If you want to be a better architect, you should read these 15 books. These are the books that have had a significant impact on the way I think design. Thinking design is the key difference between an architect and a builder or drafter. An architect knows how to think about design, space creation, and solutions that can bring beauty and balance. If you are an architect or thinking about being an architect read these books. Add the books you think I should read in the comments section below.
Serve God Save the Planet by Matthew Sleeth
This is a wonderful book of hope for the future that re-imagines the way we live.
Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander
This book proposes that design is interconnected and relies on patterns.
Architecture: Form, Space, & Order by Francis Ching
A very nice summary of the principles of architecture with very nice graphics.
How to start and operate your own design firm by Albert Rubeling
Understanding how to run a design firm allows you to work well in a firm and eventually run your own firm. This book gives a nice introduction.
The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard
A book that explores application of lived experience using phenomenology.
Space, Time, and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition by Siegfried Giedion
If you can find a first or second edition, get it, the book has been referred to as the bible or architecture.
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things by William McDonough
Rethinking the way we approach design to include how we can deconstruct the built environment is an important next step for our profession. This book sets up the idea.
Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier
A manifesto for generations of architects.
Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency by Andrea Dean
A story of a man who changed architecture forever and my career path for the better.
Builders Guide to Mixed Humid Climate by Joseph Lstiburek
If you don’t know the lessons in this book (know your climate and order that version) you should not be drawing wall sections.
The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka
A new way of thinking about how to make a place feel like home.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
A call to action for creating urban spaces that have organic urban vibrancy.
Sun, Wind, and Light by Mark DeKay and G.Z. Brown
Another book that if you don’t know this book, stop drawing wall sections, stop creating spaces, stop building buildings.
The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
There are more life lessons in this one book for architects and everyone else than all the other books combined.
The Lorax by Dr. Suess
A call to action to care about our decisions and to take action to make the world better.