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

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

Courtesy of the publishers

Around the second anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are few things that resemble those of March 2020, be it the way we work, the way we study, or even the way we move around. our own homes. Many titles in this selection of spring publications on architecture and design show how authors and design professionals are grappling with the major changes of our time. Volumes like Debbie Millman’s Why Design Matters and Paola Antonelli emergency design share diverse viewpoints and design solutions from some of the world’s greatest creative voices; by Otto von Busch Make trouble and Max Holleran yes to the city assess forms of DIY and housing activism; and Stephen Vider queerness of the house and Suchi Reddy’s Form follows feeling tap into a more empathetic and human-centered approach to space. All, in some way, look to the past as a way to clearly see the future of the built environment.

Why Design Matters: Conversations with the World’s Most Creative People

By Debbie Millman, Harper Collins, 368 pages, $60


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Courtesy of the publishers
Courtesy of the publishers

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 from his beloved Design Matters podcast. 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

Courtesy of the publishers
Courtesy of the publishers

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 World War II

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

Courtesy of the publishers
Courtesy of the publishers

The Queerness of Home reveals how queer Americans shaped domestic life in the postwar 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 Home delves into topics such as lesbian feminist architecture, community care and HIV/AIDS politics, and the possibilities for the future of queer 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

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Courtesy of the publishers

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech took approximately 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 pages, $30

Courtesy of the publishers
Courtesy of the publishers

From the Instagram collaboration of the duo of the same name, design critic Alice Rawsthorn and the book Design Emergency by Museum of Modern Art architecture and design curator Paola Antonelli tell the stories of designers, architects, engineers, artists and visionary 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

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Courtesy of the publishers

Written by architect and founder of Reddymade and edited by Julia van den Hout, Suchi Reddy’s Form Follows Feeling is published in conjunction with Reddy’s Plym Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the University of Illinois at the School of Urbana-Champaign 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

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Courtesy of the publishers

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

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Courtesy of the publishers

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 office 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

Courtesy of the publishers
Courtesy of the publishers

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, Ignacio G. Galán, Evangelos Kotsioris, and Anna-Maria Meister, MIT Press, 416 pages, $60

Courtesy of the publishers
Courtesy of the publishers

Under the direction of Beatriz Colomina, Ignacio G. Galan, Evangelos Kotsioris, and Anna-Maria Meister, Radical Pedagogies assesses the experimental nature of post-World War II architectural education. 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.

This article originally appeared in Metropolis.

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