One of my biggest passions is reading. I’ve read hundreds, if not a thousand or more, books in my lifetime and I don’t ever plan on stopping. It gives me time to escape the daily grind and relax into someone elses story for a while. One of the things that I’m embarking on this year is to read more architecture books – books on design, theory, living, history, interiors, furniture, etc. Fiction is great, I love fiction, but in an effort to expand my horizons as an architect and designer I feel it’s time to put down the fictitious and pick up the real.
Below are some of the books that I’ve come across to put on the initial list. I would love to hear ideas from others (this means you) on what books I should read. I’ll be posting my own reviews as I read through each book and, once finished, I’ll be giving them away (my wife won’t let me keep any more books…it really is that bad) via random drawings on this site, so stay tuned and please comment.
#1 Greene and Greene Furniture: Poems of Wood and Light
by David Mathias
I actually got this book for Christmas after posting it on my Facebook page (thanks mom). I’ve always been fascinated by the Craftsman Style (I even live in one) and this book takes you not just through the evolution of furniture but of the architecture as well. The photos and details in this book are simply amazing – including some original hand sketches and drawings. I haven’t read through the whole thing yet, but I’m working on it, so bear with me.
Note: I’m not giving this book away, it stays with me. Get your own! 😛
#2 The Craftsman
by Richard Sonnett
Not sure where I came across this book, but here is the description from the publisher:
“Defining craftsmanship far more broadly than “skilled manual labor,” Richard Sennett maintains that the computer programmer, the doctor, the artist, and even the parent and citizen engage in a craftsman’s work. Craftsmanship names the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, says the author, and good craftsmanship involves developing skills and focusing on the work rather than ourselves. In this thought-provoking book, one of our most distinguished public intellectuals explores the work of craftsmen past and present, identifies deep connections between material consciousness and ethical values, and challenges received ideas about what constitutes good work in today’s world…”
#3 Prefabulous + Sustainable
by Sheri Koones
I recently found this book on another blog, Hooked on Houses (it’s worth checking out) and really want to check it out. Here is what the publisher says:
“In this guide to prefab home-building author Sheri Koones, demystifies the prefabricated house by using 25 unique homes to showcase how factory-built homes are greener, more efficient, sturdier, and more cost-effective than site-built homes. The book is divided into 3 categories—green, greener, greenest—and the homes featured vary in style, design, type of construction, and size. All of the homes included in Prefabulous and Sustainable have been customized to create a level of sustainability beyond the inherent qualities of prefab.”
#4 The Not So Big House
by Sarah Susanka
I’ve come across this book so many times on other blogs and websites that I can’t believe it’s NOT on my bookshelf. Well, it’s time to get with it! From the publisher:
Architect Susanka believes that the large homes being built today place too much emphasis on square footage rather than on current lifestyles. Here she shows how homes can be designed to feature “adaptable spaces open to one another, designed for everyday use.” She describes how to examine occupants’ lifestyles, how to incorporate the kitchen as the focal point of the home, how to give the illusion of space, and how, with storage, lighting, and furniture arrangement, a smaller home can be comfortably livable. Photographs of contemporary homes as well as those by Frank Lloyd Wright and other modern architects illustrate Susanka’s ideas and show the timelessness of the style she advocates. This thought-provoking book will be a good addition to architectural and interior design collections.”
I think this is probably enough to get me started, no? Again, I want to hear from anyone and everyone your suggestions for books on anything even remotely related to architecture and design that you think I should be reading. Cheers.