Best Architectural Books Reviewed by

  1. 30 Years of Emerging Voices: Idea, Form, Resonance edited by Anne Rieselbach

Rieselbach has overseen the Emerging Voices lecture series of the Architecture League of New York since its inception in 1986 and now collects the wisdom of the guests into one volume. The Architecture League is a venerable old institution, with roots dating back to 1881. Its Emerging Voices lectures represent the best and brightest of upcoming architects, and the contributors to this collection have all gone on to make significant contributions to the field.

Contributors include design critic Michael Bierut, American Institute of Architects fellow Harry Cobb, former dean of the Tulane School of Architecture Reed Kroloff, and Ashley Schafer, who co-founded PRAXIS: a journal of writing + building.

  1. 100 Buildings: 1900–2000 by the Now Institute with a foreword by Thom Mayne

By restricting itself to only 100 projects, this guide to the architectural history of the 20th century forced itself to be selective, so don’t be surprised if any of your favorite works were omitted. The 100 influential buildings in this book were chosen by a panel of 40 prominent architects, a group that included Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, and Daniel Libeskind.

Touring the 20th century’s 100 most architecturally significant projects as chosen by architects themselves makes for a comprehensive history lesson for architecture and urban planning students. Seasoned design professionals will also appreciate the point of view.

  1. The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings by Marc Kushner

Based on Kushner’s enormously popular TED Talk and published as part of the TED Books series, the book focuses on the unusual. With an emphasis on function as well as futuristic-looking form, Kushner looks into how the buildings of the near future can be engineered to help humanity solve some of its most pressing problems. Rather than focusing on any one architectural movement, the author takes a global perspective.

Refreshingly, Kushner writes in an accessible style that will be enjoyed by all, from design professionals to amateur Instagram photographers. Not only does Kushner imagine how the future of architecture might change the world, but also how the study of architecture might be made more accessible to general audiences.

  1. Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures by Derek Diedricksen

One of the best architecture books available on tiny houses and their kin, and certainly the best-looking, this volume featuring both gorgeous photography of the 59 minimal spaces and commentary by Diedrickson, the host of Tiny House Builders on HGTV. Some of what makes this collection so fascinating is the inclusion of tree houses and other microshelters that blur the lines between indoors and outdoors.

Note that is book is a visual feast for microshelter lovers, a place to go, look, and dream in between the pages. It doesn’t include detailed plans for building a microshelter or tiny house; Diedrickson leaves that up to other books. But if you want a good look at the kinds of shelters that Diedrickson features on the show and insightful commentary into their purpose and function, this is the book for you.

  1. A New History of Modern Architecture by Colin Davies

Davies, a professor of architecture at London’s Metropolitan University, uses this ambitious volume to open the canon of modern architecture to both Western and non-Western architectural movements and accomplishments. Although serious devotees of modern architecture will find little new information on these pages, the book provides an introduction to modernism for those seeking one.

What makes A New History of Modern Architecture one of the best architecture books in recent memory is the format, which combines compellingly readable text with copious illustrations. Searching for a particular architect, region, style, or typology is simplified thanks to this well-organized layout.

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