Seven Books on Architecture for Beginners or Enthusiasts

  • May 10, 2021

  • Written by Shan Arcega

We’re sure there are a lot more but here are just a few great books for budding architects and architecture enthusiasts

Experience may be the best teacher but a student still wouldn’t be able to get through those experiences without a handy book of knowledge by their side. Architecture may be a hands-on profession but regardless if you’re an architecture student, a connoisseur, or merely someone who loves gaining basic knowledge on everything and anything they can get their hands on, it’s still better to stick your nose into books and absorb the knowledge specialists in the field can offer you. Here is just a compilation of seven books we gathered from some architecture specialists overseas who believe that the following titles are some of the most notable reads for anyone interested in architecture and design.

The Works: Anatomy of the City by Kate Ascher

In this book that weaves anecdotes, facts, and graphics together, Kate Ascher brings readers an up-close and behind-the-scenes look at the urban infrastructures in New York City and how they operate. Most specifically the inner systems in the city that manage water, heat, electricity, traffic, and many other things. 

 Architectural Graphics by Francis D.K. Ching

A beautifully illustrated book by renowned architecture and design graphics writer Francis D.K. Ching, Architectural Graphics shows the various techniques architects and designers use in communicating ideas. A comprehensive guide to professional architectural drawing, it’s a highly recommended book for every architecture student due to the graphics on architectural drafting, perspective drawing, rendering, orthographic projections (a way to present three-dimensional objects in two dimensions), presentation drawings, and many other graphics. 

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Architecture – Form, Space and Order by Francis D.K Ching 

Another classic book from Francis D.K. Ching, Architecture — Form, Space, and Order is an introduction to the basic vocabulary of architectural design. Aside from distilling complex concepts of space and the elements and relationships of circulation alongside proportion and scale, the book also has detailed illustrations demonstrating the concepts presented and reveal the relationships between the fundamental elements of architecture regardless of the era and culture. 

Design Drawing by Francis D.K. Ching and Steven P. Juroszek

Design Drawing is another great beginner book that covers drawing designs at the most basic level. It covers the basics of drawing which includes lines, shapes, tone, and space, and illustrates this through architectural examples. The book also explores different types of drawing techniques including multiview, paraline, and perspective drawings, and how applying these different techniques create notable results. 

The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch

A 1960s classic on American urban planner Kevin Lynch’s evaluation of a city’s form, this book is supported by studies of Los Angeles, Boston, and Jersey city and shows his findings can be a potential guide to building and rebuilding cities. With a wide scope of study, this book leads to an original and vital method for evaluating a city’s form. 

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The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard

Initially published in 1958, The Poetics of Space by French philosopher Gaston Bachelard is an artful execution of inviting philosophy that has become a favorite to not just architects but even writers, psychologists, critics, and readers. Describe as a lyrical journey, the book uses as a premise the emergence of poetic image and finds an ideal metaphor in a home’s intimate spaces. It guides the reader through a line of meditations on art, poetry, and consciousness that goes hand in hand with Bachelard’s examinations regarding the places in a house that shapes dreams and holds memories. This includes rooms, cellars and attics, and even the smaller features of a house like the drawers, chests, and wardrobes, and even nooks and corners. 

Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kristina Holden, Jill Butler

The first cross-disciplinary reference of design, this book is quite easy to sift through and is packed with beautiful illustrations that go hand-in-hand with explanations of the design concepts applied in practice. A landmark reference, it is a standard for designers, engineers, architects, and students who wish to broaden their knowledge on design. 100 design concepts are defined in this book. From the 80/20 rule to chunking, all the way to baby-face bias, Ockham’s razor, self-similarity, and storytelling. 

Though there are a plethora of books that can provide one with knowledge about design and architecture, these few books from experts all over the world are a great way to start off your journey with architecture and design.

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