Laura Dushkee’s Little Book of Quotes

People / Products / October 11, 2012

For 10 years, librarian Laura Dushkes has been salting away quotable quotes culled from the minds of the world’s great architects.

It comes naturally to her.  She’s been collecting quotation books since her parents gave her a copy of Laurence Peter’s “Peter’s Quotations” in 1977.

“I love them,” she says.  “Sometimes I just sit on the sofa and read quotations.”

At NBBJ Architects, where she manages a 2,000-voume library, she’s also responsible for chasing down books and magazines for members of the firm scattered around the globe, from Seattle to Shanghai.

“They all look at the pictures, but I’m text-oriented,” she says.  “Between being attracted to words and having this treasure trove of books, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that I’d do this.”

She’s talking about her own book of quotations.  A few years back she began to store architects’ thoughts on design in her own data base, grouping them by issues like clients, siting, originality and (surprise!) ego.

Before long, she had 400 thoughtful observations from some very well-known designers.

“The biggest challenge was functional,” she says.  “I had to source them correctly – if I couldn’t verify it, I didn’t use it.”

Then came the tasks of winnowing and matching up the right quotes, side by side.  “Being an interesting quote wasn’t enough,” she says.  “It had to speak to the opposite page – I had to find a really good mate for it.”

The result is “The Architect Says,” a nifty little (160-page) book that covers everyone from Leonardo da Vinci to Jeanne Gang – and a slew of smart ones in between.

It’s available from Princeton Architectural Press at

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

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1 Comment

on October 11, 2012

Thank you so much for posting about this little gem, I just ordered it.

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