100 books like Analysing Architecture

By Simon Unwin,

Here are 100 books that Analysing Architecture fans have personally recommended if you like Analysing Architecture. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

Antony Radford Author Of The Elements of Modern Architecture: Understanding Contemporary Buildings

From my list on analysing architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion as a teacher and writer is to help students and others interpret, understand and enjoy architecture and the built environment, and to help them respond in their own designs to the complexities of place, people, and construction. I have chosen five well-established books on analysing architecture that are highly illustrated, avoid jargon, can be explored rather than needing to be read sequentially cover-to-cover, and have lasting value. They offer guidance for beginning students and a checklist for the experienced. They are books to be kept handy and repeatedly consulted. Of course, analysing existing architecture is invaluable in designing new architecture. I hope you enjoy them.

Antony's book list on analysing architecture

Antony Radford Why did Antony love this book?

The first three books on my list concentrate on building form and space, with little about function.

The ‘pattern language’ is different, mapping human activities onto appropriate built forms, and advocating repeated patterns that have been found to work.

Christopher Alexander wants us to use the patterns in designing responses to situations, but they also help to judge how well-built spaces fit their contexts in analysing architecture.

Although Alexander maps activities onto his own preferred design style, the patterns are not inherently specific to any style or period of architecture.

Despite being written 50 years ago, this one-of-a-kind book is still fresh and relevant.

By Christopher Alexander,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Pattern Language as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction. After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in
the form of three books which will, in their words, "lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture,…


Book cover of Architecture: Form, Space, & Order

Antony Radford Author Of The Elements of Modern Architecture: Understanding Contemporary Buildings

From my list on analysing architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion as a teacher and writer is to help students and others interpret, understand and enjoy architecture and the built environment, and to help them respond in their own designs to the complexities of place, people, and construction. I have chosen five well-established books on analysing architecture that are highly illustrated, avoid jargon, can be explored rather than needing to be read sequentially cover-to-cover, and have lasting value. They offer guidance for beginning students and a checklist for the experienced. They are books to be kept handy and repeatedly consulted. Of course, analysing existing architecture is invaluable in designing new architecture. I hope you enjoy them.

Antony's book list on analysing architecture

Antony Radford Why did Antony love this book?

In one of the most popular books published on form and composition in architecture, Francis Ching examines basic elements of form and space (edges, corners, planes, etc.) and strategies for their organisation (axes, grids, symmetry, etc).

Like Baker, he includes approach, entry, and movement through built form.

The examples are taken from contemporary and historical buildings. The text is short and the diagrams plentiful.

Ching has also written good books on basic ideas in building structure and construction, both helpful in analysing buildings beyond form and space.

By Francis D. K. Ching,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The revered architectural reference, updated with contemporary examples and interactive 3D models The Interactive Resource Center is an online learning environment where instructors and students can access the tools they need to make efficient use of their time, while reinforcing and assessing their understanding of key concepts for successful understanding of the course. An access card with redemption code for the online Interactive Resource Center is included with all new, print copies or can be purchased separately. (***If you rent or purchase a used book with an access code, the access code may have been redeemed previously and you may…


Book cover of Le Corbusier: An Analysis of Form

Antony Radford Author Of The Elements of Modern Architecture: Understanding Contemporary Buildings

From my list on analysing architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion as a teacher and writer is to help students and others interpret, understand and enjoy architecture and the built environment, and to help them respond in their own designs to the complexities of place, people, and construction. I have chosen five well-established books on analysing architecture that are highly illustrated, avoid jargon, can be explored rather than needing to be read sequentially cover-to-cover, and have lasting value. They offer guidance for beginning students and a checklist for the experienced. They are books to be kept handy and repeatedly consulted. Of course, analysing existing architecture is invaluable in designing new architecture. I hope you enjoy them.

Antony's book list on analysing architecture

Antony Radford Why did Antony love this book?

I remember Geoffrey Baker’s lectures about space, movement, and light in Le Corbusier's buildings from my own student days.

His infectious enthusiasm is captured in his book, with his own clear sketches and diagrams.

Baker’s analysis has been a lasting influence on my own work, encouraging me to experience moving around and through architecture, and where this is not possible to imagine that experience from drawings and photographs.

Check out Baker’s Design Strategies in Architecture: An Approach to the Analysis of Form, too.

By Geoffrey Baker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This unique appraisal of the famous Swiss architect's major works have now been expanded to include two more buildings. The Villa Shodhan and the Pavilion Suisse round out the coverage of Le Corbusier's significant works. The author critically examines Le Corbusier's achievements helping student and professional alike to appreciate the elements of successful design. The narrative and fine illustration cover the key buildings from each of the four developmental stages of his work, making it an excellent guide for practicing architects and students.


Book cover of Responsive Environments

Antony Radford Author Of The Elements of Modern Architecture: Understanding Contemporary Buildings

From my list on analysing architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion as a teacher and writer is to help students and others interpret, understand and enjoy architecture and the built environment, and to help them respond in their own designs to the complexities of place, people, and construction. I have chosen five well-established books on analysing architecture that are highly illustrated, avoid jargon, can be explored rather than needing to be read sequentially cover-to-cover, and have lasting value. They offer guidance for beginning students and a checklist for the experienced. They are books to be kept handy and repeatedly consulted. Of course, analysing existing architecture is invaluable in designing new architecture. I hope you enjoy them.

Antony's book list on analysing architecture

Antony Radford Why did Antony love this book?

This book is as much about urban design and landscape architecture as about architecture, its annotated sketches demonstrating how good places respond to their contexts.

I like its straightforward, practical, and concise approach. Although billed as ‘a manual for designers’, it is equally useful in analysing why some environments work, both practically and emotionally, and others don’t.

It is opinionated, not afraid to criticise as well as applaud. 

By Ian Bentley (editor), Alan Alcock, Paul Murrain , Sue McGlynn , Graham Smith

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Clearly demonstrates the specific characteristics that make for comprehensible, friendly and controllable places; 'Responsive Environments' - as opposed to the alienating environments often imposed today. By means of sketches and diagrams, it shows how they may be designed in to places or buildings.

This is a practical book about architecture and urban design. It is most concerned with the areas of design which most frequently go wrong and impresses the idea that ideals alone are not enough. Ideals must be linked through appropriate design ideas to the fabric of the built environemnt itself. This book is a practical attempt to…


Book cover of The Process of Creating Life: The Nature of Order, Book 2: An Essay of the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe

Shannon Taylor Scarlett Author Of Simple Rules: What the Oldtime Builders Knew

From my list on timeless architectural principles.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a practicing architect, and an avid reader—in a variety of subjects and genres, not just architecture—I love finding patterns and connections between seemingly dissimilar phenomena. Patterns conform to principles, and principles are the fountainhead of wisdom that never runs dry. I will be the first to admit that, even after forty years of absorbing these and other kindred principles, I’m still far from consistent in applying them. And, like the others I cite, my own work suffers from that inconsistency. I commiserate with all architects who are similarly struggling to design buildings that exemplify even a few of the principles in these books. And that is why I chose them.

Shannon's book list on timeless architectural principles

Shannon Taylor Scarlett Why did Shannon love this book?

Over his lifetime, Alexander’s controversial approach to architecture incited widespread criticism, yet it is precisely these unique and thought-provoking ideas that make The Nature of Order an essential read. Beyond his sometimes obscure writing style and lackluster built examples, Alexander's deep commitment to architecture as a complex layered system of patterns—an idea he first popularized in his hippy-architects bible, A Pattern Language—is still palpable in this four-volume magnum opus. 

I found the second volume, where he offers a guide for how to “create life” through patterns, most pertinent to this list. Here he distills his earlier work down to fifteen essential patterns that lead to architecture as a living structure. There is gold to be mined here, for those in search of some semblance of order in the chaotic current of modern architecture. 

By Christopher Alexander,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Christopher Alexander's masterwork, the result of 27 years of research, considers three vital perspectives: a scientific perspective; a perspective based on beauty and grace; a commonsense perspective based on our intuitions and everyday life.


Book cover of Experiencing Architecture

Witold Rybczynski Author Of Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City

From my list on architecture for non-architects.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. Although I’ve written more than twenty books on a variety of subjects, I was trained as an architect and I’ve designed and built houses, researched low cost housing, and taught budding architects for four decades. I was architecture critic for Wigwag and Slate and I’ve written for numerous national magazines and newspapers. Perhaps more important, my wife and I built our own house, mixing concrete, sawing wood, and hammering nails. I wrote a book about that, too.

Witold's book list on architecture for non-architects

Witold Rybczynski Why did Witold love this book?

Many books about architecture are like cookbooks, that is, they are written for the cook—the architect—and are concerned with how to make the stuff. But for the lay person, the joy of architecture lies in the actual experience of buildings; good architecture makes you feel good. This classic, written in 1962 by a wise old Dane, is a wonderful guide to the many sensory ways in which we experience buildings, old and new.

By Steen Eiler Rasmussen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic examination of superb design through the centuries.

Widely regarded as a classic in the field, Experiencing Architecture explores the history and promise of good design. Generously illustrated with historical examples of designing excellence—ranging from teacups, riding boots, and golf balls to the villas of Palladio and the fish-feeding pavilion of Beijing's Winter Palace—Rasmussen's accessible guide invites us to appreciate architecture not only as a profession, but as an art that shapes everyday experience.

In the past, Rasmussen argues, architecture was not just an individual pursuit, but a community undertaking. Dwellings were built with a natural feeling for place,…


Book cover of Archidoodle: An Architect's Activity Book

Stephanie Travis Author Of Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design: A Practical Guide on Sketching for Architecture and Interior Design Students

From my list on introducing architecture and 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!

Stephanie's book list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone

Stephanie Travis Why did Stephanie 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…


Book cover of The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live

Shannon Taylor Scarlett Author Of Simple Rules: What the Oldtime Builders Knew

From my list on timeless architectural principles.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a practicing architect, and an avid reader—in a variety of subjects and genres, not just architecture—I love finding patterns and connections between seemingly dissimilar phenomena. Patterns conform to principles, and principles are the fountainhead of wisdom that never runs dry. I will be the first to admit that, even after forty years of absorbing these and other kindred principles, I’m still far from consistent in applying them. And, like the others I cite, my own work suffers from that inconsistency. I commiserate with all architects who are similarly struggling to design buildings that exemplify even a few of the principles in these books. And that is why I chose them.

Shannon's book list on timeless architectural principles

Shannon Taylor Scarlett Why did Shannon love this book?

When Susanka’s book first came out in the 90s, I felt like she had hit on something that many architects were being challenged by—the expanding popularity of the McMansion. Now with Tiny Houses bookmarking her work at the other end, and with all the at-home needs and complications that came with the pandemic, I still think she has got the formula right: Build better, not bigger. Her chapters include many principles on how to build smaller eloquent, gem houses, and to get away from the clunky, gaudy costume jewelry architecture ruining the American suburbs.

When I realized Alexander’s Pattern Language had also influenced Susanka’s work, I began to question why it was not on my list. But, I couldn't decide which book it would replace. Maybe it will make it onto the list for a future book, but that’s for another day. 

By Sarah Susanka, Kira Obolensky,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Not So Big House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This title offers an inspiration for homeowners and builders from a leading architect. "The Not So Big House" has sold over 500,000 copies since 1998. It features clear guidance that emphasises the use of quality not quantity. This anniversary edition includes 32 extra pages and a new introduction. Now available in paperback, the expanded 10th anniversary edition of Sarah Susanka's "The Not So Big House" is ready to inspire a whole new generation of homeowners and builders. Though a decade has passed, her deceptively simple message remains as powerful as ever: when it comes to our homes, quality should always…


Book cover of Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action for Long-Term Change

Alexander Stahle Author Of Closer Together: This is the Future of Cities

From my list on future cities and urban design.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a city researcher and urban planner I must constantly scan the urban world for trends and plans and projects. It really started when I was writing my PhD thesis on density and green spaces in cities. The thesis title became Compact Sprawl. I like counterpoints. Today I run to companies. Spacescape that is an urban planning consultancy and Placetoplan that is a webapp for citizen participation in planning. My home is covered with books about cities, architecture, transportation, parks, and natural landscapes. I am also a landscape architect, by the way. And I live in downtown Stockholm with two children and no car.

Alexander's book list on future cities and urban design

Alexander Stahle Why did Alexander love this book?

Although the concept sounds theoretical, this book is about very simple techniques on how to cheap and fast change urban spaces, streets, and plazas so that they are for people (not cars). The book provides a toolkit for conceiving, planning, and carrying out projects, including how to adapt them based on local needs and challenges. Tactical Urbanism can inspire and empower citizens, urban designers, land use planners, architects, and policymakers to become key actors in the transformation of their communities.

By Mike Lydon, Anthony Garcia,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tactical Urbanism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Short-term, community-based projects - from pop-up parks to open streets initiatives - have become a powerful and adaptable new tool of urban activists, planners, and policy-makers seeking to drive lasting improvements in their cities and beyond. These quick, often low-cost, and creative projects are the essence of the Tactical Urbanism movement. Whether creating vibrant plazas seemingly overnight or re-imagining parking spaces as local gathering places, they offer a way to gain public and government support for investing in permanent projects, inspiring residents and civic leaders to experience and shape urban spaces in a new way. Tactical Urbanism, written by Mike…


Book cover of Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space

Conrad Kickert Author Of Dream City: Creation, Destruction, and Reinvention in Downtown Detroit

From my list on the exciting life of cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a Dutch city, I vividly remember witnessing the excitement of urban life through the windows of a streetcar, on foot, or by bike. Soon, I began to recreate this excitement by drawing maps of imaginary cities of my own. My small towns turned into entire regions, their streets coming to life as I closed my eyes. I essentially turned my childhood fascination into my job, as I now study, design, and teach students how to improve cities. Our best cities are places where citizens can interact with one another, overcoming social, economic, and environmental evolutions and revolutions. I never cease to be fascinated with the key to these everlasting cities.

Conrad's book list on the exciting life of cities

Conrad Kickert Why did Conrad love this book?

Key to understanding cities is also to know how people experience them. Thousands of miles away but only a few years after Jacobs’ manifesto, Danish architect and urban designer Jan Gehl fascinatingly describes how people experience and behave in cities. We can use Gehl’s psychological and experiential lens to improve our urban environment, not designing buildings and cities just to appease other designers, politicians, or developers, but to real end users. Gehl’s original work has been translated into dozens of languages and expanded into one of the world’s foremost urban design firms. As an urban designer and researcher, Gehl’s book reminds me every day to focus first on people, then on space, and only then on buildings. 

By Jan Gehl,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Life Between Buildings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first Danish language version of this book, published in 1971, was very much a protest against the functionalistic principles for planning cities and residential areas that prevailed during that period. The book carried an appeal to show concern for the people who were to move about between buildings, and it urged an understanding of the subtle, almost indefinable - but definite - qualities, which have always related to the interaction of people in public spaces, and it pointed to the life between buildings as a dimension of architecture that needs to be carefully treated. Now 40 years later, many…


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