The best books to introduce architecture + interior design to everyone

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a design-obsessed George Washington University (Washington, DC) professor, author, architect, interior designer, sketcher, modernist, city lover, traveler, and University of Michigan alumni who writes about topics on architecture and interior design for people of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone lives in the built environment, but not everyone understands it. For example, sketching is one of the best ways to understand a piece of furniture, interior, or building. You will never see the object the same way after you draw it! All of the books on this list are approachable, interesting, fun, and most importantly inspiring. Enjoy!


I wrote...

Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design: A Practical Guide on Sketching for Architecture and Interior Design Students

By Stephanie Travis,

Book cover of Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design: A Practical Guide on Sketching for Architecture and Interior Design Students

What is my book about?

I wrote this book for beginning design students and those who want to learn to sketch and see the built environment in a new way. In my experience teaching sketching for many years, students need to see examples, as they often sketch what they 'think they see,' not 'what they see.' That is why I wrote this book the way I did. I wanted to eliminate technical jargon and concentrate on simplifying sketching techniques. It is comprised of exercises (that increase in scale and complexity) from furniture to interiors to buildings and defines many sketching terms and techniques (such as one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective drawings). I also used modern examples of furniture, interiors, and architecture so that users become exposed to outstanding modern design.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Architecture: An Introduction

Stephanie Travis Why did I love this book?

This is one of the best introductions to architecture out there. It talks about buildings and the profession, and introduces users to key ideas and concepts in architecture history and theory. It’s an overall primer for anyone interested in discipline. Oh, and it’s a beautiful book, too, with stunning examples of projects that will hook any novice on the architecture field at large.

By Geoffrey Makstutis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Architecture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book offers a thorough introduction to the entire field of architecture, outlining the steps that are normally taken in becoming a qualified architect, from initial education right through to professional practice, as well as how to apply this architectural training in other fields.

Complete with feature spreads on individual projects, Architecture: An Introduction's broad, up-to-date approach unites history, theory and practice. Subjects covered include how to develop a brief with a client; taking an idea from brief to project; types of visual presentation including drawings, models and computer renderings; project planning and management; the diverse roles within a company;…


Book cover of No Place Like Utopia: Modern Architecture and the Company We Kept

Stephanie Travis Why did I love this book?

Hands down, the best book on modern architecture from someone who lived it. Peter Blake was an architect and renowned critic who ran in serious architectural circles during the modern movement. As editor-in-chief of Architectural Forum, he was an expert on the topic and knew everyone involved. His engaging and approachable writing style makes this a must-read for every budding modernist. I re-read this book every year…it’s that good.

By Peter Blake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Place Like Utopia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brings to life the masters of twentieth-century architecture and art, sharing anecdotes and memories of Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, Le Corbusier, Jackson Pollock, and others


Book cover of The Iconic Interior: 1900 to the Present

Stephanie Travis Why did I love this book?

This stunning book features 100 inspiring interiors across the globe, and is a great resource to get to know some of the world’s best designers. There is just enough text to provide an understanding of the history, concepts, and ideas behind each project, while the core focus is on the photography of rooms and details. Quite simply, you may want to study interior design after reading this book cover to cover.

By Dominic Bradbury, Richard Powers (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Iconic Interior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This compact volume features over 100 of the most spectacular interiors from across the world, spanning the entire 20th century to the present day. It includes interiors assembled by artists and fashion designers, architects, interior and set-designers, bringing together diverse design talents from Piero Fornasetti to Alvar Aalto, Marc Newson and Matthew Williamson. Twenty short profiles are presented in the introduction, with a single iconic photograph and a concise, informative text; the interiors are arranged by chronological order, with superb colour photography and texts recounting the stories of these remarkable designs. Representing every style from minimalism and Art Nouveau to…


Book cover of What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions

Stephanie Travis Why did I love this book?

This small format hardback is a really enjoyable read, as it asks a lot of good questions about architecture that will really get you thinking and curious about the topics. Each question is answered quickly (in a sentence), and then in a longer format, but still very digestible. It’s a great gift for any architecture lover.

By Rasmus Wærn, Gert Windgardh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This entertaining and informative book explores the world of architecture through a series of 101 questions and answers that cover a wide range of issues on its practice and theory. There are historical questions, such as "Who was the first architect?" and "Are all churches architecture?" as well as ones that relate to contemporary activity, such as "Have computers changed architecture?" and "How small can a home get?." There are also many that are intriguing and irreverent, such as "Why do architects want to paint the world white?" and "Is Dubai a city?". For each of the questions there is…


Book cover of Archidoodle: An Architect's Activity Book

Stephanie Travis Why did I love this book?

This is a fun sketching book to let your imagination run wild. More than just a coloring book, there are visual prompts that allow the user to modify or redesign an iconic building, or create one from scratch. It provides the framework; you provide the artistry. For kids and adults of all ages, this book will provoke creativity and encourage the architect in everyone.

By Steve Bowkett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Archidoodle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This innovative book is the first to provide a fun, interactive way to learn about architecture. Filled with an array of beautiful and elegant drawings, it poses all manner of architectural challenges for the user: from designing your own skyscraper, to drawing an island house or creating a Constructivist monument, plus many others more.

Aimed at anyone who loves drawing buildings, it encourages the user to imagine their own creative solutions by sketching, drawing and painting in the pages of the book. In so doing, they will learn about a whole range of significant architectural issues, such as the importance…


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Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

By Wendy Lee Hermance,

Book cover of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

Wendy Lee Hermance Author Of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Lee Hermance was heard on National Public Radio (NPR) stations with her Missouri Folklore series in the 1980s. She earned a journalism degree from Stephens College, served as Editor and Features Writer for Midwestern and Southern university and regional publications, then settled into writing real estate contracts. In 2012 she attended University of Sydney, earning a master’s degree by research thesis. Her books include Where I’m Going with this Poem, a memoir in poetry and prose. Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat marks her return to feature writing as collections of narrative non-fiction stories.

Wendy's book list on why Portugal is weird

What is my book about?

Weird Foods of Portugal describes the author's first years trying to make sense of a strange new place and a home there for herself.

Witty, dreamlike, and at times jarring, the book sizzles with social commentary looking back at America and beautiful, finely drawn descriptions of Portugal and its people. Part dark-humor cautionary tale, part travel adventure, ultimately, Hermance's book of narrative non-fiction serves as affirmation for any who wish to make a similar move themselves.

Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

By Wendy Lee Hermance,

What is this book about?

"Wendy Lee Hermance describes Portugal´s colorful people and places - including taxi drivers and animals - with a poet´s empathy and dark humor. Part travel adventure, part cautionary tale, Weird Foods of Portugal is at it´s heart, affirmation for all who consider making such a move themselves."


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in architecture, interior design, and home decoration?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about architecture, interior design, and home decoration.

Architecture Explore 80 books about architecture
Interior Design Explore 32 books about interior design
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