20th Century and Contemporary, Author Interviews, Blogs, Books, Design

Reading Architects, Designers, and Their Books

You don’t have to be a designer or an architect to be interested in what they’re reading. Many of the things they like are the kinds of things everybody reads. They are people, too, after all, though it might seem daunting to approach the libraries of those who have envisioned the beauty that surrounds us in buildings, interior spaces, graphic media, and fashion. What do someone’s books say about the mind that they nourish?

Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books, edited by Jo Steffens and published in association with Urban Center Books, takes a tour through the libraries of leading architects—Stan Allen, Henry Cobb, Liz Diller & Ric Scofidio, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, Toshiko Mori, Michael Sorkin, Bernard Tschumi, and Todd Williams & Billie Tsien—with photographs of their shelves au natural (though it’s unsurprising how exquisite their collections are) and featuring each architect’s list of top ten influential titles from architectural history to fiction, and advice for further reading for any lover of architecture.

There’s also a new site, Designers & Books, that connects designers of all trades and readers with each other, creating an online community of reading lists and recommendations from the world of design. You can see what others in the design world are reading and add new books to your own reading list for further sharing.

Every Tuesday, a new list is published; today, landscape architect and urban designer Diana Balmori, author of A Landscape Manifesto, has her list of books to share. Browsing the site reveals several other YUP authors like Art Institute of Chicago chair Zoë Ryan, New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger, and graphic designer Jessica Helfand. Of course, YUP has quite the list of design books, so don’t be surprised or stray too far if you see something familiar from our own library.

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