The Eyes of the Skin

by Juhani Pallasmaa

I was first introduced to this book in my first year of architecture school, and it kind of blew my mind. Our culture fixates on the eyes and neglects other important haptic ways of experiencing the world, like touch, smell, or sound. This beautifully written, poetic book shows us how our senses help us navigate our world and how we can think about designing for the senses.

I made a short video about some of the concepts discussed in the book. You can watch it here.

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by Italo Calvino

This book is a one of a kind. It’s hard to describe a plot or categorize it into a genre, but and maybe instead of putting it into words, it just needs to be felt. The book is framed as a conversation between Kublai Khan (Mongol emperor) and Marco Polo (Venetian explorer), who is taken prisoner and ordered to tell stories of the cities he’s visited. The parables are surreal and depict 55 imaginary cities, which are all in some way or another, meditations on culture, time, memory, death, language, and the human experience. It’s a beautiful book, a real treat, like a journey into a lucid dream.

Unfortunately the book is a little hard to order online, so I would recommend checking your local bookstore or library.



by Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG is the master of communication. Not only do they push the boundaries with their architectural concepts, but their communication style always goes above and beyond, to deliver the message powerfully and clearly, and is worth observing for that simple fact. Fun and easy read, written like a comic book.

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How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built

by Stewart Brand

This book describes the evolution of buildings and how they adapt to changing environments over time. I like this book for many reasons. It talks about the aspects of architecture that are out of our control. It talks about the nature of people and the nature of creativity. There’s a lot we can learn from these un-planned conditions and it makes me question the role of architects.

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In Praise of Shadows

by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki

A short, simple and beautiful read, on the origin of Japanese aesthetics and the idea of wabi-sabi. It’s also only $10!

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by Peter Zumthor

I think this is a book everyone should read, whether they’re in architecture or not. It’s a short, easy read (no architectural jargon) and I borrowed the book from the school library. I only read it for a brief time, but the words really stuck with me. He talks about the “quality” of architecture from his point of view, and he makes you think about sounds, memories, smells, and all the quiet things that impact architecture.

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