100 books like No Place Like Utopia

By Peter Blake,

Here are 100 books that No Place Like Utopia fans have personally recommended if you like No Place Like Utopia. 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 Architecture: An Introduction

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 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 The Iconic Interior: 1900 to the Present

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 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 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 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 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 Truth and Lies in Architecture

Julie D. Taylor Author Of Spa: The Sensuous Experience

From my list on the art and profession of architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan: The Role of Traditional Japanese Art and Architecture in the Work of Frank Lloyd Wright

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

From my list on traditional architecture and its contemporary practice.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

All of my recommendations are about the ways modern architects have learnt from traditional architecture. The first appeared when I began working on the first edition of Analysing Architecture back in the 1990s. It is Kevin Nute’s exploration of the ideas that Frank Lloyd Wright gleaned from encounters with traditional Japanese architecture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Nute’s book influenced my perception of architectural creativity as not fitting neatly into separate historical/stylistic categories, but as a realm of possible cross-fertilisation across cultures.

By Kevin Nute,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is the first thorough account of Frank Lloyd Wright's relationship with Japan and its arts. It presents significant new information on the nature and extent of Wright's formal and philosophical debt to Japanese art and architecture.

Eight primary channels of influence are examined in detail, from Japanese prints to specific individuals and publications, and the evidence of their impact on Wright is illustrated through a mixture of textual and drawn analyses.


Book cover of Understanding Architecture

Laura Dushkes Author Of The Architect Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom

From my list on architecture for non-experts.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was young, my parents gave me a book of quotations. I was hooked. Now I’m the solo librarian for NBBJ, a design firm with 12 offices worldwide and I select and buy books for all 12 offices. I search for the best books to inspire the designers I work with. But I’m aware that not everyone who works for an architectural firm is an architect. We have people in accounting, facilities, tech services, and more. I try to have a selection of books for these people, too – people who are interested in architecture, but aren’t experts. I have a Master’s in medieval history and a Master's in Library and Information Science.

Laura's book list on architecture for non-experts

Laura Dushkes Why did Laura love this book?

I love this book for its approach to teaching about architecture. It’s not a textbook primer on the subject that starts with the ancient world and ends in the modern world. Instead, it covers the basic principles of architecture by covering themes, such as light, landscape, place, and matter. Each theme is illuminated by examples of buildings from the Egyptian pyramids to Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright. The text is easy to read and each example has ample photographs. Truly accessible to all.

By Robert McCarter, Juhani Pallasmaa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Intended both as an introductory text for students and professionals in the field as well as an accessible read for the general public, Primer on Architecture (working title) addresses the basic principles of architecture and uncovers its ongoing influence in contemporary culture. The volume is organized in a series of chapters based on key architectural themes--space, time, matter, gravity, light, silence, dwelling, ritual, memory, landscape, and place--with an introductory essay for each chapter that includes a wide variety of historical examples from around the world followed by more in depth analyses of key buildings that further exemplify the theme of…


Book cover of Court and Garden: From the French Hôtel to the City of Modern Architecture

Joan DeJean Author Of How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City

From my list on what makes a city great, especially Paris.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve lived in cities all my adult life and currently divide my time between Paris and Philadelphia. And while those two cities are strikingly different places, they have in common the fact that they are both great walking cities –- urban centers that can be explored on foot and easily enjoyed by pedestrians. Walking cities, I believe, provide not only an ideal context for today’s tourists but also a model for a future in which urban dwellers become less reliant on automobiles and urban centers more open to foot traffic than to vehicular pollution and congestion. The books I’ll recommend deal in various ways with the building and rebuilding of visionary cities, and of Paris in particular.

Joan's book list on what makes a city great, especially Paris

Joan DeJean Why did Joan love this book?

This book focuses on the role of modern architecture in Paris, and by “modern,” Dennis has in mind the architecture created during the reinvention of Paris in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Dennis provides the best introduction to a crucial factor in Paris’s essence: the particular kind of residential architecture that became characteristic of the cityscape in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the hôtel or townhouse. Great architecture helps make a city great, and in Paris in particular, much of the greatest modern architecture was originally residential – grand townhouses built for the wealthiest Parisians.

Today, most of these townhouses have become museums, government ministries, foreign embassies. With its focus on the relation between public and private space in the city and the ways in which residential architecture can and should function in relation to the streets and the public space in which it is embedded, Dennis’s work is essential…

By Michael Dennis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The "tyranny of the private realm" is destroying our cities. Modern architecture, with its insistence on the mute object and its rejection of the conventions of street and square, has abdicated civic responsibility and eschewed the urban forms that express and promote it. In this eloquent and extensively illustrated study of the evolution of a modern conception of space, Michael Dennis explores the social, psychological, and especially the formal transformations that that led architects to trade the city of public space for a city of private icons. The French hôtel, an aristocratic town house developed largely in Paris between 1550…


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 Designing Your Natural House

Jeanie and David Stiles Author Of Cabin: A Guide to Building the Perfect Getaway

From my list on hand-illustrated books on building.

Why are we passionate about this?

As the authors of 27 hand-illustrated books, we are acutely aware of the time and skill required for good rendering. We are old-schoolers ourselves, having cut our teeth on “how-to” books before computers came into vogue. Our readers often tell us that a computer drawing does not have the same appeal and clarity as hand drawing. We are able to ‘talk’ a reader through the process of building something with our drawings. We have also found that the best illustrated books often have the best content!

Jeanie's book list on hand-illustrated books on building

Jeanie and David Stiles Why did Jeanie love this book?

This is an outlier that maybe not many have heard about or read. It features two award-winning designers who define, and illustrate, some 200 “rules of good architecture”. The artwork and lettering are by Malcolm Wells—an architect well-known for his sharp wit and off-beat leanings (underground houses being one). The messaging is accurate and timeless. The tone is light, as is the author’s back-and-forth banter. Wells’s illustrations bring the message home with clarity and force. It is a book that is at the same time funny, useful, and beautiful. Good luck finding one! 

5 book lists we think you will like!

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