93 books like Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture

By Robert Venturi,

Here are 93 books that Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture fans have personally recommended if you like Complexity and Contradiction in 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 The Concise Townscape

Rasmus Wærn Author Of What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions

From my list on what architecture is about.

Why am I passionate about this?

My lifelong search for how contemporary architecture can be as loved and graceful as the buildings and environments of our heritage have made me create numerous books, lectures, and films on matters I find crucial. But every new text seems to create more questions than answers. Perhaps it is better to build the talk? Architecture has dimensions, such as time, that make the reading richer than most books. But that brings you back to interpretation. It seems as books and buildings will be impossible to separate. At least for me.

Rasmus' book list on what architecture is about

Rasmus Wærn Why did Rasmus love this book?

Townscape is more than a book on how good cities are shaped. It is a book that describes generic qualities of space.

Cullens's way of understanding and analyzing urban structures with pen and paper has much to tell future architects. That the book has been around for more than sixty years is a compelling evidence of its outstanding capacity to educate generation after generation on how to create richness and avoid chaos.

Urban planners of today have much to learn from Cullen’s simple, but efficient, drawings and captions. 

By Gordon Cullen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book pioneered the concept of townscape. 'Townscape' is the art of giving visual coherence and organization to the jumble of buildings, streets and space that make up the urban environment. It has been a major influence on architects, planners and others concerned with what cities should look like.


Book cover of Alvar Aalto: The Early Years

Rasmus Wærn Author Of What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions

From my list on what architecture is about.

Why am I passionate about this?

My lifelong search for how contemporary architecture can be as loved and graceful as the buildings and environments of our heritage have made me create numerous books, lectures, and films on matters I find crucial. But every new text seems to create more questions than answers. Perhaps it is better to build the talk? Architecture has dimensions, such as time, that make the reading richer than most books. But that brings you back to interpretation. It seems as books and buildings will be impossible to separate. At least for me.

Rasmus' book list on what architecture is about

Rasmus Wærn Why did Rasmus love this book?

There are more than one hundred books written on Alvar and Aino Aalto but none of them are as personal as the ones written by their friend Göran Schildt. 

I hold The Human Factor highest. Alvar Aalto conceived a deep understanding of life and created a sensitive architecture that embraced it. He was praised for that, but Schildt goes beyond the glory and explains how humane architecture remained controversial in a technological era.

By Goran Schildt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Describes the childhood and education of the great Finnish architect, looks at his first designs, and identifies central themes in his work


Book cover of Building: 3,000 Years of Design, Engineering, and Construction

Rasmus Wærn Author Of What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions

From my list on what architecture is about.

Why am I passionate about this?

My lifelong search for how contemporary architecture can be as loved and graceful as the buildings and environments of our heritage have made me create numerous books, lectures, and films on matters I find crucial. But every new text seems to create more questions than answers. Perhaps it is better to build the talk? Architecture has dimensions, such as time, that make the reading richer than most books. But that brings you back to interpretation. It seems as books and buildings will be impossible to separate. At least for me.

Rasmus' book list on what architecture is about

Rasmus Wærn Why did Rasmus love this book?

To read about the long, long history of creating solid, sun-lit, comfortable, and sound houses and homes is truly inspiring.

I keep going back to Bill Addis bible again and again as I look for understanding of how the inventiveness of humankind have evolved the world we live in. To read about the symbiosis between material and matter is not only joyful; it is also a source of inspiration as we today have to re-invent many of the un-sustainable solutions we rely on.

By Bill Addis,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of In The Scheme Of Things: Alternative Thinking on the Practice of Architecture

Rasmus Wærn Author Of What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions

From my list on what architecture is about.

Why am I passionate about this?

My lifelong search for how contemporary architecture can be as loved and graceful as the buildings and environments of our heritage have made me create numerous books, lectures, and films on matters I find crucial. But every new text seems to create more questions than answers. Perhaps it is better to build the talk? Architecture has dimensions, such as time, that make the reading richer than most books. But that brings you back to interpretation. It seems as books and buildings will be impossible to separate. At least for me.

Rasmus' book list on what architecture is about

Rasmus Wærn Why did Rasmus love this book?

Sometimes the best books are not the ones that make you take notes, but the ones that make you think new thoughts.

Fisher’s book is one of these thought-provoking pamphlets where the best moments of reading are when you let the book rest on your lap and reflect upon how his thoughts on practicing architecture can reflect on your own work. This happens to me as I read about the revival of the language of brick and mortar.

By Thomas R. Fisher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In The Scheme Of Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of My Work

Richard Weston Author Of 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture

From my list on that formed my understanding of architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by architecture and landscape architecture since discovering the work of Le Corbusier at the age of sixteen. Most of my life has been spent teaching and writing about it - fifteen books and numerous articles - with occasional forays into designing and building. I took early retirement as a Professor of  Architecture in 2013, the year after enjoying ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ on a BBC TV series featuring the development of my ‘mineral scarves’ for Liberty of London. This led to a creative app and website for children called Molly’s World (to be launched in 2024) and on my seventieth birthday in 2023 I launched an architectural and garden design studio.

Richard's book list on that formed my understanding of architecture

Richard Weston Why did Richard love this book?

I bought My Work when I was sixteen and it was the catalyst for a lifetime devoted to architecture.

Written shortly before he died, it is a passionate, personal account of Le Corbusier’s work. Profusely illustrated and beautifully designed, it covers his work as draughtsman and painter, sculptor and writer - and, of course, as - in my view - the greatest architect ever to pick up a tee-square.

At the opening of his exquisite pilgrimage chapel at Ronchamp, Le Corbusier was asked if he had to believe in God to create such a building. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘I had to believe in architecture.’ This is a book by a believer to convert newcomers to the greatest of the arts.

By Le Corbusier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the He does not have the open expression and the easy smile of those who readily inspire sympathy; animation and grace are lacking; the eyes are dull, the voice is flat and uneven. But candour and strength reinforce an impressive demeanour seemingly built for defence, behind which he appears to withdraw, to watch and to observe. It is very hard not to feel respect and curiosity! He has known (and still knows) incomprehension, hostility, betrayal and, worse still, gross injustice. For more than forty years he has had to wage war-on his own ground of architecture and planning-against the…


Book cover of The Nature Of Gothic

Richard Weston Author Of 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture

From my list on that formed my understanding of architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by architecture and landscape architecture since discovering the work of Le Corbusier at the age of sixteen. Most of my life has been spent teaching and writing about it - fifteen books and numerous articles - with occasional forays into designing and building. I took early retirement as a Professor of  Architecture in 2013, the year after enjoying ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ on a BBC TV series featuring the development of my ‘mineral scarves’ for Liberty of London. This led to a creative app and website for children called Molly’s World (to be launched in 2024) and on my seventieth birthday in 2023 I launched an architectural and garden design studio.

Richard's book list on that formed my understanding of architecture

Richard Weston Why did Richard love this book?

Extracted from Ruskin’s three-volume account of ‘The Stones of Venice’, this was published with an introduction by William Morris, Ruskin’s greatest disciple and founder of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Ruskin’s High Victorian writing style is a barrier to some, but he is the greatest English writer on architecture whose ideas about the importance of craftsmanship and moral value of authentic architecture are an antidote to our present condition.

Extolling the virtues of ‘Savageness’, ‘Changefulness’ and ‘Love of Nature’ his ideas are newly relevant as we address the environmental and social consequences of the Industrial Revolution he detested for its impact on our humanity.

By John Ruskin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.


Book cover of The Quattro Cento and Stones of Rimini

Richard Weston Author Of 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture

From my list on that formed my understanding of architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by architecture and landscape architecture since discovering the work of Le Corbusier at the age of sixteen. Most of my life has been spent teaching and writing about it - fifteen books and numerous articles - with occasional forays into designing and building. I took early retirement as a Professor of  Architecture in 2013, the year after enjoying ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ on a BBC TV series featuring the development of my ‘mineral scarves’ for Liberty of London. This led to a creative app and website for children called Molly’s World (to be launched in 2024) and on my seventieth birthday in 2023 I launched an architectural and garden design studio.

Richard's book list on that formed my understanding of architecture

Richard Weston Why did Richard love this book?

This book opened my eyes to a neglected strand of Early Renaissance architecture.

Stokes was a supreme stylist and his elegant, idiosyncratic prose is a delight to read. His insights into what he called the ‘carving tradition’ of art and architecture are posited as a counterpoint to the mainstream ‘modelling’ tradition.

For Stokes, the architecture and art he loved grew out of reverence for the inner life of stone, of marble above all. He described the results as ‘stone blossom’ and buildings as being ‘in bloom’. If this sounds obscure, please don’t be put off: The Quattro Cento is a revelation.

By Adrian Stokes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quattro Cento and Stones of Rimini as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adrian Stokes (1902-1972) was a British painter and author whose writings on art have been allowed to go out of print despite their impact on modernism and ongoing acclaim. Tow of his most influential books, "The Quattro Cento" (1932) and "Stones of Rimini" (1934), are bought together in this volume, which includes all their original illustrations. The forward and introduction place Stokes's works in the context of early 20th-century culture and discuss their structure and relevance to today's experience of art and architecture. The books reproduced here mark a crossroads in the transition from late Victorian to modernist conceptions of…


Book cover of Letters on Cezanne

Richard Weston Author Of 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture

From my list on that formed my understanding of architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by architecture and landscape architecture since discovering the work of Le Corbusier at the age of sixteen. Most of my life has been spent teaching and writing about it - fifteen books and numerous articles - with occasional forays into designing and building. I took early retirement as a Professor of  Architecture in 2013, the year after enjoying ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ on a BBC TV series featuring the development of my ‘mineral scarves’ for Liberty of London. This led to a creative app and website for children called Molly’s World (to be launched in 2024) and on my seventieth birthday in 2023 I launched an architectural and garden design studio.

Richard's book list on that formed my understanding of architecture

Richard Weston Why did Richard love this book?

This short book is not about architecture, but about the supremely ‘architectural’ painter, Paul Cézanne, who almost literally ‘built’ his paintings brushstroke by brushstroke.

The author, Rilke, was a great poet and the book consists of a series of letters he wrote home to his wife after almost daily visits to the great memorial exhibition of Cézanne’s work held in Paris 1907, the year after his death. At first he struggled to understand Cézanne’s work, but by the end he offers one of the most profound meditations on aesthetic values I know.

His discovery of Cézanne was, Rilke declared, the most important influence on his poetry and changed his life. These letters changed mine, and I cannot recommend them too highly. 

By Rainer Maria Rilke, Joel Agee (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rilke's prayerful responses to the french master's beseeching art

For a long time nothing, and then suddenly one has the right eyes.

Virtually every day in the fall of 1907, Rainer Maria Rilke returned to a Paris gallery to view a Cezanne exhibition. Nearly as frequently, he wrote dense and joyful letters to his wife, Clara Westhoff, expressing his dismay before the paintings and his ensuing revelations about art and life.

Rilke was knowledgeable about art and had even published monographs, including a famous study of Rodin that inspired his New Poems. But Cezanne's impact on him could not be…


Book cover of From a Cause to a Style: Modernist Architecture's Encounter with the American City

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?

If you’ve ever wondered why modern buildings look the way they do—and look so different from say, the buildings of our grandparents’ generation—you cannot do better than read this collection of essays that examines the current state of modern architecture. Glazer, a sociologist who was a noted public intellectual, brings a down-to-earth intelligence and a sharp eye to his subject.

By Nathan Glazer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From a Cause to a Style as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Modernism in architecture and urban design has failed the American city. This is the decisive conclusion that renowned public intellectual Nathan Glazer has drawn from two decades of writing and thinking about what this architectural movement will bequeath to future generations. In From a Cause to a Style, he proclaims his disappointment with modernism and its impact on the American city. Writing in the tradition of legendary American architectural critics Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs, Glazer contends that modernism, this new urban form that signaled not just a radical revolution in style but a social ambition to enhance the conditions…


Book cover of Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture As Mass Media

Sally Stone Author Of Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design

From my list on the future of the interior.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than thirty years I have been discussing, formulating ideas, and writing about Architecture, Building Reuse, and Interiors. I lead the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and direct graduate atelier Continuity in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture. I am currently the Visiting Professor at the University IUAV of Venice where I am conducting research on the sustainable adaptation of existing buildings with particular emphasis on the environmental concerns within the inherently fragile city of Venice.

Sally's book list on the future of the interior

Sally Stone Why did Sally love this book?

Beatriz Colomina explores how Adolf Loos set the stage for the occupants of a house to live in. Through a lively discussion of the relationship between private and public areas within the homes that he designed, she discusses the relationships between the open spaces, corridors, light, dark, and view. The comparison is between the home as a place to dwell and the home as a place for performance – a theatrical set.

By Beatriz Colomina,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through a series of close readings of two major figures of the modern movement, Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier, Beatriz Colomina argues that architecture only becomes modern in its engagement with the mass media, and that in so doing it radically displaces the traditional sense of space and subjectivity. Privacy and Publicity boldly questions certain ideological assumptions underlying the received view of modern architecture and reconsiders the methodology of architectural criticism itself. Where conventional criticism portrays modern architecture as a high artistic practice in opposition to mass culture, Colomina sees the emerging systems of communication that have come to define…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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