With the new year in full swing, you might finally have some time to catch up on the books you missed in the blur of holiday celebrations. From inquiries into the voices that dominate the design of America's cities to a detailed look at the shifting, 20th-century workplace, here are a dozen recent arrivals that caught our attention and merit yours as well.

courtesy Princeton Architectural Press

The Greening of America’s Building Codes: Promises and Paradoxes, by Aleksandra Jaeschke; Princeton Architectural Press; 240 pages, $29.95

In this deep dive, Aleksandra Jaeschke, an assistant professor at the The University of Texas at Austin and the 2019 Harvard GSD Wheelwright Prize winner, examines residential building codes in the United States to query how the everyday actions of architects and public officials promote and, in too many cases, hinder sustainable practices in building. In a recent review of the title, ARCHITECT columnist Blaine Brownell, FAIA, notes that "Jaeschke reveals how our current residential codes and sustainable design standards limit progress toward the attainment of environmental health, safety, and welfare at a planetary scale—and, therefore, must be fundamentally reconceived."

courtesy Actar Publishers

Residentialism: A Suburban Archipelago, by Lina Malfona; Actar Publishers; 230 pages, $44.95

Residentialism: A Suburban Archipelago documents Italian architect Lina Malfona's designs for a series of suburban homes outside of Rome. All built since 2010, these decidedly modern residences create a vibrant community that establish a new typology of private and public life in the landscape.

courtesy ORO Editions

Temples & Towns: The Form, Elements, and Principles of Planned Towns, by Michael Dennis; ORO Press; 504 pages, $50.00

In this long overdue extension of Michael Dennis’s 1986 book Court & Garden: From the French Hôtel to the City of Modern Architecture, the thoughtful architect and educator turns his attention to town planning. The copious illustrations alone are worth the price and render this a must-have for any architect or urban designer’s library.

courtesy Monacelli

Hamptons Modern: Contemporary Living on the East End, by David Sokol; Monacelli Press; 224 pages, $55.00

Once a region of potato farmers, New York’s Hamptons evolved from a site of serious art in the middle decades of the 20th century to a land of the wealthy (and their architects) in more recent decades. Come for the eye candy and stay for the explorations of site-sensitive building techniques.

courtesy UChicago Press

Who Is the City For? Architecture, Equity, and the Public Realm in Chicago, by Blair Kamin, with photography by Lee Bey; UChicago Press; 312 pages, $29.00

Chicago’s architectural Siskel and Ebert team up (Blair Kamin with text, Lee Bey with photos) to look at the America’s first city of architecture during the past decade. Much of the content is Kamin’s day-to-day commentary as the Chicago Tribune’s architecture critic, a post he occupied until 2021; the collection demonstrates the powerful perspective that Kamin and Bey bring to bear, reminding readers that all cities deserve the consideration of such insightful voices.

courtesy ORO Editions

Frank L. Wright and the Architects of Steinway Hall, by Stuart Cohen, FAIA; ORO Press; 300 pages, $35.00

This analysis of the famous and not-famous architects who shared office space in Chicago’s Steinway Hall in the late 1890s and early 1900s is a long-needed look at the collaborations that have often been attributed solely to Frank Lloyd Wright.


Listen: The Stages and Studios That Shaped American Music; photographs by Rhona Bitner, with a foreword by Iggy Pop; edited by Éric Reinhardt, text by Natalie Bell and Jon Hammer; Rizzoli; 272 pages, $65.00

Places for the performance of music have long been the provenance of architects, but Listen: The Stages and Studios That Shaped American Music shows the democratization of music in America in the last century. Photographer Rhona Bitner’s ode to the places where music has been made in the United States chronicles an amazing span of 395 venues—old, new, and in-between.

courtesy Taschen

The Office of Good Intentions: Human(s) Work, by Florian Idenburg, Int. Assoc. AIA, LeeAnn Suen, AIA, Iwan Baan; Taschen; 592 pages, $60.00

The Office of Good Intentions: Human(s) Work is a densely packed 592-page compendium of offices built since the mid-20th century. Marcel Breuer, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, and Louis Kahn are among the architects whose work is described, dissected and discussed with “earnest wonder and pure irony,” as the authors write. The episodic presentation allows for general browsing through fascinating design and ideological territories. As ARCHITECT columnist Aaron Betsky penned in a recent review, "Here you find some of the most valiant attempts ... to turn the office landscape into a place of beauty and even delight."

courtesy Danish Architectural Press

Peter Cook On Paper, by Peter Cook; Danish Architectural Press; 156 pages, $60.00

Lush and beautiful drawings—all captured, as the title suggests, on paper—display Archigram founder Peter Cook’s vivid and often provocative architectural imagination. They span his entire career, although all represent the very not-digital drawing inquiries of the ever-curious architect.

courtesy ORO Editions

Gesture and Response: 25 Buildings by William Pedersen of KPF Architects, by William Pedersen, FAIA; ORO Press; 585 pages, $60.00

Gesture and response illustrates the remarkable malleability of Modernism through 25 KPF projects built over a quarter century by William Pedersen, one of the firm’s founding partners.

courtesy Taschen

Piranesi: The Complete Etchings, by Luigi Ficacci; Taschen; 788 pages, $80.00

This coffee table tome collects all of Piranesi’s etchings in a single volume. These 700-plus pages reveal 18th-century Rome in all its glory: a must for every architectural library.

courtesy Rizzoli

The Queen’s Pictures: Masterpieces from the Royal Collection, by Anna Poznanskaya with a foreword by Tim Knox; Rizzoli; $125

The book’s arrival came just as the collection become the provenance of the new King, rendering its presentation as pure retrospection. Unlike most European countries, the British royal collection remains the property of the sovereign and is largely on view in the palaces and castles they call home. Here’s hoping the new head of state shares these striking pictures more widely.

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