10 books like Architecture Unbound

By Joseph Giovannini,

Here are 10 books that Architecture Unbound fans have personally recommended if you like Architecture Unbound. 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 Truth and Lies in Architecture

Julie D. Taylor Author Of Spa: The Sensuous Experience

From my list on the art and profession of architecture.

Who am I?

Books are my passion; architecture relates to my profession. The combination, for me, is pure joy. I get such pleasure building my personal library of architecture, design, art, and photography books. After having been a magazine editor and writer, I founded Taylor & Company in 1994, to promote the value of architecture and design. My respect for architects is deep—they create something that must function in all ways and are still able to express themselves creatively. The books I’ve selected are all written by architects, giving me an extra layer of admiration for their talents to express themselves in other media. 

Julie's book list on the art and profession of architecture

Julie D. Taylor Why did Julie love this book?

For an architect to take an incisive, unflinching look at his own profession is refreshing and enlightening. Francis-Jones positions architecture’s strengths and failings in reflection to society, politics, equity, aspiration, ecology, power, and defiance. As a promoter of architects and what they do, I’m happy to see a title that places architecture in a broader scope, and in the same breath as other creative expressions, such as film, music, and literature. He raises questions and observations about the nature of architects and architecture that make one think: Is there any truth in architecture? Why are we driven to build so tall? Why do architects feel so sad, overwhelmed, and helpless? Conversely, within its rubric of architecture, Truth and Lies is a book about us—about how people engage and disengage from society and the consequences that ensue. 

By Richard Francis-Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"'Truth and Lies in Architecture' delves deep into the soul of architects and their work." - Naser Nader Ibrahim, Amazing Architecture
This is a collection of provocative essays that journey into the vexed circumstance of contemporary architectural practice. The nature of the great cultural, social, political, environmental, and consumerist challenges facing the contemporary architect are explored, interpreted, and questioned, while drawing connections from architecture theory, philosophy, science, literature, and film sources in an attempt to negotiate the territory between the truth and lies in architecture.

These essays written by a leading Australian architect represent a level of comprehensive critical awareness…


Book cover of Designing a World-Class Architecture Firm: The People, Stories, and Strategies Behind HOK

Julie D. Taylor Author Of Spa: The Sensuous Experience

From my list on the art and profession of architecture.

Who am I?

Books are my passion; architecture relates to my profession. The combination, for me, is pure joy. I get such pleasure building my personal library of architecture, design, art, and photography books. After having been a magazine editor and writer, I founded Taylor & Company in 1994, to promote the value of architecture and design. My respect for architects is deep—they create something that must function in all ways and are still able to express themselves creatively. The books I’ve selected are all written by architects, giving me an extra layer of admiration for their talents to express themselves in other media. 

Julie's book list on the art and profession of architecture

Julie D. Taylor Why did Julie love this book?

Today, so many large, established architecture firms’ names have been replaced by initials—SOM, HMC, ZGF, HOK, KPF, etc. Too many architecture professionals and students don’t realize or know the people behind the initials. To me, something is lost there. Putting a human face to global firm HOK, MacLeamy tells the stories of its founders—George Hellmuth, Gyo Obata, and George Kassabaum—along with those of many other firm leaders. What really makes this book necessary for anyone who needs to understand the business of architecture (that is, every architect) is that the author weaves pertinent how-to-design-a-business lessons into the history of the firm. It also contains MacLeamy’s personal story of his 50-year career at HOK, the final 13 of which were as CEO of a firm that had grown from 150 employees to nearly 2,000 and from a single office to 27 on three continents during his tenure. Both triumphs and failures…

By Patrick Macleamy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Designing a World-Class Architecture Firm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Offers architects and creative services professionals exclusive insights and strategies for success from the former CEO of HOK.

Designing a World Class Architecture Firm: The People, Stories and Strategies Behind HOK tells the history of one of the largest design firms in the world and draws lessons from it that can help other architects, interior designers, urban planners and creative services professionals grow bigger or better. Former HOK CEO Patrick MacLeamy shares the revolutionary strategies HOK's founders deployed to create a brand-new type of architecture firm. He pulls no punches, revealing the triple crisis that almost bankrupted HOK and describes…


Book cover of Gesture and Response: 25 Buildings

Julie D. Taylor Author Of Spa: The Sensuous Experience

From my list on the art and profession of architecture.

Who am I?

Books are my passion; architecture relates to my profession. The combination, for me, is pure joy. I get such pleasure building my personal library of architecture, design, art, and photography books. After having been a magazine editor and writer, I founded Taylor & Company in 1994, to promote the value of architecture and design. My respect for architects is deep—they create something that must function in all ways and are still able to express themselves creatively. The books I’ve selected are all written by architects, giving me an extra layer of admiration for their talents to express themselves in other media. 

Julie's book list on the art and profession of architecture

Julie D. Taylor Why did Julie love this book?

This is a personal peek at the work of a major firm by the “P” of KPF, one of the world’s leading skyscraper designers. Pedersen’s unpretentiousness and generosity of spirit are evident in the prose that accompanies the work. To my delight, the first building is 333 Wacker in Chicago, which, as a young art student living there, I saw being built. It became one of my favorites in a town legendary for its architecture. Buildings are personal to those who design them, and Pedersen tells intimate stories behind each of his 25 favorite designs. The surprise is that these are not precious little projects, but mostly very large, complex buildings for major clients, such as Samsung, World Bank, and Gannett. That said, the last of the projects featured is a jewel box of a house—the one he built for himself and his late wife of 60 years, to whom…

By William Pedersen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The work of Kohn Pedersen Fox is international in scope, collaborative in design, and a product of individual voices focused on a single objective - making an architecture, of our time, which creates strong bonds with the the specific place it occupies.

While William Pedersen founded the firm, with partners Gene Kohn and Shelley Fox, he never aspired to be a 'director of design.' They had the components with Gene's entrepreneurial drive, Shelley's management and Bill's design leadership - to be a large firm. 'Directing' the work of a large firm was not Bill's desire, instead he wanted to focus…


Book cover of Etudes: The Poetry of Dreams + Other Fragments

Julie D. Taylor Author Of Spa: The Sensuous Experience

From my list on the art and profession of architecture.

Who am I?

Books are my passion; architecture relates to my profession. The combination, for me, is pure joy. I get such pleasure building my personal library of architecture, design, art, and photography books. After having been a magazine editor and writer, I founded Taylor & Company in 1994, to promote the value of architecture and design. My respect for architects is deep—they create something that must function in all ways and are still able to express themselves creatively. The books I’ve selected are all written by architects, giving me an extra layer of admiration for their talents to express themselves in other media. 

Julie's book list on the art and profession of architecture

Julie D. Taylor Why did Julie love this book?

An award-winning architect and poet, Marx explores creative ideas through poetry and watercolors, giving a very different way to view the art and craft of architecture. The paintings have a mysterious calm to them—evoking the work of Giorgio de Chirico—and are poetic in themselves. And then, you get actual poetry alongside the paintings! Graphic artist Jeremy Mende’s layout of the poems adds yet another layer of artistry. The tactility of the book as an object is delightful. Printed on thick watercolor paper, the book appears as a precious portfolio of secret thoughts and dreams. 

By John Marx,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John Marx's watercolours, first published in the Architectural Review, are a captivating example of an architect's way of thinking. Subtle and quiet they are nonetheless compelling works in how they tackle a sense of place, of inhabiting space and time all the while resonating with the core of one's inner being. There is an existential quality to these watercolours that is rare to be found in this medium. Something akin to the psychologically piercing observational quality of artists like De Chirico or Hopper.

As architects strive to communicate their ideas, it is interesting to explore the world of Marx's watercolours…


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.

Who am I?

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 Robert Smythson and the Elizabethan Country House

Elizabeth Goldring Author Of Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist

From my list on Tudor art and architecture.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated by the Tudors since childhood – in spite of, or perhaps because of, the fact that I grew up in the American Midwest, where Tudor artefacts were few and far between. A family holiday to England, when I was fourteen, sparked the beginning of a life-long love affair, which I have been lucky enough to turn into a career focused on all things Tudor. After receiving my PhD from Yale University, I took up a post-doctoral fellowship in England, at Warwick University, with which I have been affiliated ever since. I am currently an Honorary Reader at Warwick and working on a new book, on Hans Holbein.

Elizabeth's book list on Tudor art and architecture

Elizabeth Goldring Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Alas, now out of print, this book is part biography, part architectural history, and part social history. The mason-architect Robert Smythson comes to life, as do the houses he designed and the eccentric patrons who employed him. The book's (mainly black-and-white) illustrations inevitably look a bit dated now. But the text is, to my mind, hard to beat: utterly engrossing, particularly when dealing with Hardwick Hall, a house Girouard knows intimately, having lived there as a small child. I remember stumbling across this book many years ago, as a student, while looking for something else at the library. I ended up spending the better part of the day reading Robert Smythson from cover to cover: it was a revelation that a work of scholarship could be so beautifully written.

By Mark Girouard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Robert Smythson and the Elizabethan Country House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Describes the career of the seventeenth-century British architect, looks at his designs for rural mansions and castles, and discusses his contributions to their interior decoration


Book cover of Concrete

Peter Koepke Author Of Patterns, Inside the Design Library

From my list on textile for your design library.

Who am I?

Nearly 50 years ago I was completely taken with the patterns drawn, woven, or embroidered by the Indigenous Peoples of the Upper Amazon of Peru. This was my first experience with the power of pattern and led to a career in collecting and curating the pottery and textiles from that area. By the end of the 1980s, I was ready to start a family and a more settled job. The Design Library was the perfect segue. The patterns created in Europe, Africa, and Asia over the past 250 years are also important cultural statements and are continually re-interpreted by our clients for today's market.

Peter's book list on textile for your design library

Peter Koepke Why did Peter love this book?

A serious departure from my list from a guy who is dedicated to surface design and pattern, but it is a beautifully designed book with wonderful photographs of architectural sculptural structures. Not much color but there are patterns of course, in the surface textures, created by repetition in the design details, and by the light finding its way through these often grand forms.

By William Hall, Leonard Koren,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is a celebration of concrete: collating fascinating and beautiful images of concrete structures from the breathtaking New York Guggenheim to coldly functional aircraft hangars, Concrete will engage anyone interested in architecture and encourage them to think about the sculptural qualities of buildings. Familiar icons by Le Corbusier and Tadao Ando are featured alongside vernacular structures such as petrol stations, vast power plants and London Zoo's famous penguin pool.


Book cover of The Glass Room

Lucy Hughes-Hallett Author Of Peculiar Ground

From my list on houses.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by houses and the memories that haunt them. I grew up on a private estate in rural England where my father worked. When I was little I knew a witch. She rode a bicycle, not a broomstick: she cured my warts. The trees I played under were planted when the big house belonged to the 17th-century statesman and historian, Lord Clarendon. I knew storytellers who performed in the local pubs – part of an oral tradition that goes back millennia. I moved to London, but I kept thinking about those rural enclaves where memories are very long. I set my novel in that beautiful, ghost-ridden, peculiar world. 

Lucy's book list on houses

Lucy Hughes-Hallett Why did Lucy love this book?

Set in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, this story of a newly-married couple overseeing the construction of their dream home is as clean-cut, luminous and full of hints of fragility as the building itself – a modernist cube of glass. The husband is rich, the wife excited by her new role as patron.  Their architect -  a sharply observed portrayal of a tetchy artist who will insist on sticking to his vision regardless of his clients’ doubts – wants to make them a masterpiece, and he does.  But the husband is Jewish.  We are in the 1930s.  Glass walls are not going to keep them safe. 

In lucid, elegant prose Mawer conjures up central European culture in those edgy, febrile years when artistic and intellectual energy were so vital, and politics were so deadly.

By Simon Mawer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE

The inspiration for the major motion picture The Affair, now available on demand.

Cool. Balanced. Modern. The precisions of science, the wild variance of lust, the catharsis of confession and the fear of failure - these are things that happen in the Glass Room.

High on a Czechoslovak hill, the Landauer House shines as a wonder of steel and glass and onyx built specially for newlyweds Viktor and Liesel Landauer, a Jew married to a gentile. But the radiant honesty of 1930 that the house, with its unique Glass Room, seems to engender quickly tarnishes…


Book cover of The Artless Word: Mies van der Rohe on the Building Art

Simon Unwin Author Of Analysing Architecture: the Universal Language of Place-Making

From my list on traditional architecture and its contemporary practice.

Who am I?

As a student fifty years ago I struggled with architecture. I have spent my whole career as an architect and teacher trying to understand how it works. All my books are intended to convey that understanding to others as clearly as I can. I believe that architecture is a universal language of place-making, simply and directly expressed in the traditional architectures of different cultures around the world, and lifted into the realms of poetry by some gifted individuals. For many years I taught at the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff, Wales. I am currently Professor Emeritus at The University of Dundee in Scotland. 

Simon's book list on traditional architecture and its contemporary practice

Simon Unwin Why did Simon love this book?

Two of the biggest names in twentieth-century architecture. Thoroughly researched, Neumeyer’s book explores the thought processes of the first, the generally taciturn German architect Mies van der Rohe. It includes a discussion of his fascination with traditional African architecture and its clear relationship between form and the constructional potential of specific materials (timber, grass, stone, rope, mud…) which of course translates into Mies’s own work with modern materials (welded steel and plate glass). But there is a lot more to this book than that; too much to cover here.

By Fritz Neumeyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German


Book cover of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo

Karen Levy Author Of Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance

From my list on human stories about technology.

Who am I?

I’m a sociologist, and I study how technology shapes and is shaped by people. I love my job because I am endlessly fascinated by why people do the things they do, and how our cultures, traditions, and knowledge affect how we interact with technology in our daily lives. I picked these books because they all tell fascinating stories about how different communities of people have designed, used, or been affected by technological tools.

Karen's book list on human stories about technology

Karen Levy Why did Karen love this book?

I think I’m on my third or fourth copy of this book, because I keep giving it away! This is an absolutely stunning, gorgeously illustrated book about the spacesuits worn by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong during the moon landing. The bid to design the suits was won by the Playtex Corporation—the lingerie company!—over a bunch of industrial materials suppliers, because Playtex knew how to design for the body in ways the other firms didn’t. The book is organized into twenty-one chapters, in homage to the twenty-one layers of the spacesuit, and it’s a thing of beauty. It weaves together the history of aeronautics, the politics of the Space Race, technology design, and mid-century fashion so seamlessly, and makes you think about each of these topics differently.

By Nicholas de Monchaux,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface in July of 1969, they wore spacesuits made by Playtex: 21 layers of fabric, each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles. This book is the story of that spacesuit. It is a story of the triumph over the military-industrial complex by the International Latex Corporation, best known by its consumer brand of "Playtex" - a victory of elegant softness over engineered hardness, of adaptation over cybernetics.

Playtex's spacesuit went up against hard armor-like spacesuits designed by…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in architecture, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about architecture, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland.

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