10 architecture and design books to add to your spring reading list


With a foreword by his wife Roxane Gay, Debbie Millman’s Why Design Matters features over 80 of the best interviews with the writer, designer and curator of his beloved podcast Design Matters. The lavishly illustrated volume groups the visionaries into themes – legends, truth tellers, culture makers, trendsetters and visionaries – and includes Marina Abramovic, Carmen Maria Machado, Eileen Myles and Milton Glaser, to name a few. .

Creating Problems: Design and Material Activism

By Otto von Busch, Bloomsbury, 256 pages, $55

In his latest book, Otto von Busch, associate professor of integrated design at Manhattan’s Parsons School of Design, examines the relationship between power and the material practices of design and craft. Drawing on the political philosophies of William Morris, Mohandas Gandhi and the Zapatistas, Busch describes the radical potential of craftsmanship to disrupt the capitalist state through examples ranging from moonlight to anarchist cookbook to DIY medical clinics.

The queerness of the home: gender, sexuality and the politics of domesticity after the Second World War

By Stephen Vider, The University of Chicago Press, 304 pages, $29

book cover of The Strangeness of the House

the queerness of the house discover how queer Americans shaped domestic life in the post-war United States. While the mainstream stories of LGBTQ+ life and activism exist primarily in the public sphere (think Stonewall riots to Act Up protests), this volume turns inward to view queer homes as connection, care and community sites. Illustrated with intimate archival photographs, queerness of the house delves into topics such as lesbian feminist architecture, community care and HIV/AIDS politics, and possibilities for the future of gay homes. Stephen Vider is Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Public History Initiative at Cornell University.

Yves Saint Laurent Museum Marrakech: Studio KO

By Studio KO, Phaidon, 272 pages, $50

Book cover Yves Saint Laurent Museum Marrakech

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech took around 1,423 days to design, build and inaugurate the fashion destination. This book documents the Franco-Moroccan practice, the Studio KO process for doing so, from commissioning to construction. It was Pierre Bergé, the French industrialist, philanthropist and co-founder of fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, who called the studio with the news. “It wasn’t so surprising to receive a call from Pierre,” architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty explain in the book. “But it wasn’t a common occurrence either. We knew each other. But we also knew of his lack of enthusiasm for contemporary architecture.

The Design Urgency: Building a Better Future

By Alice Rawsthorn and Paola Antonelli, Phaidon, 320 pp, $30

Emergency book cover design

From the Instagram collaboration of the duo of the same name, design critic Alice Rawsthorn and the book by Museum of Modern Art curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli emergency design tell the stories of visionary designers, architects, engineers, artists and scientists who are at the forefront of positive change. Organized into four sections – Technology, Society, Communication and Ecology – the authors present innovative design solutions for the world’s most pressing problems, from COVID-19 to global waste.

Form follows feeling

By Suchi Reddy, University of Illinois School of Architecture, limited copies available at Storefront for Art and Architecture book launch 3/15

Cover of the book Form Follows Feeling

Written by the architect and founder of Reddymade and edited by Julia van den Hout, Suchi Reddy’s Form follows feeling is published on the occasion of Reddy’s Plym Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the University of Illinois at the Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture. Featuring a selection of the firm’s work, the book also includes work by students from the studio co-taught with Professor Kevin Erickson and includes contributions from Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Beatrice Galilee, Isolde Brielmaier, LionHeart, Susan Magsamen and Michael Spicher. The book launch event will take place at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in Manhattan, where Reddy will speak with critic Beatrice Galilee.

Erich Mendelsohn: Buildings and Projects

By Carsten Krohn and Michelle Stavagna, Birkhäuser, 240 pages, $73

Erich Mendelsohn book cover

With a foreword by Kenneth Frampton, Birkhäuser’s new monograph on Erich Mendelsohn offers a comprehensive overview of the 20th-century architect’s 70 built works as well as a register of unbuilt projects. In addition to two essays on Mendelsohn’s design approach and life, the book also includes approximately 90 redrawn plans, new photographs by Carsten Krohn, and historical illustrations.

Back to the office: 50 groundbreaking office buildings and how they last

Edited by Stephan Petermann and Rush Baumeister, editors nai010, 500 pp, $99

Back to the office book cover

With contributions from Rem Koolhaas, Herman Hertzberger, Keigo Lab and Manfredo di Robilant, Back to the office takes a timely and in-depth look at classic desk designs by Mies van der Rohe, SOM, Gio Ponti, Le Corbusier, and more. At a time when many are questioning the need for desks, the volume examines how some of the most revolutionary desk designs have or have not endured over the years, while delving into how materials, methods and working styles have evolved. . The book compiles before and after photographs, archival documents, interviews and essays that look to the future of office life.

Yes to the City: Millennials and the Fight for Affordable Housing

by Max Holleran, Princeton University Press, 216 pages, $28

yes to the city offers an in-depth look at the “Yes in My Backyard” (YIMBY) movement with its origins in San Francisco and its reach in urban environments from Boulder to Austin to London. Here, Max Holleran, a lecturer in sociology at the University of Melbourne, provides detailed accounts of activists – from estate agents to environmentalists – campaigning for things like better public transport, new zoning rules and rent control. Overall, the book chronicles a major shift in housing activism as an entire generation grapples with the state of the market.

Radical pedagogies

By Beatriz Colomina, MIT Press, 416 pages, $60

Edited by Beatriz Colomina, Ignacio G. Galan, Evangelos Kotsioris and Anna-Maria Meister, Radical pedagogies assesses the experimental nature of architectural education after World War II. Giuliana Bruno, Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University writes that the book is a “history lesson for the present” saying, “Exploring the experimental roots, grassroots, radical pedagogies that emerged globally from the 1930s to the 1980s, this book – an informative and timely intervention on the importance of inventive education – plants the seeds of future pedagogical ecologies. The architectural histories of the 1960s and 1970s highlighted here, which uprooted the environmental, material, political and technological status quo, have much to teach us.


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