Carrère & Hastings Architects

By Mark Alan Hewitt, Kate Lemos, William Morrison, and Charles D. Warren; foreword by Allan Greenberg; preface by Paul LeClerc

A two-volume, boxed set encapsulates the work of Carrère & Hastings, designers of the New York Public Library, the Frick Collection, and the original House and Senate office buildings. Acanthus Press, New York; $175

Design for Ecological Democracy

By Randolph T. Hester

A veteran planner, Hester suggests a new approach to urban design, combining environmental and social responsibility. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.; $39.95

Details in Contemporary Architecture

Edited by Christine Killory and René Davids

The first in a series of books revealing technical secrets of architects and firms such as David Chipperfield, Herzog and de Meuron, Morphosis, and SHoP. Princeton Architectural Press, New York; $55

Ian McHarg: Dwelling in Nature: Conversations With Students

Edited by Lynn Margulis, James Corner, and Brian Holt Hawthorne

A 1970 lecture by the legendary landscape designer, published for the first time as part of a “conversations with students” series. Princeton Architectural Press, New York; $19.95

Frank Lloyd Wright: Prairie Houses

By Allan Weintraub; text by Alan Hess with Kathryn Smith

A photo-driven presentation of more than 70 Prairie Style houses by the master of masters. Rizzoli, New York; $50

The Perfect $100,000 House: A Trip Across America and Back in Pursuit of a Place to Call Home

By Karrie Jacobs

The former editor of Dwell asks a very good question: Why does an average subdivision house cost $150,000 and a modernist house by an architect half a million?

Viking, New York; $25.95

The Queen Anne House: America's Victorian Vernacular

By Janet W. Foster; photographs by Radek Kurzaj

More than 200 photographs of 19th century Queen Anne houses. Think gabled roofs, corbelled chimneys, balconies, cut-stone foundations, and lots and lots of porches.

Harry N. Abrams, New York; $50

Chairs: A History
  • Chairs: A History
By Florence de Dampierre
    Chairs: A History By Florence de Dampierre
  • Chairs: A History
By Florence de Dampierre
    Chairs: A History By Florence de Dampierre

By Florence de Dampierre

A lavishly illustrated study of the essential piece of furniture, as it defines space and reflects culture around the world. Dampierre presents her subject with the kind of gravitas typically reserved for fine art, moving in stately chronological order, a chair or two per page, from ancient Egypt to the present day. Not surprisingly, her sources include such rarified institutions as the Vatican, the Louvre, and the Getty. Chairs: A History is a useful reference tool; it also makes for pleasant and lively browsing. Dampierre, a design historian, knows her subject, and she's not afraid to approach it with a little humor. Witness the electric chair on page 10. Harry N. Abrams, New York; $65

New York 2000: Architecture and Urbanism From the Bicentennial to the Millennium
  • New York 2000: Architecture and Urbanism From the Bicentennial to the Millennium
    New York 2000: Architecture and Urbanism From the Bicentennial to the Millennium

By Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove

At 1,520 pages, Stern & Co.'s latest architectural history of New York is exhaustive, to say the least. It encompasses the big stories of Manhattan's recent past, including the development of Battery Park City and redevelopment of Times Square, while making room for quieter accomplishments in the outer boroughs. The narrative consistently portrays New York's built environment in the light of forces that shape it, such as zoning and real estate. Stern has already shown us New York circa 1880, 1900, 1930, and 1960, in as many volumes.

The unsung heroes of this massive undertaking are his collaborating researchers, writers, and historians, a rotating cast of talent that includes Fishman and Tilove, and also Gregory Gilmartin, John Massengale, and Thomas Mellins. The Monacelli Press, New York; $100