Our Favorite Architecture Design Books

We've curated a selection of our top recommended books for understanding the architectural design process...

Covering a wide range of topics, from design principles and techniques to the history and theory, architecture design books serve as a valuable resource for both architects and students.

Here we’ve curated a selection of our top recommended books for understanding the architectural design process, that we hope will aid in the development of your concepts (our list of architecture concept books can found here) and the cultivation of architectural thinking.

Of course if you have any questions, feel free to reach out or leave a comment.

The Best Architecture Design Books

Forming and Centering: Foundational Aspects of Architectural Design

The book delves into the technique of shaping and aligning, featuring over 450 illustrations. The author covers a range of topics including incorporating elements, duplication, removal, manipulation, dimensions, and more.

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This book presents a comprehensive examination of the fundamental principles of architectural design, focusing on the concepts of forming and centering. The author argues that understanding these underlying concepts can enhance the process of architectural design and deepen appreciation of completed works of architecture.

Presented through a cohesive, analytical narrative that brings together various perspectives on these subjects, using a balance of text and illustrations, including over 450 diagrams. Additionally, the text includes supplementary material available online, including narratives, photographs, and contextual views.

Architecture: Form, Space, & Order

This is an excellent introduction into the basic vocabulary of architectural design that examines how form and space are ordered in the built environment. It includes sections on circulation, light, views, and site context, with contemporary examples of form, space, and order that encourage and promote a deeper understanding of architecture.

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For over four decades, Architecture: Form, Space, and Order has been the go-to guide for understanding the fundamentals of architectural design. The Fourth Edition has been updated and revised, providing a clear and comprehensive introduction to the elements of form and space in architecture.

The book encourages critical thinking and provides a deeper understanding of architecture by examining concepts such as light, view, openings, enclosures, circulation, proportion, and scale. The text is richly illustrated, demonstrating the relationships between the fundamental elements of architecture throughout history and across cultures.

BIG. Yes is More.

This book by Bjarke Ingles (BIG) demonstrates how to present and break down your work in a way that can be easily understood. As an architect he is very good at bringing and creating architecture to and for the public. BIG not only inspires and demonstrates how...

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“Yes is More” is a manifesto of the architectural practice Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) that breaks from traditional architectural monographs. The book, presented in comic book format, expresses BIG’s revolutionary agenda for contemporary architecture, providing a comprehensive documentation of the firm’s innovative methods, tools, and design process.

The book’s title, a play on words, represents BIG’s approach of creating socially, economically, and environmentally perfect places as a practical objective, and their belief in a “pragmatic utopian architecture” that lies between the extremes of avant-garde and corporate consultants.

The book showcases BIG’s many award-winning projects and its approach to involving the public in its designs. The use of the comic book format makes the content easily accessible and reflects the company’s irreverent attitude towards excessive formalism.

Design Process in Architecture: From Concept to Completion

Every building starts with an idea. But how do you get from a concept to a piece of architecture? Why do some ideas work better than others? What is a "good" design?

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Designing architecture is a complex and nuanced process that can seem mysterious to those who are just starting out. This guidebook aims to demystify the design process by providing a comprehensive introduction to the various steps and strategies involved in creating a building. It covers all aspects of the design process and offers examples from a wide range of architectural styles.

The book is designed to help students understand the nuances of design, and provide them with the tools and knowledge to develop their own unique approach to the design process. With clear and accessible text, and hundreds of images, this guidebook is an essential resource for architecture students and anyone interested in understanding the design process.

Design Strategies in Architecture

Through its clear methodology of architectural design analysis this book provides an excellent explanation of how architectural concept strategies are developed and implemented. Using many historical references it reveals the underlying organisation of buildings, and makes sense of there meaning through line drawings and text.

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In this book, Geoffrey Baker presents a method for analyzing modern architecture, which can be difficult to study due to changes in fashion and the many different design styles.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One provides a comprehensive overview of the nature and role of architecture, including discussions on geometry and symbolism. Part Two applies the analytical methodology by examining the design of cities and specific buildings by modern architects such as Aalto, Meier, and Stirling.

This second revised edition includes a new chapter that explores the relationship between modern perceptions of science, art, and philosophy and their impact on architecture, comparing different architectural movements such as Futurism, Constructivism, Suprematism, High Tech, Deconstruction and the avant-garde, with the phenomenology of Bachelard and Heiddeger.

Precedents in Architecture: Analytic Diagrams, Formative Ideas, and Partis

This informative book is packed with design inspiration and an in-depth understanding of how prominent architects developed their conceptual ideas - providing an insight into how to effectively represent architectural desing ideas in drawings.

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Precedents in Architecture, Fourth Edition is an essential guide for architects and designers looking to analyze and create innovative designs. The book uses a diagrammatic technique to analyze over 100 buildings by 38 leading architects, including 14 new buildings and 7 new architects, to provide a vocabulary for architectural analysis.

The book explores the commonality of design ideas in a broad range of structures by renowned architects, providing valuable insight into the evolutionary process of architectural history. This updated edition is an ideal tool for both beginners and experienced professionals to expand their design vocabulary and evaluate buildings in today’s changing landscape.

Analysing Architecture

Aimed at architecture students, Analysing Architecture offers a clear and accessible insight into the underlying strategies behind architectural design, exploring the various architectural elements and spatial organisation strategies required to develop design concepts with depth.

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Analysing Architecture is a comprehensive introduction to the subject of architecture, aimed at students and professionals in the field. Now in its fourth edition, the book has become a widely recognized resource for understanding architecture.

The author uses illustrations from his own notebooks to analyze examples from around the world and all periods of history, providing insights into the underlying strategies in architectural design and showing how drawing can be used as a medium for analysis.

The new edition has been revised and expanded, with an enlarged chapter on the basic elements of architecture, new chapters on themes in spatial organization, and additional case studies from India and Japan. The bibliography and index have also been updated. Architecture is a complex and subtle field, but this book provides a clear and accessible guide for understanding it.

It is an invaluable resource for anyone studying or working in architecture or related disciplines such as archaeology, stage design, garden design, and installation art.

Architecture Design Books

FAQ’s about architecture design books

What books do architects read?

Architects read a wide variety of books to expand their knowledge, skills and to stay up to date with current trends in the industry. Some popular options include:

  1. “Delirious New York: A retroactive manifesto for Manhattan” by Rem Koolhaas, which explores the history and culture of New York City and its impact on architecture.
  2. “S, M, L, XL” by Rem Koolhaas and Bruce Mau, which presents a collection of essays, projects, and drawings that exemplify the work of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.
  3. “A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction” by Christopher Alexander, which offers a comprehensive approach to designing buildings and towns.
  4. “The Architecture of Community” by Leon Krier, which explores the principles of traditional architecture and urban design.
  5. “Thinking Architecture” by Peter Zumthor, which offers a philosophical perspective on the design process and the role of the architect.
  6. “The Architecture of Happiness” by Alain de Botton, which explores the relationship between architecture and emotions.

What are the 7 principles of architecture design?

The 7 principles of architecture are a set of guidelines for designing functional and aesthetically pleasing buildings. They are:

  1. Utility: The building should be functional and meet the needs of the users.
  2. Firmness: The building should be structurally sound and able to withstand the forces of nature.
  3. Commodity: The building should be convenient and provide comfort to the users.
  4. Delight: The building should be visually pleasing and evoke a sense of pleasure in the users.
  5. Durability: The building should be able to withstand the test of time and maintain its integrity.
  6. Economy: The building should be designed and constructed in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
  7. Proportion: The building should be in harmony with its surroundings, and the individual parts should be in proportion to the whole.

These principles were first developed by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius and have been widely accepted as fundamental guidelines for architectural design. They are often referred to as the “Vitruvian principles” and are still considered as a valuable reference for architects today.

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