Top 10 Must Have Books for Architects

The field of architecture is vast. With disciplines like landscape design, interior design, urban planning, history and philosophy, developing complete perfection in your craft of architecture is difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, to create a thorough understanding of the subject, there is a need for referring to a diverse array of educational resources for architecture students and professionals. In this article, we are featuring the top 10 must-have books for architects, designers and anyone looking to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject. 

Architecture books have varying perspectives and opinions, and like any other field, change is the only constant in our comprehension of design. Therefore, there are no best architecture books in the market. From ideological works and the industry’s most influential works to the essential comprehensive reference books, these are the best architecture books for your inspiration and knowledge to prosper:

1. Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier:

must have books for architects

The Indian architectural legend, B V Doshi reminisces the time he spent working alongside Le Corbusier and how he learnt the skill of realistically visualising buildings and the environment from him. 

The study of modern architectural planning is incomplete without the mention of Le Corbusier. In this book, the famed architect and planner articulately express his technical and aesthetic theories. His treatise on industry and mass production, the form and function relationships and economics is commendable. 

With over 200 line drawings and photographs, inciting an indispensable source of inspiration and wisdom, this piece is one of the best architecture books out there. 

2. 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick 

must have books for architects

Concise, credible and relevant; this book holds everything you need to master architectural design, interior design and presentation, right from the basics of how to draw a line to the intricacies of colour theory. 

With extensive drawings and sketches, this is one of the essential must-have books for architects and designers alike. 

3. Thinking Architecture by Peter Zumthor

must have books for architects

Your collection of best architecture books is incomplete without this fantastic read! Zumthor has a distinct storytelling style that makes even the most “mundane” concepts exciting. This book can be a right mind fresher to take you out of the clutter of construction documents, RFI’s and AFP’s.

4. S, M, L, XL by Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau

must have books for architects

This book was a revolutionary step in our understanding of the field published at the times of theoretical works and stiff portfolios. 

The book contains diary entries, messy models and sketches, a dictionary throughout the margins of the pages and lots of construction pictures. This book is one of the most popular ground-breaking must have books for architects. 

5. Architecture: Form, Space and Order by Francis DK Ching

must have books for architects

This classic covers the basic vocabulary of architecture with extensive coverage of emerging trends and developments in the field. It takes into account the form and space concerning lighting, view, openings and enclosures. 

This book puts forward the most complex and abstract design concepts and conveys them eloquently to the reader. Added detailed illustrations make this one of the essential must have books for architects. 

6. Design Like You Give a Damn 2: Building Change from the Ground Up by Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity

must have books for architects

Architecture for Humanity is a relief organisation presenting architectural and design solutions to global, social, and humanitarian crises. 

The book gathers innovative architectural projects to improve the quality of life. The revolutionary concept brings into perspective some of the most successful designs on shelter, health care, education and access to basic amenities. 

Bearing a humanitarian perspective, this is one of the best architecture books for people willing to create a change in society!

7. Yes is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution by Bjarke Ingels

must have books for architects

This book is one of the most unconventional books for architects that put its point across in the form of comics! 

The book is one of the first comprehensive documentation of Bjarke Ingel’s Group’s radical practice. This book, showcases, BIG’s philosophy using one of the most unconventional and informal mediums to convey its mission of creating socially, economically, and environmentally perfect spaces and structures. 

8. Architecture and Disjunction by Bernard Tschumi

This book asks some of the most insightful questions about architecture and design. In case you find yourself stuck in a dull routine, this is a perfect book to shake things up.

Bernard Tschumi makes you realise that architecture is much more than boring floor plans and takes you on an enthralling ride to outer consciousness, linguistics and politics.  

9. Architecture Workbook: Design Through Motive by Sir Peter Cook 

must have books for architects

With a clear and conversational theory, this book by Peter Cook is one of the best books on architecture. Peter Cook was a prominent member of the “Archigram” in the ’60s. His works include the Kunsthaus Graz

Sir Cook is one of the most influential architects all time.  

10. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher AlexanderSara IshikawaMurray SilversteinMax JacobsonIngrid Fiksdahl-King, and Shlomo Angel

must have books for architects

This book provides both the professional and the average person a framework by which to design, construct, and improve lived spaces. 

The book presents the idea of a pattern language. With detailed discussions on 253 patterns, forming the language, the book has an interactive appeal with thought-provoking questions.  

The pattern language seeks to build a skillset in the reader to create a design for any structure or aspect of the built environment.

These are the ten must have books for architects, designers and allied professionals. The unifying axiom in all these legendary pieces of architectural literature is that the field has much more to offer than messy floor plans. 

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