Art & Photography, Best Books, Education, History, Nonfiction

The 31 Best Books About Architecture

We consulted 25 “Best Architecture” book sources, and found 301 unique titles, with 31 appearing on multiple lists. A surprisingly high number of the top books have covers with simple or minimal designs. Not having flashy covers is one way to appear timeless and not of any particular era, but we definitely expected to find more books showcasing designs or architecture than we did. Of course, you should never judge a book by its cover, and if these rankings are anything to go by, a flashy cover doesn’t guarantee a good book, just as a simple looking cover doesn’t guarantee a bad book.

 



The Top 31 Architecture Books


31) AIA City Guides from the American Institute of Architects

Appears On: 2 Lists
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AIA Guide to New York City- The Classic Guide to New York's Architecture by Norval White, American Institute of Architects, Elliot Willensky


30) Architects Pocket Book

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Architect's Pocket Book by Charlotte Baden-Powell


29) Architectural Graphic Standards by Charles Ramsey, Harold Sleeper, and The American Institute of Archietcts

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Architectural Graphic Standards by Charles George Ramsey, Harold Reeve Sleeper, John Ray Hoke


28) Architecture According to Pigeons by Stella Gurney

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Architecture According to Pigeons by Speck Lee Tailfeather


27) Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design by Lee W. Waldrep

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Becoming an Architect- A Guide to Careers in Design by Lee Waldrep


26) Building Construction Illustrated by Francis D.K. Ching

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Building Construction Illustrated by Francis D.K. Ching


25) Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Cradle to Cradle- Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough, Michael Braungart


24) Design with Nature by Ian L. McHarg

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Design With Nature by Ian L. McHarg


23) Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice by Eric Cesal

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Down Detour Road- An Architect in Search of Practice by Eric J. Cesal


22) Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster by Mike Davis

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Ecology of Fear- Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster by Mike Davis


21) Learning From Las Vegas by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Learning from Las Vegas- The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form by Robert Venturi, Steven Izenour, Denise Scott Brown


20) Minimum by John Pawson

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Minimum by John Pawson


19) Prefab by Allison Arieff and Bryan Burkhart

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Prefab by Allison Arieff, Bryan Burkhart


18) S M L XL by Rem Koolhaas

Appears On: 2 Lists
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S, M, L, XL (Evergreen) by Rem Koolhaas, Bruce Mau


17) Studies in Tectonic Culture by Kenneth Frampton

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Studies in Tectonic Culture- The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture by Kenneth Frampton (Editor), Gitta Domik, Elizabeth R. Jessup, John Cava (Editor)


16) The Architecture of Humanism: A Study in the History of Taste by Geoffrey Scott

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Architecture of Humanism- A Study in the History of Taste by Geoffrey Scott


15) The Classical Language of Architecture by John Summerson

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Classical Language of Architecture by John Summerson


14) The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Green House- New Directions in Sustainable Architecture by Alanna Stang, Christopher Hawthorne


13) The Highway and the City by Lewis Mumford

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Highway and the City by Lewis Mumford


12) The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard


11) Tiny Houses by Mimi Zeiger

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Tiny Houses by Mimi Zeiger


10) Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Why Architecture Matters (Why X Matters Series) by Paul Goldberger


9) A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals By Spiro Kostof

Appears On: 3 Lists
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A History of Architecture- Settings and Rituals by Spiro Kostof, Gregory Castillo


8) A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein

Appears On: 3 Lists
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A Pattern Language- Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher W. Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King, Shlomo Angel


7) Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture by Robert Venturi

Appears On: 3 Lists
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Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture by Robert Venturi


6) Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan by Rem Koolhaas

Appears On: 3 Lists
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Delirious New York- A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan by Rem Koolhaas


5) The Details of Modern Architecture by Edward R. Ford

Appears On: 3 Lists
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The Details of Modern Architecture- Volume 1 by Edward R. Ford


4) Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier

Appears On: 3 Lists
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Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier, Frederick Etchells (Translator)


3) 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick

Appears On: 4 Lists
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101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick


2) The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

Appears On: 4 Lists
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The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs


1) The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

Appears On: 5 Lists
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The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton



The 270 Additional Architecture Books Appearing on a Single List


 

  • 10 x 10 (Architecture) by Editors of Phaidon Press
  • 100 More of the World’s Best Houses
  • 20 Houses by Twenty Architects (Electaarchitecture)
  • 20 Japanese Architects by Roland Hagenberg
  • 20th-Century World Architecture
  • A Constructed View: The Architectural Photography of Julius Shulman
  • A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s Domestic
    Architecture by Virginia Savage McAlester
  • A Guide to Archigram 1961–74 by Dennis Crompton
  • A History of the Future by Donna Goodman
  • A History of Western Architecture by David Watkin
  • A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys Through Urban Britain
  • A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder by Michael Pollan
  • A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time
  • Aesthetics of Architecture
  • AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.) NORVAL WHITE
  • Amamonzeki’
  • American Architecture and Urbanism VINCENT SCULLY
  • American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915′
  • An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles
  • An Introduction to Passive House
  • Analysing Architecture
  • Anonymous 20th Century
  • Anxiety of Influence
  • Architect’s Illustrated Pocket Dictionary
  • Architects’ Data by Ernst Neufert
  • Architects’ Guide to Fee Bidding
  • Architectural Drawing by David Dernie
  • Architectural Drawing Course by Mo Zell
  • Architectural Graphics by Francis DK Ching
  • Architectural Research Methods
  • Architecture and Disjunction By Bernard Tschumi
  • Architecture and Participation
  • Architecture Explained by Neil Stevenson
  • Architecture for Dummies by Deborah K. Dietsch
  • Architecture in the 20th Century
  • Architecture in the United States by Dell Upton
  • Architecture Now
  • Architecture Theory Since 1968 by K. Michael Hays
  • Architecture through the Ages
  • Architecture: Choice or Fate
  • Architecture: Form, Space, and Order
  • Architecture: The Natural and the Manmade
  • Art Invention House by Michael Webb
  • Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam Era’
  • Artist’s Artist’
  • Arts & Architecture 1945-54
  • Assembling a Collaborative Project Team: Practical tools including Multidisciplinary Schedules of Services
  • Atlas Shrugged
  • Austerlitz W. G. SEBALD
  • Authentic Décor: The Domestic Interior 1620–1920
  • Basics Architecture – Representation Techniques
  • Bauhaus Women’
  • Between Silence and Light | Spirit in the Architecture of Louis I Kahn
  • BIM for Construction Health and Safety
  • BIM in Small Practices: Illustrated Case Studies
  • BLDGBLOG Book by Geoff Manaugh
  • Bookwork: Medium to Object to Concept to Art by Garrett Stewart
  • Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King
  • Burtynsky: Oil’
  • Carbon-Neutral Architectural Design
  • Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction written and illustrated by David Macaulay
  • CDM 2015: A Practical Guide for Architects and Designers
  • Cezanne and Beyond’
  • Changing Ideals in Modern Architecture
  • Chicago’s Famous Buildings
  • Chicagoisms: The City as Catalyst for Architectural Speculation by Alexander Eisenschmidt and Jonathan Mekinda
  • Collage City, Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter
  • Compact Houses: Architecture for the Environment by Cristina Del Valle
  • Complete Reference Set of Approved Documents to the Building Regulations
  • Concrete
  • Concrete Architecture by Catherine Croft
  • Contemporary Design in Detail: Small Environments
  • Contemporary Design in Detail: Sustainable Environments
  • Crazy Buildings by Michael J. Rosen and Ben Kassoy
  • Darwin’s Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution’
  • Design Like You Give A Damn: Architectural Responses To Humanitarian Crises
  • Design Management: RIBA Plan of Work 2013 Guide
  • Design Writing Research: Writing on Graphic Design by Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller
  • Designers on Design
  • DesignIntelligence Almanac of Architect & Design 2009
  • Digital Drawing for Landscape Architecture: Contemporary Techniques and Tools for Digital Representation in Site
    Design – Bradley Cantrell and Wes Michaels
  • Eames Design
  • Ed Ruscha and Some Los Angeles Apartments
  • Education of an Architect: A Point of View
  • El Croquis Monographs
  • Environmental Design Pocketbook (2nd Edition)
  • Essays in Architectural Criticism: Modern Architecture and Historical Change ALAN COLQUHOUN
  • Étant donnés’
  • Ethics and the Practice of Architecture
  • Experiencing Architecture
  • Eyewitness Companions: Architecture by Jonathan Glancey
  • Eyewitness Visual Dictionary: The Visual Dictionary of Buildings a Dorling Kindersley Book
  • Fifty Typefaces That Changed the World by John L. Walters
  • Frank Lloyd Wright ADA LOUISE HUXTABLE
    Frank Lloyd Wright MERYLE SECREST
  • Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
  • From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe
  • From the Ground Up
  • Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods by Edward Allen
  • Going Public: Public Architecture, Urbanism and Interventions
  • Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism ERWIN PANOFSKY
  • Great Houses of London
  • Guide to BREEAM
  • Guide to NEC3: (NEC Guide)
  • Guide to RIBA Domestic and Concise Building Contracts 2014
  • Guide to Using the RIBA Plan of Work 2013
  • Hav by Jan Morris
  • Health and Safety Pocketbook
  • Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield’
  • Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Sustainable Design Methods for Architects by Norbert Lechner
  • Heavenly Mansions and Other Essays on Architecture
  • House by Tracy Kidder
  • How a House Is Built written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons
  • How Buildings Learn
  • How Firms Succeed: A Field Guide to Design Management by James P. Cramer and Scott Simpson
  • If I Built A Car written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
  • If I Built A House by Chris Van Dusen
  • Iggy Peck, Architect written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts
  • In Iris Fields’
  • Incorporations (Zone 6) by Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter
  • Intertwining By Steven Holl
  • Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
  • John Wesley’
  • Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: The Beauty Supply District
  • Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards – Leonard J. Hopper
  • Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History – by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers
  • Landscape Graphics – Grant Reid
  • Latin American Houses
  • Law in Practice: The RIBA Legal Handbook (2nd edition)
  • Le Corbusier Le Grand
  • Le Corbusier: A Life
  • Learning from Hangzhou’
  • Legacy: the Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks’
  • Lexicon of Garden and Landscape Architecture – by Meto J. Vroom
  • Little House on a Small Planet by Shay Salomon
  • Living in the Endless City
  • Lost Buildings’
  • Lost London In Colour
  • Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Mask of Medusa By John Hejduk
  • Matter: Material Processes in Architectural Production edited by Gail Peter Borden and Michael Meredith
  • Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings
  • Mechanics and Meaning in Architecture
  • Mechanization Takes Command SIGFRIED GIEDION
  • Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography
  • Mobile: The Art of Portable Architecture
  • Modern Architecture and Other Essays
  • Modern Architecture Since 1900 by William J.R. Curtis
  • Modern House 2 by Clare Melhuish
  • Modern House’ book by John Welsh
  • Modern Japanese House
  • Modernism Reborn: Mid-Century American Houses
  • Modernism Rediscovered by Julius Shulman
  • Moxie: The Dachshund of Fallingwater written and illustrated by Cara Armstrong
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
  • Nairn’s London
  • Nairn’s Paris
  • NBS Guide to Tendering: for construction projects
  • New Sustainable Homes: Designs for Healthy Living
  • Observations for Young Architects by Cesar Pelli
  • On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change by Ada Louise Huxtable
  • On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time MOHSEN MOSTAFAVI DAVID LEATHERBARROW
  • Outdoors: The Garden Design Book for the Twenty-First Century
  • Painting Abstraction: New Elements in Abstract Painting’
  • Painting Today’
  • Philip Johnson: Life and Work
  • PHPP Illustrated: A Designer’s Companion to the Passive House Planning Package
  • Planned Assaults: The Nofamily House, Love/House, Texas Zero
  • PreFab Now by James Grayson Trulove
  • Prefabulous + Sustainable by Sheri koones
  • Principles of Ecological Landscape Design – Travis Beck
  • Project Leadership: RIBA Plan of Work 2013 Guide
  • Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture by Justin McGuirk
  • Rebel Cities
  • RIBA Job Book (9th edition)
  • Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China by Paul Theroux
  • Robert Frank’s The Americans’
  • Roberto, The Insect Architect written and illustrated by Nina Laden
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beatty
  • Rough Guide to Sustainability: A Design Primer 4th Edition
  • Round Buildings, Square Buildings, and Buildings That Wiggle Like a Fish
  • Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency’
  • Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design
  • Shedworking by Alex Johnson
  • Sir Banister Fletcher’s A History of Architecture
  • Sky High written by Germano Zullo and illustrated by Albertine
  • Small Houses: Contemporary Residential Architecture
  • Small Projects Handbook
  • Standard Letters in Architectural Practice
    Starting a Practice: A Plan of Work 2nd ed
  • Surface/Subsurface
  • Sustainable Design by Williams
  • TASCHEN’s Architecture Now! series by Philip Jodidio
  • Ten Books on Architecture By Vitruvius
  • The Age of Comfort’
  • The Age of Innocence EDITH WHARTON
  • The Annotated Arch: A Crash Course in the History of Architecture by Carol Stickland, Ph.D.
  • The Architect in Practice: 10th edition
  • The Architect’s Guide to Writing for Design and Construction Professionals by Bill Schmalz
  • The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice by The American Institute of Architects
  • The Architecture of the City, Aldo Rossi
  • The Architecture Student’s Handbook of Professional Practice
  • The Beats: A Graphic History’
  • The City Observed: Los Angeles
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  • The Discipline of Architecture
  • The Elements of Style (illustrated) WILLIAM STRUNK JR. E. B. WHITE
  • The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
  • The Emergence of Modern Architecture: A Documentary History from 1000 to 1810
  • The Essential Frank Lloyd Wright: Critical Writings on Architecture
  • The Essential House Book: Getting Back to Basics
  • The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses by Juhani Pallasmaa
  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  • The Good Life, Inaki Abalos
  • The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History ROBERT DARNTON
  • The Hand of the Architect Moleskine
  • The House Book from Phaidon Press
  • The Idea of Building: Thought and Action in the Design and Production of Buildings
  • The Interpretation of Cultures
  • The Invention of Tradition E. J. HOBSBAWM Editor T. O. RANGER
  • The Invisible Man
  • The Letters
  • The Library: A World History by James W. P. Campbell; photographs by Will Pryce
  • The Meaning of Home
  • The Most Beautiful House in the World
  • The Nature of Dwellings: The Architecture of David Hovey
  • The New 100 Houses x 100 Architects
  • The New American House: Innovations in Residential Design and Construction
  • The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture
  • The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture (Hardcover)
  • The Planting Design Handbook- by Nick Robinson
  • The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture, Pier Vittorio Aureli
  • The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro
  • The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment by Lawrence Halprin
  • The Seven Lamps of Architecture
  • The Shingle Style and the Stick Style by Vincent J. Scully, Jr.
  • The Simple Home: The Luxury of Enough
  • The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces – William H. Whyte
  • The Space of Encounter By Daniel Libeskind
  • The Stones of Venice JOHN RUSKIN
  • The Story of Architecture by Jonathan Glancey
  • The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond written by Patrick Dillon and
    illustrated by Stephen Biesty
  • The Ten Books of Architecture by Vitruvius
  • The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale written and illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia
  • Theoretical Anxiety and Design Strategies, Rafael Moneo
  • There Goes the Neighborhood: Ten Buildings People Loved to Hate by Susan Goldman Rubin
  • Think like an Architect
  • Thinking Architecture by Peter Zumthor
  • Time Saver Standards for Urban Design by Donald Watson, Alan Plattus, and Robert Shibley
  • Tom Kundig: Houses
  • Town Planning in Practice
  • Translation by Aaron Betsky
  • Trotzdem, 1900–1930
  • Twenty Minutes in Manhattan
  • Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing written by April Jones Prince and illustrated by Francois Roca
  • Underground written and illustrated by David Macaulay
  • Understanding Architecture: An Introduction to Architecture and Architectural History
  • Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning
  • Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell
  • Venice for Pleasure
    Vitruvius: The Ten Books Of Architecture
  • Walter Pichler: Drawings, Sculpture, Buildings
  • Washington Square
  • What is Architecture, Paul Shepheard
  • Which Contract?: 5th Edition
  • Wood Architecture Now! Vol 2
  • World Architecture: An Illustrated History
  • You Have to Pay for the Public Life: Selected Essays of Charles W. Moore
  • Young Frank, Architect by Frank Vita
  • Younger Than Jesus: Artist Directory’

The 27 “Best Architecture” Book Sources Arranged by Date Published

 

 

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