Essential Student Reads..


I'm in the market for a few new titles - for reference, I'm a second year architecture student in Australia.

A book already on my list is:
* 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School - Matthew Frederick (seems highly appropriate for me, and comes with strong recommendations)

I will also be looking into collecting one or two Francis Ching books (recommendations welcomed - quite a few exist! I already own Design Drawing) and some texts from the famed Birkhäuser Publishers:
* Constructing Architecture: Materials, Processes, Structures (Paperback)
- Andrea Deplazes
* any others?

I'm also interested in hearing any feedback on Simon Unwin's texts:
Analysing Architecture & An Architecture Notebook.

As a young student, I'd love to get my hands on a few 'cornerstone' texts that I can base my learning around and begin my collection of books - a 'bible' or two of architecture if you will (is my search a little ambitious? perhaps..).

Any input is welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Dec 27, 07 8:59 am

I'm also considering:
- Peter Zumthor's Thinking Architecture
- Rem Koolhaas' S M L XL
- 10X10, 10X10_2
- Francis D. K. Ching's Architectural Graphics

Dec 27, 07 9:01 am
won and done williams

one of my all-time favs is ed ford's "details of modern architecture." the drawings are spectacular. will make you never want to touch cad again.

one word of warning that i didn't understand until much later. the details in the book are not meant to be cribbed. he is telling a story about modern architecture through its detailing. you can learn a lot about detailing from the book, but it is more a history than it is a practical tool.

Dec 27, 07 9:16 am

why architects draw by ed robbins
in the scheme of things by tom fisher

Dec 27, 07 9:35 am
Jah is my Co-pilot

by Branko Kolarevic

Dec 27, 07 11:09 am
vado retro

history IS a practical tool.

Dec 27, 07 11:11 am
Jah is my Co-pilot

We are going to live in the future, not the past...

Dec 27, 07 11:31 am
won and done williams

point well taken, vado, but i think ford's books may be rfi machines if taken literally.

Dec 27, 07 11:51 am

Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory - by Kate Nesbitt

Dec 27, 07 1:17 pm
wes thomas

Modern Construction Handbook by Andrew Watts

Dec 28, 07 2:07 am

phased, I would highly recommend getting all of the books you first mentioned (101 Things, Constructing Architecture, and Analysing Architecture) as I have read/used them (and own them as well) and found them all to be highly informative books, especially for a second-year architecture student. Matthew Frederick was one of my studio professors last Fall and is incredibly good at simplifying the sometimes overwhelming complexities of design. 'Design Drawing', which you already have and I'm sure already know, is an excellent book for tuning your hand and eye. I would also recommend Ching's 'Building Construction Illustrated', a book so good in fact that someone in studio stole it from me...the bastards. You don't really need Ching's 'Architectural Graphics' as most of it is already covered in 'Design Drawing'.

Some other books you may want to consider getting are K. Michael Hays' 'Architecture Theory Since 1968' and Kate Nesbitt's 'Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture' as simples already mentioned. Other "cornerstone" books you should definitely have in your library include 'Learning from Las Vegas' (Brown, Venturi), 'Modern Architecture Since 1900' (Curtis), 'Louis Kahn: Essential Texts' (Kahn, Twombly (ed.)), and 'The Architect's Studio Companion, 4th ed.' (Allen, Iano) to name a few.

Once you begin acquiring books that are helpful to you, believe it or not, but is actually incredibly good at finding similar books, many that you may have never heard of before.


Dec 28, 07 12:20 pm

The City After the Automobile.

Dec 28, 07 8:50 pm

Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays, a collection of Robin Evans' essays.

It's out of print now, so you may well have to find it used, but it is a book that I return to again and again for the quality of the writing and the way he describes buildings as formal objects and as historical creations.

Dec 29, 07 10:34 am

George Orwell: 1984
Aldous Huxley: The Next Million Years
Brave New World
Brave New World Revisited
Koestler: The Ghost in the Machine

Logans Run
Soylent Green

Jan 2, 08 12:51 pm

The only book on my shelf that I would consider an essential read is Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture.

And maybe Strunk and White.

Jan 3, 08 12:19 pm
liberty bell
Check this thread, also

and get your hands on a copy of my suggestion from it: For an Architecture of Reality by Michael Benedikt.

Jan 3, 08 12:38 pm

wow, that was a pretty good thread. i was much smarter in '04.

Jan 3, 08 12:48 pm
liberty bell

Steven, you're still about the smartest person I know. Definitely in the top 5. Having more kids just makes you feel less smart!

Jan 3, 08 12:49 pm

Oh steven your are still about the smartest person i know.....

give me a break

Jan 8, 08 4:54 am

I sure hope you can read dutch, because the book you described is only available in dutch. It's called 'Dat is architectuur' by Hilde Heynen, et al. 010 Publishers Rotterdam 2001.

This bible (900 pages) is the most complete book only consisting of cornerstone texts of the 20th century on architecture. It's the number one book we have to study here on architecture schools in holland.

Maybe you can find the table of contents somewhere, so you can look up the texts you need by yourself (and save time on learning dutch).

the book contains texts of..
Louis Sullivan, Adolf Loos, Hermann Muthesius, Julien Guadet, Frank Lloyd Wright, Henry van de Velde, Otto Wagner, Raymond Unwin, Hendrik Petrus Berlage, Antonio Sant'Elia, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Paul Scheerbart, Erich Mendelsohn, Le Corbusier, Amédée Ozenfant, Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, Arbeitsrat für Kunst, Adolf Behne, Walter Gropius, Heinrich Tessenow, Paul Valéry, El Lissitzky, Alexander Vesnin, Henri Maclaine Pont, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Theo van Doesburg, Moisei Ginzburg, Bruno Taut, Paul Schultze-Naumburg, Gruppo 7, Ernst May, Pierre Jeanneret, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondriaan, CIAM, Sigfried Giedion, Hannes Meyer, Georges Bataille, László Moholy-Nagy, Mart Stam, Arkadii Mordvinov, Hans Poelzig, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Philip Johnson, Alfred Rosenberg, Michel Roux-Spitz, Walter Benjamin, Emil Kaufmann, Camille Mauclair, Paul Schmitthenner, Catherine Bauer, Ernst Bloch, Karo Alabian, José Luis Sert, Fernand Léger, APAO, Asger Jorn, Aldo van Eyck, Hans Sedlmayr, Martin Heidegger, Vladimir Bodiansky, Michel Ecochard, Gilles Ivain, Alison Smithson, Peter Smithson, Reyner Banham, Gaston Bachelard, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, John Summerson, Yona Friedman, Douglas Haskell, Louis Kahn, Emmanuel Levinas, Lewis Mumford, Peter Cook, Christian Norberg-Schulz, Christopher Alexander, Theodor Adorno, Vittorio Gregotti, Aldo Rossi, Robert Venturi, Michel Foucault, Superstudio, Umberto Eco, Hans Hollein, John Turner, Denise Scott Brown, Giancarlo de Carlo, John Habraken, Kisho Kurokawa, Amos Rapoport, Geert Bekaert, Archizoom, Philippe Boudon, Jean Baudrillard, Geoffrey Broadbent, Henri Lefèbvre, Joseph Rykwert, Manfredo Tafuri, Alan Colquhoun, Giorgio Grassi, Bernard Tschumi, Alexander Tzonis, Liane Lefaivre, Charles Jencks, Rem Koolhaas, Leon Krier, Colin Rowe, Fred Koetter, Philippe Panerai, Jean Castex, Demetri Porphyrios, Nigel Cross, Kenneth Frampton, Peter Eisenman, Paul Virilio, Spiro Kostof, Michael Müller, Beatriz Colomina, Jean-François Lyotard, Ignasi de Solà-Morales, Mike Davis, David Harvey, Diane Ghirardo, Marc Augé, Michael Sorkin, Mark C. Taylor, Anthony Vidler, Massimo Cacciari, Hans Kollhoff, Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, Bart Verschaffel, Mark Wigley, Michael Hays en Mary McLeod.

Jan 8, 08 6:34 am

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