-0811739016. 440 pages. $29.95

A compelling story that adds new insight into what has been written about how France’s cultural heritage was saved from the ravages of World War II.

Reisz, Todd. Showpiece City: How Architecture Made Dubai (Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures). Redwood City: Stanford University Press, 2020. ISBN: 978-1503609884. 416 pages. $30.00

This is the story of John Harris and his plan to transform the desert into an urban mecca.

Sarkis, Hashim. The World as an Architectural Project. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2020. ISBN: 978-0262043960. 576 pages. $50.00

Important twentieth-century architects and their visions for the future of the planet.

Watson, Julia. Lo-TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism. Cologne: TASCHEN, 2020. ISBN: 978-3836578189. 420 pages. $50.00

Seeks to debunk the mythology of technology while exploring indigenous wisdom.

Yerkes, Carolyn. Piranesi Unbound. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2020. ISBN: 978-0691206103. 240 pages. $65.00

A critical reinterpretation of Piranesi which focuses on his work as a writer, printer, and publisher.

Zerbst, Rainer. Gaudi: The Complete Works. Cologne: TASCHEN, 2020. ISBN: 978-3836564465. 368 pages. $60.00

In addition to presenting Gaudi’s drawings and built works, this book provides insights into Gaudi himself and the city he transformed.


Michelle Sturges
Membership Manager