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Books Worth Reading

Your life can be enriched by fine books on your journey with architecture, and Daniel recommends the following to you for study:

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HOME: A HISTORY OF AN IDEA

By Rybczynski, Witold

Review: “Rybczynski’s elegant prose makes “Home: A Short History” a perfect fireside companion — not least because he’ll make you think about why you positioned your most comfy chair beside the fireplace, how your nice halogen reading light has transformed your evening hours, and whether you’d ever have even been permitted to sit down at the court of a French king… Tom Wolfe’s “From Bauhaus to Our House” is a savage indictment of modern architecture, Rybczynski’s book is no less disappointing but even more careful to show how far back in history architects went astray from the guiding principle of ‘how to keep humans comfortable.’- L.J. Cameron

THE OLD WAY OF SEEING: HOW ARCHITECTURE LOST ITS MAGIC (AND HOW TO GET IT BACK)

By Hale, Jonathan

Review: “In a compelling manifesto that addresses the puzzlement of why new buildings are so often ugly compared to those of earlier eras, Hale, a Boston architect and critic, argues that until around 1830 virtually every building was designed as a composition of interrelated elements in accordance with an age-old tradition of harmony, geometry and adaptation of natural forms.”- Publishers Weekly

SACRED GEOMETRY: PHILOSOPHY AND PRACTICE

By Lawlor, Robert

Review: “This 112 page workbook explores sacred geometry using illustrations from science and art, such as Islamic tiles, atomic structure, architectural proportions and fine art. Nine workbooks within 10 chapters lead one through geometric constructions using only a pencil, compass, straight-edge and graph paper. Includes the Vesica Piscis, Golden Section, Squaring the Circle, Geometry and Music, the Platonic Solids and more. Interspersed with philosophy about the meanings and symbolism of sacred geometry.” – MzTyree

ARCHITECTURE IN THE AGE OF REASON: BAROQUE AND POST-BAROQUE IN ENGLAND, ITALY, FRANCE 

By Kaufmann, Emil

Review: “By presenting modern problems in terms of buildings of a different age, Mr. Kaufmann has done an invaluable service to contemporary architecture.” – Journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

THE TEN BOOKS OF ARCHITECTURE

By Vitruvius, trans. Morris Hicky Morgan

Description: This is an invaluable architecture book written by an obscure Roman architect, during the classical period. It strongly influences many of the greatest minds of the Renaissance. The historical significance of the book would make it worth reading by anyone interested in architecture.

THE FOUR BOOKS OF ARCHITECTURE

By Palladio, Andrea, trans. Isaac Ware

Review: Exemplary reprint of l6th-century classic. Covers classical architectural remains, Renaissance revivals, classical orders, etc. 1738 Ware English edition. “…A new and splendid edition of what has probably been the most influential book published in the history of architecture since its first appearance in 1570.” – Art in America

THE ARCHITECTURE OF HUMANISM: A STUDY OF THE HISTORY OF TASTE

By Scott, Geoffrey

Review: “A classic text in architectural and art historical theory. Reissued in trade format with a new introduction, The Architecture of Humanism offers a brilliant analysis of the theories and ideas behind much of nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture. It discusses the classical tradition as reflected in the architecture of Renaissance and Baroque Italy and the role given the human body in that tradition. It is recommended reading for all architecture students, and essential for those interested in the revival of classical architecture.” – C.W. Westfall

SPLENDORS OF ISLAM: ARCHITECTURE, DECORATION AND DESIGN

By Clevenot, Dominique and Gerard DeGeorge

Review: “This magnificent book is the key to understanding one of the world’s most important architectural traditions, one that spawned major masterpieces throughout the near east, and particularly in Persia, India, Turkey, North Africa, Southern Russia, and Spain. As human representation is forbidden in Islamic religious monuments, design and ornamentation reach unparalleled heights of expression through mosaics, stucco, brick, wood, and ceramic.” – Library Journal

THE GOLDEN CITY: A PICTORIAL ARGUMENT IN THE CONTROVERSY OVER CLASSICAL VS. MODERN FASHION IN AMERICAN ARCHITECTURE AND OTHER ARTS

By Reed, Henry Hope

Review: “As I read The Golden City…it was like finding a long sought friend or mentor.” – Jacqueline Onassis

ARCHITECTURAL PRINCIPLES IN THE AGE OF HUMANISM

By Wittkower, Rudolf

Review: “Professor Wittkower’s studies of humanist architecture are masterpieces of scholarship.” – Sir Kenneth Clark, Architectural Review

ARTISTS OF THE RENAISSANCE

By Vasari, Giorgio, trans. George Bull

Description: These biographies of the great Quattro cento artists have long been considered among the most important of contemporary sources on Italian Renaissance art. Vasari, who invented the term “Renaissance,” was the first to outline the influential theory of Renaissance art that traces a progression through Giotto, Brunelleschi, and finally the titanic figures of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Raphael.

WALKING ON WATER: REFLECTIONS ON FAITH AND ART

By L’Engle, Madeleine

Review: “She writes with an earthy rhythm that not only reveals the mysteries of our artistic natures, but also qualifies all along the way her inimitable wise-woman philosophies. L’Engle’s writing is God’s gift to a generation who needs to sit on a stump and lend an ear to what the right brain is saying to the left and to what the soul is saying to the heart.” – Patricia Hickman