The 2015 Top 50 Architecture Books

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Top-50-architecture-books-of-2015
The Top 50 Architecture Books

I love architecture books more anything else in the world. Architecture books play a significant role in the education of every architect and always will.

In celebration of architecture books, I have compiled a list of the most popular architecture books during 2015.

What About The ARE Book?                       

I recently told a friend I was writing this blog post and she asked me,

 “Did your book make Amazon’s  list?”

Hahaha…   Sadly no, How to Pass the Architecture Registration Exam is a few thousand places away from being anywhere close to being on this list. The ARE book hasn’t been on the Amazon marketplace for very long. I have also sold significantly more copies through my website, then with Amazon. Hopefully someday I’ll get there, but definitely not this year.

Where did I get my info?

Easy…. I got it from the best Architecture Bookstore in the world. Amazon.  I pulled this list from the Amazon’s database. Some of these books are new and popular other books have been out for several years.  What I like about this list is it covers all genres across the broad topic of architecture.

Wait, Before You Start… 

Two Things…

First, make sure you also check out some of the  other Holiday Gift Guides

Lastly, Below I first provide a quick and dirty list of all 50 books.
After the quick and dirty list, I provide pictures and a brief description of all 50 books.

Top 50 Architecture Books of 2015 (List Only)

1.  Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined by Steve McDonald
2.  Home Hardcover by Ellen DeGeneres
3.  Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson
4.  Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhereby Zach Klein
5.  The LEGO Architect by Tom Alphin
6.  The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
7.  Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry by Paul Goldberger
8.  Archidoodle: The Architect’s Activity Book by Steve Bowkett
9.  The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquylin Smith
10.  The New Small House by Katie Hutchison
11.  Coloring Book: Enjoy and set your Mind at Peace: For Adults and Teens by Bella Stitt
12.  The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
13.  Home Quick Planner: Reusable, Peel & Stick Furniture & Architectural Symbols by Daniel K. Reif
14.  Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Castles and Cathedrals, Skyscrapers and Bridges, and So Much More…by Lee J. Ames
15.  At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
16.  101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick
17.  The Curated House: Creating Style, Beauty, and Balance by Michael S. Smith
18.  Louvre: All the Paintings by Vincent Pomarede
19.  750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahe
20.  Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury by Larry Millett
21.  Archi-Graphic: An Infographic Look at Architecture by Frank Jacobus
22.  Operative Design: A Catalog of Spatial Verbs by Anthony di Mari
23.  Conditional Design: An introduction to elemental architecture by Anthony di Mari
24.  Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan, Janel Laban, and Melanie Acevedo
25.  A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure) by Christopher Alexander et al.
26.  The Works: Anatomy of a City by Kate Ascher
27.  The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper by Kate Ascher
28.  Siteless: 1001 Building Forms by Francois Blanciak
29.  Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia by Greg Castillo
30.  Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down by J.E. Gordon
31.  Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details by Bradley Quinn
32.  Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real by The Imagineers
33.  City on a Grid: How New York Became New York by Gerard Koeppel
34.  BIG, HOT TO COLD: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation by Bjarke Ingels
35.  The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings by Marc Kushner
36.  Tree Houses: Fairy Tale Castles in the Air by Philip Jodidio
37.  The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience by Toby Hemenway
38.  Palladio Virtuel by Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
39.  Hitler at Home by Despina Stratigakos
40.  The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes by Monocle
41.  Architectural Art: A Stress Management Coloring Book For Adults by Penny Farthing Graphics
42.  Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hideouts by Sofia Borges
43.  Eames: Beautiful Details by Eames Demetrios et al.
44.  The ARE Review Manual (Architect Registration Exam) by David Kent Ballast
45.  Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck
46.  Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City by Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthew Gordon Lasner
47.  Building Construction Illustrated by Francis D.K. Ching
48.  Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods by Joseph Iano
49.  The High Line by James Corner Field Operations et al.
50.  Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Hewing et al.

 

Top 50 Architecture Books of 2015 (with Images and a Short Description)

Fantastic Cities
1. Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined
by Steve McDonald

$10 on Amazon
Haven’t used a coloring book since you were in preschool? Recently, coloring books have actually become quite popular with adults and several have made their way on to this top architecture books list. Fantastic Cities is an excellent book to sit down with some colored pencils and relax while you color in the Urban Landscape. The line drawings in this book are beautiful and so detailed that at times will remind you of a Where’s Waldo book.

I recently purchased several copies of this book for some Architect friends and am not surprised that it is #1 on the top architecture books for 2015 list.

Home
2. Home Hardcover
by Ellen DeGeneres

$22 on Amazon 
It would seem that some people really can do it all. She’s a talk show host, stand-up comic, and actor. And apparently, she’s also found time to successfully renovate over a dozen homes, and she shares her insights in this book.

Styled
3. Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves
by Emily Henderson

$20 on Amazon 
Is your expertise heavy on construction knowledge, but a bit lacking when it comes to décor? Do you want to think more like a stylist? Henderson has whittled down this mindset into ten easy steps.

Cabin Porn
4. Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere
by Zach Klein

$23 on Amazon 
This beautiful picture book captures the essence of Cabin Architecture in nature. Cabin Porn actually began as a Tumbler account that grew to such popularity that eventually spawned this book.

Lego Architect
5. The LEGO Architect 
by Tom Alphin

$13 on Amazon 
Yes, every architect has their “how Legos inspired my success” story. If you want to reconnect with those roots and hone your model-making  skills at the same time, this book is for you. Or maybe you’re thinking about going to architecture school because you loved building Legos as a kid so much, but you haven’t taken the plunge yet. If so, this book encompasses a variety of architectural styles, so it could help you assess whether or not your childhood interest could transform into a new career.  This book also includes instructions to build 12 scale model buildings in legos.

The dot
6. The Dot
by Peter H. Reynolds

$8 on Amazon 
Do you feel like you have something to offer creatively, but you’re not sure you have the talent to manifest it the way you want to? Reynolds has written an entire book about that. His protagonist wants to be able to draw, but she doesn’t have the talent. So she drew a dot, and her creativity took off from there.

building Frank Gehry
7. Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry
by Paul Goldberger

$21 on Amazon
Have you wondered how Gehry became the most famous architect alive? This biography relays just that, and it’s so much more than a simple bio. This book also highlights and illustrates how Gehry’s life experiences are reflected in his work.

Archidoodle
8. Archidoodle: The Architect’s Activity Book
by Steve Bowkett

$12 on Amazon 
As the title implies, this book allows you to learn the craft of architecture via doodling. As the first book of its kind, it provides potential and current architects with a unique opportunity: interactively learning about architecture through drawing. And not only that, it provides you with challenges to solve along the way.

The NEsting place
9. The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful 
by Myquylin Smith

$13 on Amazon 
All overachievers know that perfectionism can be counterproductive. Blogger, self-taught decorator, mom, and owner of 13 homes, Smith gives practical tips for effectively streamlining her interior design process. Practicality can be elegant, and Smith shows you how.

new small house
10. The New Small House 
by Katie Hutchison

$19 on Amazon
Hutchison embraces the trend of the new millennium toward building small houses. As overpopulation becomes more and more of an issue, new mansions are seemingly going to become less popular, affordable, and practical. Yet many people are always going to prefer to live in single-family dwellings, and Hutchison provides solutions for the present and the future.

The book highlights 24 houses that are all between 500 and 1600 square feet.

Coloring book
11. Coloring Book: Enjoy and set your Mind at Peace: For Adults and Teens
by Bella Stitt

$8 on Amazon
While Fantastic Cities is focused on cityscapes, this coloring book is focused on serenity. Remember how relaxing coloring could be when you were a kid? You can benefit that same practice, whether you choose to stay inside the lines or go outside them. Take break and get some coloring done.

Jane Jacobs
12. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

$11 on Amazon
What makes a great American city? Jacobs answers the questions of: what makes streets safe? What constitutes a neighborhood? and the functions the neighborhood serves in many different scales. This  classic book is a must read for understanding of how a city works.

Home planner quick
13. Home Quick Planner: Reusable, Peel & Stick Furniture & Architectural Symbols
by Daniel K. Reif

$25 on Amazon
Quickly drop some furniture in that floor plan. Better yet, give this to your client to give them something to do, and get them thinking about how they will use their new space.

Draw 50 buildings
14. Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Castles and Cathedrals, Skyscrapers and Bridges, and So Much More…
by Lee J. Ames

$7 on Amazon 
In this instructional book, Ames gives you all the steps you need to take, in order to improve your architectural drawing skills. Maybe you’re an architecture student or considering pursuing architecture, but drawing isn’t necessarily your forte. Anyone who’d like to hone their skills at drawing buildings would benefit from this book.

Home Bryson
15. At Home: A Short History of Private Life
by Bill Bryson

$20 on Amazon 
Everyone has heard the saying, “A man’s home is his castle.” But maybe you don’t feel like you’ve arrived at a castle when you get home. Perhaps the reason could be that the functionality of your home is askew—or at least a bit off. Bryson reviews the history of the home, especially the purposes of specific rooms, which have evolved over time.

101 things architecture school
16. 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick

$13 on Amazon 
Do you feel like your professors are being intentionally murky? Or do you feel like you can’t find your way, when you’re supposed to be the one designing the blueprint? Written by an architect instructor and certified architect, this reference guide may be just what you need to navigate you through architecture school.

The Curated House
17. The Curated House: Creating Style, Beauty, and Balance
by Michael S. Smith

$36 on Amazon 
Instead of exploring architecture by pontificating about famous buildings, Smith takes a different approach and reflects on his own homes. What influences architects when they design? How much of a product of their own environment are they? What historical elements influence them? Find out in this personal piece.

The louvre
18. Louvre: All the Paintings
by Vincent Pomarede

$45 on Amazon 
There are currently over three thousand paintings in the Louvre. And in this collection, every single one of them are presented together in this book.

750 years paris
19. 750 Years in Paris
by Vincent Mahe

$19 on Amazon 
This book tracks the history of a single building, whose life has spanned over seven centuries. A unique chronology, this piece will show you how much one building can withstand, what it can contribute to a community, and the innovation required to allow it to persevere.

Minnesota
20. Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury
by Larry Millett

$34 on Amazon 
The Twin Cities have been forced to remain innovative since they were founded. How can an urban environment sustain itself—and even thrive—throughout subzero temperatures? To accommodate these needs, downtown Minneapolis has skyscrapers that seem to be endlessly connected by overhead walkways, and renowned architects have been happy to contribute to this innovation.

Archigraphic
21. Archi-Graphic: An Infographic Look at Architecture
by Frank Jacobus

$13 on Amazon
It’s essentially impossible to convey information about architecture with words alone. That’s why Jacobus has made such inventive use of infographics in his book. Using these tools to their utmost, he compares and contrasts the work and mediums of various renowned architects.

operative design
22. Operative Design: A Catalog of Spatial Verbs
by Anthony di Mari

$11 on Amazon
This book beautifully breaks down english verbs (action words) and how they can be used to convey ideas spatially. Some of the verbs it covers is: split, embed, extrude, inflate, merge, offset, intersect, etc.  Each word has diagrams and 3d drawings explaining each word.  What I really like about this book is that conveys many powerful ideas with barely any written text. I personally bought this book in 2015 and would highly recommend it to anyone in architecture who is working on their design skills.

elemental design
23. Conditional Design: An introduction to elemental architecture
by Anthony di Mari

$11 on Amazon
This is part 2 of Operative Design: A Catalog of Spatial Verbs by Anthony di Mari  See the description above.

apartment therapy
24. Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home
by Maxwell Ryan, Janel Laban, and Melanie Acevedo

$19 on Amazon
Many people don’t consider designing a home therapeutic unless it’s a house. But crafting your apartment can in fact make you feel complete and happy. Use this detailed guide to find the therapy in designing your home, despite the type of dwelling it is.

pattern language
25. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure)
by Christopher Alexander et al.

$37 on Amazon
Do you fully recognize the patterns in architecture? How does that influence your work? Explore the language of patterns in this Architecture book. This is one of the classic architecture books that everyone should spend some time with.

The works
26. The Works: Anatomy of a City
by Kate Ascher

$13 on Amazon
Every New Yorker has a love affair with their city, but many of these inhabitants don’t know what makes their lover tick. Ascher provides the answers to the mysteries of the Big Apple. If you’ve never truly understood where something goes when you throw it “away,” this Architecture book is for you.

The heights
27. The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper
by Kate Ascher

$16 on Amazon
What person reading this list doesn’t love skyscrapers? If you’re truly fascinated by how they’re conceived and constructed but haven’t had the opportunity to actually be a part of the process, then you’ll love this Architecture book. The inner workings of these complex structures no longer need to be enigmas.

siteless
28. Siteless: 1001 Building Forms
by Francois Blanciak

$12 on Amazon
 This Architecture book contains over a thousand drawings that were specifically intended to inspire you to design. From France to Tokyo and beyond, Blanciak clearly has plenty of imagination to draw on.

hippie modernism
29. Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia
by Greg Castillo

$40 on Amazon
Some would argue that the Age of Aquarius is already over. Others think it still hasn’t arrived. Either way, hippies had to move on to survive. How did their freedom, foresight, and rebellion translate into contemporary design? Those are the questions that this piece explores.

structures
30. Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down
by J.E. Gordon

$15 on Amazon
Learn the basics of structural engineering in plain English.

mid century modern
31. Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details
by Bradley Quinn

$17 on Amazon
Could you use a refresher on how furniture might be placed in the buildings you design? Could it be that your ideas could be even more innovative by staying current about interiors? If your answer is yes, these case studies could be worth your time.  

imagineering

32. Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real by The Imagineers

$39 on Amazon
It’s difficult to defy the power of architecture after spending a day at the Magic Kingdom. From Cinderella’s Castle to Spaceship Earth, these designs are proof of how awe-inspiring architectural centerpieces can be. And don’t forget about the architecture involved in great animation. Disney designs like no one else.

City on a grid
33. City on a Grid: How New York Became New York
by Gerard Koeppel

$20 on Amazon
Many people know that East Coast cities were inspired by their European predecessors, but most people don’t know how brilliant the intricate design of Manhattan truly is. It may just look like a grid, but consider maintaining the upkeep of the most overpopulated, heavily trafficked, and frequently viewed urban area in this hemisphere.  Practically every inch of this island has been designed and plotted to the nth degree, so there’s much to learn in this (perhaps) overanalyzed paradigm.

Big hot
34. BIG, HOT TO COLD: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation
by Bjarke Ingels

$33 on Amazon
How does architecture reflect how human beings have adapted to their environments, cultures, and experiences? And from the Great Pyramid to the Gateway Arch, how has architecture embodied how individuals long to transcend their limitations? The scope of this expression is addressed in this well-known piece that coincided with an equally well-known showing in D.C.

Future of architecture
35. The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings
by Marc Kushner

$10 on Amazon
Not only does architecture reflect where we are, it predicts where we’re going.  How can they provide environmental solutions, instead of causing environmental problems? See for yourself.

Tree houses
36. Tree Houses: Fairy Tale Castles in the Air
by Philip Jodidio

$43 on Amazon
The Swiss Family Robinson really was onto something. Not only do treehouses have significance in history and folklore, they’re also predicted to be even more popular in the future. Explore an old/new way to go camping, commune with nature, and find your roots (or would that be branches?).

permaculture
37. The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience
by Toby Hemenway

$19 on Amazon
Are we doing everything we can to preserve our own planet? Can environmentalism provide more of a feeling of permanency? “People come and go so quickly here.” They don’t have to anymore, Dorothy.

palladio
38. Palladio Virtuel
by Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman

$46 on Amazon
Peter Eisenman analyzes 20 Palladian Villas and has a completely different interpretation from his predecessors.

hitler at home
39. Hitler at Home
by Despina Stratigakos

$29 on Amazon
I’m sure you’ve heard it a hundred times that Hitler always wanted to become Architect, but took a different career route. Find out in Stratigakos’ revealing expose about the Dictator’s obsession with the arts.

cosy homes
40. The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes
by Monocle

$40 on Amazon
Who doesn’t want their home to be cozier? “What I really want when I get home from a long day is to be… uncomfortable.” Probably not. By referencing examples from across the globe, this Architecture book examines how to turn your dreams of comfort into reality.

Art
41. Architectural Art: A Stress Management Coloring Book For Adults
by Penny Farthing Graphics

$9 on Amazon
How do unwind at the end of a long day? Need something to do with your hands while you watch TV? This book could be the perfect to relax and brush up on your architecture coloring at the same time.

hide and seek
42. Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hideouts
by Sofia Borges

$42 on Amazon
If you love to get lost in nature, you might long to find your way into a rustic hideaway. Then there’re people who want to spend time in nature but don’t want to rough it. So the challenge for this kind of architecture can often be how to keep a cabin feeling modern. Overcoming these kinds of obstacles is precisely what this Architecture book is about.

eames
43. Eames: Beautiful Details
by Eames Demetrios et al.

$38 on Amazon
The work of this husband-and-wife architecture team is worth remembering and examining. And who better to tell their story than their grandson? All of their pieces, including the building, toys, and films they crafted, are detailed in this Architecture book.

ARE Review Manual Ballast
44. The ARE Review Manual (Architect Registration Exam)
by David Kent Ballast

$138 on Amazon
The ARE Review Manual is the quintessential book for preparing for the Architecture Registration Exam. This book is also regularly referred to as “The Ballast Book”. Its impossible to complete the ARE without using this book. Check out the review on Young Architect about the ARE Review Manual. 

walkable city
45. Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
by Jeff Speck

$14 on Amazon
If you spent any carless time in a city, you rapidly find out which ones are pedestrian-friendly. No city makes it easier for its citizens to thrive without a carbon footprint than NYC, but how can cities that revolve around driving find ways to more actively encourage walking? Exploring options to make walking more appealing in a car-friendly environment is exactly what this Architecture book is about.

Affordable housing
46. Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City
by Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthew Gordon Lasner

$26 on Amazon
The blending and integrating of the entire spectrum of socioeconomic statuses has been part of New York’s history since its inception. Not only was Nicholas Bloom one of my professors during architecture school, he also edited this exceptionally well-researched and dynamically conveyed piece. The interviews of New Yorkers who were pivotal in the development of these projects, such LaGuardia, Koch, de Blasio, are exceptionally utilized in this gripping work.

building constructed illustrated
47. Building Construction Illustrated
by Francis D.K. Ching

$30 on Amazon
This introduction to the principles of building construction has managed to remain current over the course of thirty years. You won’t be disappointed by the innovations contained in the most recent edition of this popular Architecture book.

fundamentals of building
48. Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods
by Joseph Iano

$40 on Amazon
Need a solid review of the common construction systems? You’re not alone. This Architecture book contains a fantastic overview about the fundamentals of construction, including building components, sustainability issues, and building codes. This is the book every architecture school uses to teach students about building construction.

high line
49. The High Line
by James Corner Field Operations et al.

$45 on Amazon
Any New Yorker who ventured over to West Chelsea around the turn of the millennium could have told you that something cool could (and probably would) be done with the High Line. How did the city ensure that it would remain public property and wouldn’t be snapped up by developers? Whose idea was it to turn it into a park, rather than a mall? All of these pieces of New York history are explored in this fun Architecture book.

soviet bus stops
50. Soviet Bus Stops
by Christopher Hewing et al.

$29 on Amazon
Bus stops are frequently pieces of architectural innovation that are all-too-often ignored by the general public. How these structures of public transportation reflect their environment can be easily overlooked for the very reason they’re being reflected: they’re just bus stops. Anyone who’s seen photos of Moscow knows how inspired Russian architects have been by their homeland over the years, but it can be easy to forget that this inspiration didn’t die during the country’s Communist era.

Here is the links again for the Holiday Gift Guides:





About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In. Also check out his new project Young Architect Gear, designing architecturally themed gifts and products.


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