© Coral Mula; Buildings Without Architects; 2010

Buildings “designed and built by professional architects and builders constitute only a small part of the world’s built infrastructure,” writes John May in the introduction to his book, Buildings Without Architects. The rest? That’s vernacular design: the houses, barns, and other structures erected the world over by people who never studied Vitruvius but instead build from a deep and abiding understanding of what works best for them and for their environs. Structured roughly by typology, May’s book offers brief descriptions of the Toda hut (shown), found in southern India, and 60 other examples of true contextualism. Best of all are the building drawings by Coral Mula, which manage to be both charming and informative.
$22.50; Rizzoli