As summer turns to fall, the ARCHITECT editorial team brings you a collection of recently released titles that will delight the eyes and inspire the mind. Here, find 17 reads that touch the realms of architecture, design, and the built environment, from an essay collection about and by Black designers to the potential of cross-laminated timber and a documentation of empty New York storefronts.
Queer Spaces: An Atlas of LGBTQIA+ Places and Stories Edited by Adam Nathaniel Furman and Joshua Mardell; Designed by Alex Synge; RIBA Publishing, 240 pages, $54.95
Divided into three sections—domestic, communal, and public—Queer Spaces is an intimate and vibrant examination of how LGBTQIA+ communities have carved out their own pockets in the built environment. As the editors point out, making and taking space is often a life-giving and live-saving endeavor. Through essays, photography, illustrations, and design sketches, the book showcases these safe and inventive spaces, from the palaces of Ludwig II in Bavaria and the Palladium night club in New York to the last carriage of a metro train in Mexico City.
The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection Edited by Anne H. Berry, Kareem Collie, Penina Acayo Laker, Lesley-Ann Noel, Jennifer Rittner, Kelly Walters; Designed by Renald Louissaint; Allworth Press, 600 pages, $19.99
Started after the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 and published nearly two years later, this essay collection delves into the research, practice, and stories of Black designers and creatives. Each piece, however, also serves as a call to action, outlining how practitioners can make systemic changes to design research and education.
Vacant Spaces NY By Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith; Designed by Studio Lin and MOS Architects; Actar Publishers, 608 pages, $59.95
What to do with New York’s empty storefronts? Hilary Sample, FAIA, and Michael Meredith, AIA—co-founders of the local firm MOS—tackle the question with vigor, painstakingly documenting long-disused storefronts and proposing a suite of possible solutions aimed at enhancing the city’s community and urban fabric.
A House for the Struggle: The Black Press and the Built Environment in Chicago By E. James West; Designed by Becca L. Alexander; University of Illinois Press, 296 pages, $24.95
In the 20th century, Chicago was the heart of the Black media industry. When these publications established homes in existing buildings or built new ones, they themselves were cemented as institutions that could shape the political landscape and act as a beacon of racial uplift. Author E. James West narrates the stories of these buildings, like that of Ebony (the Johnson Publishing offices, “a poem of marble and glass”), drawing attention to their role as hubs for activism, art, and culture.
Blank: Speculations on CLT Edited by Jennifer Bonner and Hanif Kara; Designed by Neil Donnelly Studio; Applied Research & Design, 240 pages, $49.95
The editors of Blank discuss the untapped potential of using cross-laminated timber and its material unit, the CLT blank, in architecture today. Bringing together texts and works from a wide range of theorists and practitioners (Sam Jacob and Nader Tehrani, to name two) who make CLT central to their research and practice, this book showcases how CLT applies to sustainability and materiality and how it can be used in conceptual and imaginative ways.
Never Get Their Coffee: Empowering Fearless Leadership By Lakisha Ann Woods; Leaders Press, 160 pages, $16.95
The American Institute of Architects’s executive VP and CEO Lakisha Woods weaves together compelling research, statistics, and first-person accounts about the role of female leadership in the workplace today. She offers strategies (communicate, coordinate, and compromise) to empower female leaders to grab their seat at the table and, above all, to stop apologizing.
Iro: The Essence of Color in Japanese Design By Rossella Menegazzo; Designed by Julia Hasting; Phaidon, 288 pages, $79.95
This beautifully bound volume explores 200 traditional Japanese colors (iro) through objects ranging from modern cutlery to rarified antiques. The carefully curated selection allows for a deeper appreciation of Japanese tradition and design—as well as providing a true feast for the eyes.
The Women Who Changed Architecture Edited by Jan Cigliano Hartman; Designed by Natalie Snodgrass; Princeton Architectural Press, 336 pages, $50.00
An essential compendium of influential women designers from the late 19th century to today, The Women Who Changed Architecture profiles 122 architects including Marion Mahony Griffin, Ethel Baily Furman, Maya Lin, and Deborah Berke, FAIA—the 2022 AIA Topaz Award winner. Accompanied by beautiful photos, this collection of biographies showcases the industrious and unique paths each woman forged to master their craft, even when credit was often given to their male partners or bosses.
Harvard Design Magazine 49: Publics Guest edited by Anita Berrizbeitia and Diane E. Davis; Designed by Alexis Mark; Harvard Graduate School of Design, 160 pages, $49.00
This issue explores how public spaces operate in a fragmented social and political environment, both in the U.S. and abroad. By investigating design theories and outcomes, the publication probes questions about who holds the power to define public spaces and their use.
Design Emergency: Building a Better Future By Alice Rawsthorn and Paola Antonelli; Designed by Studio Frith; Phaidon, 320 pages, $29.95
Focused on technology, society, communication, and ecology, this collection of writings and interviews highlights design as a catalyst for positive change. Beyond identifying issues—from data bias to efforts to end homelessness—Design Emergency posits solutions.
Stalin’s Architect: Power and Survival in Moscow By Deyan Sudjic; The MIT Press, 320 pages, $39.95
Touted as the first major book on architect Boris Iofan, Stalin’s Architect is a deep dive into the subject’s life and work, from a childhood in Odessa (now Ukraine’s third most populous city), his formative years studying Neoclassical architecture and working abroad in Rome, and his return to a post-Lenin Russia where he became the de facto Soviet architect, creating a new national style. The House on the Embankment in Moscow, a “megastructure” with more than 500 apartments for the Soviet elite, is Iofan’s most iconic project, and perhaps the most unsettling—the book outlines how upwards of 800 of its residents were arrested by Stalin’s secret police, and more than 300 were executed. More than anything, this book examines, with nuance, the compromise Iofan made to be the architect of a dictator.
Half-Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Future from Extinction, Climate Change, and Pandemics By Troy Vettese and Drew Pendergrass. Design by Chantal Jahchan. Verso, 227 pages, $24.95.
A rollicking ride through our present-day environmental crisis and potentially dystopian future caused by climate disaster, Half-Earth Socialism outlines how we could avoid these fates. Using biologist E. O. Wilson’s concept of “Half-Earth”—the rewilding of half the planet—as a jumping-off point, the authors propose a new eco-socialism, with tenets including a rapid transition to renewable energy, global veganism, and worldwide socialist planning. The introduction is itself reason to pick up the book, reading like a god’s eye view novel of human and corporate folly in the vein of Kurt Vonnegut’s Galápagos. The book is accompanied by a “half-earth socialist planning game” available to play at half.earth.
Bauhaus: A Graphic Novel By Valentina Grande and Sergio Varbella; Designed by Studio RAM; Prestel, 128 pages, $24.95.
Publishers, if you’re listening, please deliver more of the architecture graphic novel, a perfect medium to explore the aesthetics and theories of the practice. Here, the main character of the novel is the idea of Bauhaus itself. Using a school of design as a sentient protagonist can be confusing at times, but that’s all countered by the illustrations capturing the movement and the machinations of founding father, architect Walter Gropius, and his crew in the post-WWI Weimar Republic.
Together By Design: The Art and Architecture of Communal Living By Wiliiam Richards; Designed by Paula Baver and Paul Wagner; Princeton Architectural Press, 159 pages; $24.95.
Imagine Buildings Floating Like Clouds: Thoughts and Visions of Contemporary Architecture from 101 Key Creatives By Vladimir Belogolovsky ; The Images Publishing Group, 255 pages, $35.00
Design after Capitalism by Matthew Wizinsky. MIT Press, 344 pages, $29.95
Santa Fe Modern: Contemporary Design in the High Desert By Helen Thompson; photographs by Casey Dunn; Monacelli, 240 pages; $50.
Further Reading On Books:
Blaine Brownell reviews The Porch: Meditations on the Edge of Nature, exploring how the building feature is on the frontlines of climate change.
Q+A: Dig It! Co-Author Bjarne Mastenbroek on why architects should build with the earth
Q+A: Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us, on a Better American and how architects and designers can improve the public good, from infrastructure to housing.
Aaron Betsky on the 2022 autobiography Nigel Coates by the narrator of English punk and queer architecture.