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  • Kathryn Van Dinh

Read Like an Architect

To learn architecture, everyone tells you to draw and sketch. But reading is an equally powerful tool in this visual and graphic industry. Yes, most of the reading relates to theories and practices or has commentary on this building or that. Yes, it can be dense. Yes, you will need coffee. But more often than not, you will find yourself enjoying the writing, rather than counting the pages till the end. The reading can be challenging at times but the more you study, think, and ponder the information, the more you will be inspired to design. Here at MEL/ARCH, we are lucky to have a full library of books for our team. We have reference and code books, architect highlights, history, theory, styles, and of course, the architectural classics. The list below is our recommended reading list for those who are starting to get interested and for those well versed. Happy Reading!


Toward a New Architecture - Le Corbusier

Here is one of the staples of an architect’s library. Everyone in this field will know this book. This is a series of essays on modern architecture from the famous architect. This is a critical book in the theory and practice of architecture. The essays look at abstract elements such as mass, surface, and plan (chapter 1), and then precedes to discussions on Rome, massed produced housing, etc. This is the book that shaped, and is still actively shaping, minds in architecture.


Architecture: Form, Space, & Order - Francis D. K. Ching

This is an easy and enjoyable book of architecture. It gives a strong and solid foundation for architectural knowledge. It explains in words and through illustrations the fundamental concepts of architecture. The illustrations especially will be incredibly helpful and beautifully done. Highly recommended for the young architect in your life.


PS: This is just one book of his! If you already have a good grip of architectural basics, you can check out his other books tackling construction, codes, graphics, drawing, and more.



Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture - Ulrich Conrads

Sometimes you can get lost hearing people talk about other people’s ideas. You’re getting information through the grapevine, so core ideas are edited, summarized, often simplified to a point that is confusing or incomplete. With this book, you can hear the beliefs from the architects themselves. This is a collection of manifestoes from all the famous architects. You get a chance to understand their thinking by directly looking at their thoughts. It covers a wide range of ideas in brief sections, just a few pages for each architect. A great book when you don’t have a lot of time on your hand. You can read one selection right before bed or when you have a moment to sit down.



We hope you added a book or two to your To-Be-Read pile. While you are looking at your bookshelves check and see if you have any duplicates or books you would like to donate! The MEL/ARCH office is a donation site for the Latino's in Architecture book drive, "From An Architect's Bookshelf." We will be collecting books and gently used drafting supplies until August 8th. We are excited to see y'all stop by!


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