Best of Books

Just in time for some summer reading, these fascinating new titles will help expand your design library.

"American Art Museum Architecture" by Eric M. Wolf
Book Blog 1

Spend a sunny afternoon in all your favorite museums in this book. Wolf explores the past and future of iconic American art museums, examining the Frick Collection, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City; the Menil Collection in Houston; the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe; and the Art Institute of Chicago. These museums are a basis for Wolf's exploration of the evolution of art museums with the progression to contemporary and modern works. He looks at the aesthetic, the practical, the innovative, and the functional of each museum's conception, and the eventual revisions to encompass changing forms of art. The text is enhanced with extensive archival plans, documents, and photographs.

"Interior Design Practice" edited by Cindy Coleman
Book Blog 2

It's better than summer school; Coleman creates a valuable resource for design professionals with this practical, new book. “Interior Design Practice” unites many notable figures in the design industry and offers fellow designers in-depth tools and insider knowledge on all aspects of the industry. Its thorough chapters cover such topics as pre-design, design development, contract administration, marketing, financial management, and client relations. The book looks to aid design professionals, academics, and students interested in design. You could call this “Interior Design 101.”

"Key Buildings of the 20th Century, Second Edition" by Richard Weston
Book Blog 3

Author Richard Weston updates his 2004 masterpiece with new buildings, reflecting the architecture of the early 21st century, and with new architects, who have gained prominence in recent years. The over 100 structures are illustrated with photographs and accurate scale plans showing typical floors, elevations, sections, and site plans. These drawings were specially commissioned for the book. Featured architects include Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, and Frank Gehry. The detailed text explains the significance of each structure and draws common themes by demonstrating connections between various buildings. A free CD-ROM with digital files of all illustrations is included. How's that for a summer treat?

"Design through Dialogue: A Guide for Clients and Architects" by Karen A. Franck and Teresa von Sommaruga Howard
Book Blog 4

This thoughtful work focuses on an unique aspect of the design industry: the relationship and workings between architect and client. The word "dialogue" appears often in its pages, which offer practical solutions and personal stories for healthy designer-client interaction. Illustrations accompany the many real-life anecdotes from designers worldwide. This thorough work incorporates studies in psychology and group dynamics. The pages are dotted with well-placed quotes on design and human interactions. Chapters include such topics as In Dialogue; Relating; Talking; and Exploring. With its focus on relationships, this book is just right for some summer love.

"Frederick Law Olmsted: Essential Texts" edited by Robert Twombly
Book Blog 5

Head outdoors with this collection of writings from one of America's best-loved landscape architects. Read up on Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) in one of the public spaces he designed. (You can find locations in 25 states and three Canadian provinces!) This is the man responsible for Central Park and Prospect Park in New York City; Mount Royal Park in Montreal; the Belle Isle Park in Detroit; the Grand Necklace of Parks in Milwaukee; the Cherokee Park and entire parks system in Louisville, Ky.; and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. Olmsted also designed many iconic American campuses, including Yale University, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago. It is difficult to over-estimate his impact on the physical structure of our country's outdoor spaces. With this definitive new anthology, readers can delve into Olmsted's personal thoughts on cities, urban parks, residential sites, and his theory of landscape architecture. These timeless writings have meaning for Olmsted's era and our own.

"Light Color Sound: Sensory Effects in Contemporary Architecture" by Alejandro Bahamón and Ana María Álvarez
Book Blog 6

Bring on the summer sunshine with this spectacular book that showcases 30 contemporary projects worldwide. The authors focus on light, color, and sound as creating great sensory impact and generating visitor interaction in public spaces. The 236 color photographs and plans highlight structures like the 42nd Street Studio and The Reece School in New York; Low Rez/Hi Fi at 1110 Vermont Avenue in Washington, D.C.; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. Each of the buildings in the book welcomes visitor reactions with innovative use of light, color, and sound in the design. The authors discuss the conceptual, technical, and aesthetic aspects of these bedazzling works.

–Lillian Civantos

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