10 books like Shelter

By Lloyd Kahn (editor), Bob Easton (editor),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Shelter. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties

By D.C. Beard,

Book cover of Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters

An oldie but goodie - many of the techniques described are still applicable in modern times. Beard includes lengthy descriptions and illustrations of building all kinds of small shelters, including cabins, treehouses & towers. He helped start the Boy Scouts of America and was an avid woodsman, illustrator, and conservationist. His tips on outdoor living are invaluable – including two chapters on how to use an ax. 

Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties

By D.C. Beard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This excellent hands-on guide by one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America contains a wealth of practical instruction and advice on how to build everything from a bark teepee and a tree-top house to a log cabin and a sod house. No professional architects are needed here; and knowing how to use an axe is more important than possessing carpentry skills.
More than 300 of the author's own illustrations and a clear, easy-to-follow text enable campers to create such lodgings as half-cave shelters, beaver mat huts, birch bark shacks, over-water camps, a Navajo hogan, and a pole…


Microshelters

By Diedricksen,

Book cover of Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures

Lots of color photos and enthusiastic commentary by the author, as well as six sets of affordable building plans. Deek specializes in using recycled and salvaged materials. He also uses a clear plastic Tuftex polycarbonate as a material, which is inexpensive, easy to install, and allows light in. A good book for beginner and intermediate builders.   

Microshelters

By Diedricksen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Created by an assembly of leading designers, architects, and bloggers, these 57 unique and innovative designs will show you the limits of what is possible. All of the designs include beautiful full-colour photos along with floor plans and building tips; 15 of them include flushed-out concept sketches; and five include step-by-step building plans. You'll also find guidelines on building with recycled and salvaged materials, plus techniques for making your small space comfortable and easy to inhabit.


Building Construction Illustrated

By Francis D. K. Ching,

Book cover of Building Construction Illustrated

Building Construction Illustrated is a comprehensive visual guide to the principles of building construction. Francis D.K. Ching’s clear illustrations and hand lettering have set the standard for 50 years. The book explains concepts in residential and commercial construction, architecture, and structural engineering. The sixth edition features new illustrations and updated information on sustainability, green building, and insulation materials.

Building Construction Illustrated

By Francis D. K. Ching,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The #1 visual guide to building construction principles, updated with the latest materials, methods, and systems

For over four decades, Building Construction Illustrated has been the leading visual guide to the principles of building construction. Filled with rich illustrations and in-depth content by renowned author Francis D.K. Ching, it offers students and practicing professionals the information needed to understand concepts in residential and commercial construction, architecture, and structural engineering.

This Sixth Edition of Building Construction Illustrated has been revised throughout to reflect the latest advancements in building design, materials, and systems, including resilient design, diagrids, modular foundation systems, smart facade…


Original Whole Earth Catalog

By Stewart Brand (editor), Peter Warshall (editor),

Book cover of Original Whole Earth Catalog

The Whole Earth Catalog has been inspiring people (including us) to build their own small dwellings since the 60s. Among other things, it’s a how-to manual of construction techniques and a life guide with readers’ recommendations and opinions. Brand coined the term ‘personal computer’ and signed off the final edition of The Whole Earth Catalog in 1974 with “Stay hungry, stay foolish” (famously quoted by Steve Jobs in a commencement speech at Stanford over 30 years later).

Original Whole Earth Catalog

By Stewart Brand (editor), Peter Warshall (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Original Whole Earth Catalog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Designing Your Natural House

By Charles G. Woods, Malcolm Wells,

Book cover of Designing Your Natural House

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! 

Designing Your Natural House

By Charles G. Woods, Malcolm Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Designing Your Natural House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Life Between Buildings

By Jan Gehl,

Book cover of Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space

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. 

Life Between 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…


Cradle of Gold

By Christopher Heaney,

Book cover of Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu

The American explorer Hiram Bingham “discovered” the abandoned Inca resort of Machu Picchu in 1911 (in fact a local indigenous farmer led him to the ruins). He took home human bones and artifacts which Peru has been demanding back ever since, but to look at this story as simply a tale of colonialist exploitation would do it a disservice. Bingham was a colorful, big-hearted character who understood the importance of what he had found. The author captures his life and complicated legacy with grace and erudition, compellingly situating him in the Inca revivalist milieu of early twentieth century Cuzco. Anyone travelling to Peru should read it.  

Cradle of Gold

By Christopher Heaney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1911, a young Peruvian boy led an American explorer and Yale historian named Hiram Bingham into the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. Hidden amidst the breathtaking heights of the Andes, this settlement of temples, tombs and palaces was the Incas' greatest achievement. Tall, handsome, and sure of his destiny, Bingham believed that Machu Picchu was the Incas' final refuge, where they fled the Spanish Conquistadors. Bingham made Machu Picchu famous, and his dispatches from the jungle cast him as the swashbuckling hero romanticized today as a true Indiana Jones-like character. But his excavation of the site raised old…


Home

By Witold Rybczynski,

Book cover of Home: A Short History of an Idea

Home discusses the complex series of factors that have generated the house as we understand it today. The chapters can be read independently as discussions on, for example, the evolution of comfort or the organisation of the different spaces. However, the book also builds into a fascinating argument for revisiting some of the pre-modern ideas of communal living, shared spaces, and live-work relationships. 

Home

By Witold Rybczynski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Walk through five centuries of homes both great and small from the smoke-filled manor halls of the Middle Ages to today's Ralph Lauren-designed environments on a house tour like no other, one that delightfully explicates the very idea of "home."

You'll see how social and cultural changes influenced styles of decoration and furnishing, learn the connection between wall-hung religious tapestries and wall-to-wall carpeting, discover how some of our most welcome luxuries were born of architectural necessity, and much more. Most of all, Home opens a rare window into our private lives and how we really want to live.


Building the Japanese House Today

By Len Brackett, Peggy Landers Rao, Aya Brackett (photographer)

Book cover of Building the Japanese House Today

Len Brackett trained with superb carpenters in Japan and returned to the US West Coast to create exquisite Japanese-stye houses and other buildings. His work is in extremely high demand. This book shows how high-quality Japanese-style design and construction can be adapted to our current lifestyles without sacrificing either aesthetically or functionally. Brackett’s descriptions of his design and construction process, as well as of the wood material he uses, are enticing and provide a lot of technical and philosophical insight.

Building the Japanese House Today

By Len Brackett, Peggy Landers Rao, Aya Brackett (photographer)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Built like a piece of fine furniture, the traditional Japanese house is universally admired for its clean lines, intricate joinery, and unparalleled woodworking. Focusing primarily on a new guesthouse in California, this elegant volume shows how a classic Japanese house can be built to offer the warmth and comfort that modern homemakers require.Len Brackett, rigorously trained as a temple carpenter in Kyoto, has spent decades adapting the ancient Japanese design aesthetic to Western needs. Here he demonstrates step-by-step how both the traditional live-on-the-floor house, as well as models that accommodate furniture, can be constructed to provide such modern essentials as…


Measure and Construction of the Japanese House

By Heino Engel,

Book cover of Measure and Construction of the Japanese House

This book is a classic and is a beautifully informative excerpt from the author’s longer and more extensive The Japanese House: A Tradition for Contemporary Architecture which is long out of print. The drawings and plans are wonderful, and illuminate the Japanese House layout, modularity, proportions, and many structural and ornamental details. I particularly love the white-on-black visual treatment used for many of the plans. 

Measure and Construction of the Japanese House

By Heino Engel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Measure and Construction of the Japanese House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A remarkable classic work on traditional Japanese architecture and its general integrative quality, the order of space and form, the flexibility of partitions and room functions and other important or unique qualities. The author describes in detail, and with numerous architectural plans and drawings, the influence of the anatomy of the Japanese human body on traditional units of measurement and on house construction. This work is not simply a description of the features of the Japanese house, but "an invitation to probe the possibilities of utilizing this architectural achievement of the Japanese ...in modern living and building," according to the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in architecture, environmentalism, and environmental issues?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about architecture, environmentalism, and environmental issues.

Architecture Explore 50 books about architecture
Environmentalism Explore 121 books about environmentalism
Environmental Issues Explore 31 books about environmental issues