Whether you're a working architect, studying architecture, or active in another creative field, architecture is all around us and one of the readiest sources of visual inspiration we all have. But you can never stop learning about architecture, and here are some of the best new reads to invigorate your love for the discipline and teach you things you didn't know.
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1. Fast Company Innovation by Design by Stephanie Mehta
Design has gone from often being an afterthought to a critical part of doing business in today's economy. Some of the world's biggest brands, including Apple, Airbnb, Google and Tesla, have made human-centred design a hallmark of their brands. Design is having a moment right now, from fashion to architecture to office plans and from digital processes to artisanal craftsmanship.
Edited by Stephanie Mehta, this book from Fast Company offers a comprehensive and lively look at the way design has permeated all areas of life and work. It's essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the ways that design is fundamentally changing and enhancing business and daily life.
2. Architecture for Health by Christine Nickl-Weller and Hans Nickl
If there was a time to focus on the design of our hospitals, it's now. So this book by Christine Nickl-Weller and Hans Nickl could not be more timely. Having been engaged in the field of hospital construction for 40 years, they view the hospital on a variety of levels. This holistic view is enriched by contributions from renowned authors from disciplines as diverse as psychology, health management, landscape architecture and art history.
3. The Barbican Estate by Stefi Orazi Studio
This intriguing study of London's unique Barbican Estate was published in 2019 to make the 50th anniversary of the first residents moving in. It takes both a micro and macro approach, looking at the design of the individual flats as well as the development's status as a Brutalist icon.
Author and designer Stefi Orazi interviews residents past and present, giving an insight into how life on the estate has changed over the decades. The book also includes fascinating texts by leading architects and design critics, including John Allan of Avanti Architects and Charles Holland of Charles Holland Architects.
4. The Secret Life of the Modern House by Dominic Bradbury
Over the last century, nothing short of a design revolution has transformed our houses and the spaces within them. In this ground-breaking book, architectural and design writer Dominic Bradbury charts the course of this voyage, from the late 19th century through to the houses of today. Over 19 themed chapters, he explains the way our houses have been reinvented while taking in the giants of Art Deco, influential Modernists including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, and post-war innovators such as Eero Saarinen and Philip Johnson.
5. Airport Wayfinding by Heike Nehl and Sibylle Schlaich
The design of airport wayfinding is somewhat of a paradox. On the other hand, airports represent hypermodern functional environments in which processes are internationally standardised and maximally efficient. On the one hand, the history and the design heritage of the particular country can often be identified through its airport, and local characteristics are intensified and reinforced, sometimes stereotypically.
The authors, both specialists in the field, decipher the process of creating airport wayfinding, trace its emergence and evolution over the decades, and assess the wayfinding systems of approximately 70 airports.
6. The Monocle Book of Homes by Nolan Giles and Tyler Brûlé
Good homes are places that sustain you, inspire you and tell your story thanks to their architecture, use of materials and contents. These are the attributes that global business briefing Monocle has always celebrated when covering residences in its design and architecture pages.
Now it brings everything together in one book that explores individual homes, housing projects old and new, communities of self-builders, and even whole neighbourhoods. Monocle has also recruited key thinkers, writers and designers to share their perspectives in a series of fascinating essays.
7. Out of the Woods by Heike Nehl and Sibylle Schlaich
Timber is fast emerging as a sustainable material of choice, and thanks to recent technological advances, it's a safe and sturdy alternative to concrete. Out of the Woods explores the innovative and inspiring ways architects are using this universal building material, from grand Alpine escapes to tropical getaways, plywood penthouses to mass timber high-rises.
The Brutalist aesthetic is enjoying a renaissance, and here's the most wide-ranging investigation ever undertaken into one of architecture's most powerful movements. It features more than 850 Brutalist buildings ― existing and demolished, classic and contemporary ― organised geographically into nine continental regions. It all adds up to one inescapable truth: that Brutalism was, and continues to be, a truly international architectural phenomenon.