15 Summer Reads

John Hill
9. July 2022
Image: World-Architects

Unlike most summer reading lists, which prioritize breezy, portable books that can be taken to the beach or read on the veranda with a glass of wine in hand, the fifteen books assembled here come in a variety of sizes, veering from picture books to scholarly texts. All have been released at some point in 2022 and, depending on one's location in the world, are available now. Complete with specs, links to the publishers' websites, and firsthand commentary, the books are presented in order of page size, from small to extra-large.

Small

Vitruvius Without Text: The Biography of a Book

Vitruvius Without Text: The Biography of a Book
André Tavares

11.6  × 17.4  cm (4-1/2 x 6-3/4")
250 Pages
61 Illustrations
Paperback
ISBN 9783856764227
gta Verlag
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The latest book by André Tavares, author of The Anatomy of the Architectural Book, looks at one famous architecture book in particular: Vitruvius’s De Architectura. Instead of examining the contents of the text first written in the first century BCE, Tavares focuses on the versions printed between 1486 and 2016. The compact book (it is also available to read online) reads like a history of book publishing and architectural thought, tracing how approaches to illustrating, translating, and presenting Vitruvius’s text on the page changed over time. Not just for bookworms.

 

Formulations: Architecture, Mathematics, Culture

Formulations: Architecture, Mathematics, Culture
Andrew Witt
Writing Architecture Series

13.6 x 20.3 cm (5-3/8 x 8")
432 Pages
115 Illustrations
Paperback
ISBN 9780262543002
The MIT Press
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The latest book in Anyone Corporation's heady Writing Architecture Series is a slight departure from the nearly two-dozen books published since its inception in 1995, with the same small page size but a new graphic design courtesy of Ben Fehrman-Lee and a thicker profile thanks to matte rather than glossy paper. The last is also due to architect and mathematician Andrew Witt’s lengthy text, which examines the myriad intersections between architecture and mathematics over the last 150 years. Born from Witt’s Narratives of Design Science course at Harvard GSD, Formulations is dense but readable, with more than 100 illustrations integrated into the text.

 

Outdoor Domesticity: On the Relationships between Trees, Architecture, and Inhabitants

Outdoor Domesticity: On the Relationships between Trees, Architecture, and Inhabitants
Ricardo Devesa
With contributions by María Teresa Muñoz and Iñaki Ábalos

13.5 x 21.5 cm (5-1/2 x 8-1/2")
326 Pages
230 Illustrations
Hardcover
ISBN 9781948765718
Actar Publishers
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Summer is the season when people tend to spend the most time outdoors, so a book devoted to the relationship between trees and buildings is fitting for inclusion in a summer reading list. Ricardo Devesa, editor in chief at Actar, has adapted his ten-year-old doctoral dissertation for this compact, heavily illustrated book that analyzes five houses whose architects incorporated pre-existing trees into their designs: Bernard Rudofsky's La Casa (Frigiliana, Spain, 1972); Marcel Breuer's Caesar Cottage (Lakeville, CT, USA, 1952); Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret's Villa La Roche (Paris, 1923); Juan Navarro Baldeweg's Villa Pepa (Spain, 1993); and Alison and Peter Smithson's Hexenhaus (Bad Karlshafen, Germany, 1984–2002), the last of which was also the subject of a book-length monograph last year.

 

Densification of Urban Landscapes: Post-War Housing Developments Between Preservation and Renewal

Densification of Urban Landscapes: Post-War Housing Developments Between Preservation and Renewal
Anke Domschky, Stefan Kurath, Simon Mühlebach, Urs Primas
Edited by Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW

14 x 19 cm (5-1/2 x 7-1/2")
240 Pages
200 Illustrations
Paperback
ISBN 9783038630739
Triest
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Although the potential infill of open spaces in postwar housing developments is hardly limited to Germany and Switzerland, much less Europe, those two countries are the focus of this book edited by ZHAW School of Architecture, Design and Civil Engineering as a "comprehensive guide to preserving the qualities of post-war residential developments due for densification." The bulk of the book are seven case studies in Altdorf UR, Bern, Hamburg, Munich, and Zurich; these projects "acknowledged by experts for their qualities in terms of architecture and urban design" include Treehouses Bebelallee in Hamburg, where housing blocks from the 1950s were extended vertically.

 

Truth and Lies in Architecture

Truth and Lies in Architecture
Richard Francis-Jones
Foreword by Kenneth Frampton

15 x 22 cm (6 x 8-1/2")
156 Pages
62 Illustrations
Paperback
ISBN 9781954081659
ORO Editions
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The cover of Truth and Lies in Architecture, depicting a scene from Alex Garland's 2014 film Ex Machina, hints at the diverse references culled by architect Richard Francis-Jones of Sydney's fjmtstudio in this collection of essays on the "vexed circumstance of contemporary architectural practice." Stills from other films, paintings, photographs of buildings by Kahn and Mies — even a campaign photo of Donald Trump — sit alongside quotes from Umberto Eco, Albert Camus, Hannah Arendt, Adolf Loos, and many others. Any field is game for shaping and articulating Francis-Jones's thoughts on architecture's diminished role in the face of the 21st century's numerous environmental, social, cultural and political crises.

 

Australian Architecture: A History

Australian Architecture: A History
Davina Jackson

17 x 22.8 cm (6-3/4 x 9")
368 Pages
Paperback
ISBN 9781760878399
Allen & Unwin
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Author Davina Jackson's latest book on architecture in Australia and the Pan-Pacific region is the first comprehensive survey of Australian architecture since Max Freeland's Architecture in Australia: A History in 1968. Jackson's history is told in ten chronological chapters that start with Aboriginal huts and other shelters before the British invasion in 1798, continues to the present, and includes a few views to the future. The scope is sweeping, but a thorough index and table of contents aid readers in navigating the book; the latter also points to "visits" that highlight ten important works of architecture and a few stylistic "influences" that aid non-architects wanting to learn about Australian architecture. 

 

Medium

Climax Change! How Architecture Must Transform in the Age of Ecological Emergency

Climax Change! How Architecture Must Transform in the Age of Ecological Emergency
Pedro Gadanho

18.5 x 24.5 cm (7-3/8 x 9-5/8")
256 Pages
56 Illustrations
Hardcover
ISBN 9781948765671
Actar Publishers
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Architects know they play an important role in addressing climate change, given that buildings account for roughly 40% of carbon emissions, but few of them will go so far as recommending a stop to new construction. Former MoMA curator Pedro Gadanho is doing just that, with this book of ten essays that expand upon an idea he first expressed in 2009: "We should stop building anew." This tactic is not the only one architects have at their disposal, but it articulates the extreme changes that need to take place in the coming years in dealing with our global climate emergency. Or as Gadanho puts it: "We need to revive the spirit that once drove the avant-gardes."

 

Verify in Field: Projects and Conversations, Höweler + Yoon

Verify in Field: Projects and Conversations, Höweler + Yoon
Eric Höweler and J. Meejin Yoon
Plus conversations with Adam Greenfield, Nader Tehrani, Kate Orff, Daniel Barber, and Ana Miljacki

19.5 x 23.5 cm (7-3/4 x 9-1/4")
360 Pages
529 Illustrations
Paperback
ISBN 9783038602248
Park Books
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"Why write a book in the age of Instagram?" Eric Höweler asks this question in the postscript to the latest monograph on Höweler + Yoon, the Boston firm he co-founded with J. Meejin Yoon in 2004. It is an apt question, especially for architects, who tend to use Instagram to effectively promote their work, sharing it with colleagues and maybe even potential clients. The answer is in the "slow feed" of projects, essays, and conversations in the preceding pages: a beautifully presented assemblage of words and images. The projects span five thematic chapters that build on the book's title (VIF, an acronym familiar to all architects), with the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA being one of the numerous standouts.

 

Between Memory and Invention: My Journey in Architecture

Between Memory and Invention: My Journey in Architecture
Robert A. M. Stern
With Leopoldo Villardi

19 x 25.4 cm (7-1/2 x 10")
520 Pages
Hardcover
ISBN 9781580935890
The Monacelli Press
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The life of prolific New York architect, historian, author, and educator Robert A. M. Stern is recounted in detail across more than 500 pages: from his upbringing in Brooklyn to his education at Yale University; from the start of his architectural practice in 1969 to his shift from modernism to "modern traditionalism"; and from his return to Yale as dean of the School of Architecture to his firm's stamping of the Manhattan skyline with limestone-clad towers. Ever the scholar, Stern's autobiography is told surprisingly in a frank, conversational manner that makes it a refreshing read, particularly during the many passages when he makes his opinion — good or bad — clearly known. Reading this book is realizing just how much Stern's varied output has impacted the course of American architecture over the last half-century.

 

Large

DXA NYC: Ten Years of Building on History

DXA NYC: Ten Years of Building on History
DXA Studio (Jordan Rogove and Wayne Norbeck)

23.2 x 28.6 cm (9-1/8 x 11-1/4")
184 Pages
Hardcover
ISBN 9781951541903
ORO Editions
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Jordan Rogove and Wayne Norbeck founded DXA Studio in New York City in 2011, and in its first ten years they have completed numerous projects in Manhattan and Brooklyn — quite a few of them as part of landmark buildings or in historic districts. These circumstances have made the firm experts on the workings of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and, in turn, made their first monograph a bit of a textbook on dealing with preservation law and designing creatively for historical contexts. Inserted between the 14 completed projects and proposals are conversations with important players in preservation and short contributions by prominent authors that flesh out DXA's unique approach to architecture in NYC. A special mention for the book's construction: thick, foil stamped cover; gilded edges with images of DXA projects; and a ribbon bookmark with the apt phrase "Ten Years of Building on History."

 

The Turn of the Century: A Reader about Architecture in Europe 1990–2020

The Turn of the Century: A Reader about Architecture in Europe 1990–2020
Edited by Louisa Hutton, Matthias Sauerbruch
With photographs by Ola Kolehmainen

24 × 30 cm (9-1/2 x 11-3/4")
164 Pages
14 Illustrations
Hardcover
ISBN 9783037786741
Lars Müller Publishers
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Published as a companion to draw love build, a large exhibition on thirty years of the work of Sauerbruch Hutton at the M9 Museum of the 20th Century in Venice-Mestre, The Turn of the Century consists of two-dozen contributions commissioned by Louisa Hutton and Matthias Sauerbruch. They asked for short essays "on a theme relating to the turn of the century," but given the context of the publication and the pair doing the asking, some of the essays reflect directly on the work of Sauerbruch Hutton. Peter Cook, for instance, harkens back to their first "date" at a party he threw before "itemizing and comparing some of his favorites" from their portfolio. The list of contributors make this book hard to resist: Barry Bergdoll, Jean-Louis Cohen, Kristin Feireiss, Kurt W. Forster, Adrian Forty, Mohsen Mostafavi, Lars Müller, Kester Rattenbury, Mark Wigley, ...

 

Bamboo Contemporary: Green Houses Around the Globe

Bamboo Contemporary: Green Houses Around the Globe
William Richards

22.8 x 30.5 cm (9 x 12")
256 Pages
Hardcover
ISBN 9781616899004
Princeton Architectural Press
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Large coffee table books surveying single-family houses are the proverbial dime a dozen, but concerns over sustainability and increasing social and economic inequality make them — both the building type and books celebrating them — problematic. Yet every now and then such a title focuses on commendable aspects of houses, including this survey of fourteen "green houses" with bamboo walls, screens, trellises, and other features. The houses span the globe: Brazil and Ecuador in South America; Hawaii and Washington, DC in North America; Czech Republic, France, and Norway in Europe; China, India, Indonesia, and Taiwan in Asia. The Aura House in Bali, designed by Ibuku, lends the book its striking cover and hints at the many lush photographs inside. 

 

Extra Large

AIRES MATEUS Architectural Terrains: Five Investigations

AIRES MATEUS Architectural Terrains: Five Investigations
Francisco Aires Mateus, Manuel Aires Mateus
Nuno Crespo, Sofia Pinto Basto, Paulo Pires do Vale, Ricardo Cavalho, Delfim Sardo

24 x 31 cm (9-1/2 x 12-3/8")
240 Pages
200 Illustrations
Paperback
ISBN 9783966800143
ArchiTangle
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The "Five Investigations" of this book's subtitle are five contributions to the Venice Architecture Biennale — between 2010 and 2021, each iteration but 2014 — by Aires Mateus, the Lisbon-based collaborative studio of brothers Manuel and Francisco. Each Biennale installation is documented as a single 48-page book, making Architectural Terrains five books in one, kept together with an embossed banderole. The single-word titles — Voids, Radix, Fenda, Field, Ground — hint at the poetic nature of the constructions, something reinforced by the prose the siblings use to describe the projects. Texts by curators and critics further describe the projects, but most pages are given over to equally poetic photographs and drawings.

 

565 Broome SoHo: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

565 Broome SoHo: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Photographs by Evan Joseph
Edited by Federico Bucci, Mario Piazza

25.4 x 30.5 cm (10 x 12")
216 Pages
Hardcover
ISBN 9788891831552
Rizzoli
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Renzo Piano is one of the few contemporary architects whose every commission seems to be given its own book. The Italian architect's most recently completed building in New York — coming after the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2015 and a trio of buildings at Columbia University's Manhattanville Campus between 2016 and 2018 — is a high-end residential tower on the edge of Manhattan's SoHo district that was completed in 2019. The book on 565 Broome SoHo alternates matte and glossy pages, respectively: texts by skyscraper expert Carol Willis, editor Federico Bucci, sculptor Susumu Shingu, whose piece fills the void between the two glass towers, and others; and portfolios with photographs by Evan Joseph. Unlike the Whitney and parts of the Columbia buildings, the public cannot enter 565 Broome, so this book is the next best thing.

 

The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn

The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn
Edited by Richard Saul Wurman and Eugene Feldman

28.4 x 38.1 cm (11-1/4 x 15")
216 Pages
177 Illustrations
Hardcover facsimile edition; Paperback reader's guide
ISBN 9780300263848
YC British Art
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First published in 1962, The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn is considered the first monograph on Louis Kahn, created by a young Richard Saul Wurman when he was working in Kahn's office in Philadelphia. The extra-large book is back, accompanied by a reader's guide, in a facsimile edition produced by Designers & Books and published by an imprint of Yale University Press. The 96-page reprint is true to the book's second edition from 1973 — from its linen cover with embossed gold-leaf trees to its heavyweight papers and four gatefolds. With Kahn's charcoal, ink, and watercolor sketches large on the page, the atlas-sized book is a joy to pore over. As a companion, the Reader's Guide, a 120-page paperback with matching trees on its cover, is beyond satisfying; the essays, archival texts, remembrances, and interview with Wurman add some historical and contemporary context to a book long out of print and — until now — hard to obtain.

 

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