some good books about architecture

Books about architecture there are a lot. The titles I want to recommend are not the usual books with pictures, they have their own purpose, but some theoretical books which give a background on why, what and how questions. Why do architects design the way they do, what means modernism , why is ornamentation such a big issue, how does politics or the condition of society influence architecture and so on and so on.

The titles are listed below in a random order. In my other articles (the ones already written and the ones to come) on architecture I hope to make more sense of them and give a more coherent view on architecture. If this was a scientific blog I would already have listed some of this books as source for my earlier posts on architecture.

– Architecture and modernity, a critique // Hilde Heynen
The book discusses the relationship between modernity, dwelling, and architecture, and goes into what modernity is, how it can be interpreted. This is discussed within the fields of philosophy, sociology, and cultural theory.

– On thinking, dwelling and housing // Martin Heidegger
Gives a different view about what building and living actually is or can be. How you can look at a thing, a work, at housing, building and dwelling. //philosophy 

– Meaning of the built environment // Amos Rapoport
A good book about meanings in architecture, linked to flexibility and vernacular architecture, symbols in architecture. Gives really good insight in how meaning and tradition were, are and in my humble opinion should be embedded or at least not be forgotten in contemporary architecture. The book is concerned with the meanings which buildings, their contents, and their inhabitants convey, and the conclusions which can be drawn therefrom for procedures of architectural design to satisfy the people who will ultimately live in these buildings.

– Image of the city // Kevin Lynch
A for me very important work about perception of the built environment. This work is often used to say something useful about image quality of a city, neighborhood, street and building in its context. How people experience and remember a city, paths, edges, nodes, districts and landmarks.

mental map of LA

– Studies in tectonic culture // Kenneth Frampton
A must read book about evolution of architecture, a very different approach, about the poetry of structure and construction.

– A history of building types // Nikolaus Pevsner
A standard on typology of buildings, with lots of 19th century examples of houses, libraries, hospitals, police stations,  etc.

– Language of post modern architecture // Charles Jencks
The book is about the paradigm shift from modern to postmodern architecture. Modern architecture concentrates on univalent forms such as right angles and square buildings often resembling office buildings. However, postmodern architecture focuses on forms derived from the mind, body, city context, and nature.

– De Architectura libri decem // Vitruvius
Ten books about principal views on architecture, city planning and more, written about 30 years BC, and still a standard.

– Collage city // Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter
More of the same Kevin Lynch is also writing about: human perception of the built environment.

– Complexity and contradiction in architecture // Robert Venturi
this book is a gentle manifesto for a nonstraightforward architecture, a complaint against modern architecture in favour of post modern architecture

 Well, I could go on for a while, there are more interesting books to read, but the ten books above make a nice start!


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