Books for Architectural Design Inspirations
By Von Chua
As we spend more time social distancing at home today, reading time and frequency have increased generally. Books for architectural design inspirations came to mind as I found myself going through old books to revisit some of the essential books on architecture, as well as adding many new books to my collection in the past eight months. As our live, work and play environment is ever-evolving; it seems likely that the design of spaces that we occupy, whether it is our homes, our office or where we socialise will change. Perhaps it is that little terrace at home, an outdoor respite, that will bring the most joy to us. Whether you are an architect, a designer or someone just interested in design, the books below are a shortlist of books that bring inspirations, thoughts, and vision for our future spaces.
CASE STUDY HOUSES
Case Study House published by Taschen
The Case Study House program held between 1945 - 66 in Los Angeles provided a platform for innovation in the history of American architecture. With photographs, sketches and floor plans of each of the 36 prototype designs that resulted from the program, this book is a comprehensive account of the ideas and projects by renowned architects such as Charles and Ray Eames, and Richard Neutra.
The publication benefits from Julius Shulman's photography, capturing the architectural details as well as conveying the grand visions of each architect's work.
100 CONTEMPORARY HOUSES
100 Contemporary Houses published by Taschen
This small book documents 100 contemporary houses built in the past two decades. Works from John Pawson to Tadao Ando can be found in the book, exploring homes made from timber to glass, the book is an easy Sunday read and a source of inspiration if you have been dreaming about building your own home.
The publication is authored by Philip Jodidio who is internationally renowned as one of the most prolific writers on the subject of architecture, leading the monographs of Pritzker Architecture Prize laureates including Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, and Tadao Ando.
ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST AT 100: A CENTURY OF STYLE
Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style published by Abrams
Architectural Digest has been publishing the most stylish homes in the world since 1920. A regular to homes of private celebrities, Architectural Digest publishes well-thought-out homes that reveal the personal spaces of international figures in the world.
This book was published to commemorate the magazine's 100th anniversary. The editors delved into a century worth of materials, curating a rich book filled with exclusive images from the magazine's archive. CNN called it the "Best A-list Celebrity Homes of the Past 100 Years: A New Book by Architectural Digest Looks Back at the Most Glamorous Homes Ever to Appear in its Pages".
THE MONOCLE GUIDE TO SHOPS, KIOSKS AND MARKETS
The Monocle Guide to Shops, Kiosks and Markets published by gestalten
In the Monocle Guide series, gestalten has published The Monocle Guide to Shops, Kiosks and Markets, The Monocle Guide to Hotels, Inns and Hideaways, The Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities, and more. The book showcases Monocle team's 100 favourite shops from around the world, as well as practical guidelines on setting up shop.
The book is well-photographed with parts illustrated in Monocle's signature style; a pleasure to read for retailers as well as the curious shopper.
IN PRAISE OF SHADOWS
In Praise of Shadows published by Penguin
While In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki is not strictly a book about architecture, Tanizaki's keen eyes teach us to see the beauty and the nuances that enrich our daily lives. "We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates… Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty."
It's an essential book that is easily digestible and refocuses our views, making it one of my most treasured books since it was recommended to me in architecture school.
ARCHITECTURE IN WOOD: A WORLD HISTORY
Architecture in Wood: A World History published by Thames & Hudson
British architectural photographer Will Pryce visually documented the material wood which has been widely used all over the world. Wood formed a main material in building, and hence, formed a key part of the history of architecture.
The publication is supported by well-researched texts showing wooden heritage from Japan to Norway. Also, new wooden architecture of today is also included in the book. The book demonstrates the versatility of wood as documented through its use.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF HAPPINESS
The Architecture of Happiness published by Penguin
Alain de Botton's The Architecture of Happiness - The Secret Art of Furnishing Your Life touches on beauty in our daily surroundings. The kind of chairs, buildings and streets that we come across in our environments contribute to our happiness; the quality of our environment is one of the main contributor of happiness in our daily lives.
The book starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be. An idea worth exploring.
THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURE IN 100 BUILDINGS
The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings published by Simon & Schuster / TED
Marc Kushner, founder of Architizer.com and a practicing architect draws on his insights between the crossroads of architecture and social media, highlighting 100 buildings that embody the future of architecture. The book portrays the architecture in evolution in the digital age.
"Can cellphones influence architecture? Architect Marc Kushner, author of a new book, 'The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings' thinks so - especially as more people look to take selfies with interesting backgrounds." - The Wall Street Journal
ELEMENTS OF ARCHITECTURE
Elements of Architecture published by Taschen
This book by Pritzer Architecture Prize Laureate Rem Koolhaas, co-founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), is a collection of the fundamentals of our buildings. Think floor, ceiling, window, escalator, elevator and more.
Each element is a look through the microscope - from its origins, its evolution, its development through technological advancement, economic contexts, even on digital opportunities, making this a useful book of reference for the modern day architect and architecture enthusiast.
THE DESIGN HOTELS BOOK
The Design Hotels Book published by Prestel Publishing
Each year, Design Hotels' in-house team presents a global collection of design-led, independent hotels. In the latest edition - Edition 2020, leading photographers have been invited to collaborate to produce a series of photo essays on 25 trailblazing member hotels that are setting the benchmark of modern hospitality.
One can only dream about our next international travel destination now, and this book allows a glimpse into the 300 plus hotels across 60 countries that member hotels are located.
Finally, it's not a book, nevertheless a great source of design inspirations on the 100 Great Designs of Modern Times from the IIT Institute of Design. From the iPhone to an Eames chair, the PDF is available to read right now.
100 GREAT DESIGNS OF MODERN TIMES REVISITING IIT INSTITUTE OF DESIGN'S 1959 RESEARCH STUDY IN 2019