This Season, Give the Gift of Many Architecture Books

2023 offered up a kaleidoscope of quality books on architecture, art and design – and A+A was fortunate enough to review a bunch of them – from Shingle Style to Modern, from Chicago to Morocco and from Kamin to Kligerman. For the 2023 holiday season then, we suggest you select more than one of these tomes for the design aficionado on your list – for a full range of visual and spatial delights. So go ahead and splurge on them – it’s good for the economy:

First, there’s Blair Kamin, for 30 years the architecture critic – and Pulitzer Prize winner – at the Chicago Tribune, who teamed up with Lee Bey, his former rival at the Sun-Times, to publish “Who Is the City For? Architecture, Equity and the Public Realm in Chicago.” It’s a collection of 55 Kamin essays from the past decade, with outstanding photographs by Bey. And yes, it came out in late 2022, but it’s been a big seller all through 2023 too.

Then there’s “Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s Villa Retreat” by Travis McDonald, who’s spent the last 34 years of his historic preservation career restoring this Neo-Palladian villa in Bedford County, Virginia. This new book on the process of discovery and recreation of Jefferson’s retreat will appeal to preservationists, historians and architects alike.

Catherine Scotto is the author of a new book from Prestel and Rizzoli called “Morocco: Destination of Style, Elegance and Design.” She’s the former editor-in-chief at Elle Décoration, and is now freelancing for the press and publishing. Her lush new volume looks at talented young Moroccan designers and creators who work hard to preserve artisanship and creation in their country. 

John Ike’s new book, Nine Houses/Nine Stories”  is at once a chronicle of a gifted architect’s work in a number of styles – and a salute to the firm where he worked for 33 years. “Nine Houses/Nine Stories” looks at recent architecture, coast to coast, by Ike Kligerman Barkley. The firm split up, amicably, into three entities last year. In his introductionIke notes that some of the houses here were designed in his studio; others, under the watchful eyes of his partners. “I don’t have a formula,” he says. “I love renovations. I love modernism. I love materiality. And then I work with whatever the owner has on the wish list.”

Tom Kligerman’s self-described “New American” architecture is being chronicled in a new book from The Monacelli Press. “Shingle and Stone: Thomas Kligerman Houses” covers nine of his homes designed since 1992. They’re as small as a tiny guest house – and as big as any client from the Lone Star State could want. And they’re located coast to coast, from the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard to Canada, Texas and Seattle.

Santa Fe may be known as the Greenwich Village of the American West, but it’s also a prime spot to witness the evolution of Pueblo, Mexican/Spanish, and American design. That’s the prime thesis of a new book from Rizzoli, with photographs from Melba Levick and words from Ruben Mendoza, called “Casa Santa Fe: Design, Style, Arts and Tradition.” They’re both veterans of the architecture, art, and design publishing world. Levick’s a Los Angeles-based photographer with more than 60 books to her name. 

British interior designer Nina Campbell has earned legendary status, counting among her clients the Queen of Denmark, Rod Stewart, and Ringo Starr. Now she’s discovered the charms of Maine, created interiors for a home on the sound designed by New York architects Ferguson and Shamamian – and published a book about it called“A House in Maine.” It’s written by Country Life executive editor Giles Kime, with photography by interiors specialist Paul Raeside.

Architect Naomi Pollock her calling with writing and has published her newest book from Thames & Hudson, called “Japanese Houses Since 1945.” It covers the waterfront of Japanese single family homes, and is divided by decades, each featuring a selection of houses that were impactful in their time. “I thought that if I could take 100 of the most important houses built since 1945 to the present, then what would my lineup be?” she says.

Last but not least is A+A’s perennial favorite, “Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand.” It’s by the editor of this digital design magazine, and a book that New York’s Wendy Goodman called a “fantastic book that sheds light on the creative process of how architects envision and start to bring to life their buildings,” and adding that it’s a book that “every architecture student and lover should have.”