This Year, Give the Gift of Architecture

The myth of the disappearing book is greatly exaggerated, judging from this reviewer’s weekly mailbox intake. And as the holidays rapidly approach, it’s important to remember that they make excellent gifts. They can be lifetime fixtures on a bookshelf. They can be personalized and autographed. They can also be visual treats, and no small source of design inspiration.

So here are a few that A+A finds gift-worthy for 2018:

There’s “Dream of Venice in Black and White,” JoAnn Locktov’s third book in as many years about her favorite city. She invited more than 50 photographers from 10 countries to document the city and create a visual legacy of elegant realism in light and shadow. And the introduction is by acclaimed Italian author Tiziano Scarpa, who contributes a reflection of his life as a Venetian, experiencing “perpetual change.” For more, go here.

There’s Drawing Architecture” by Helen Thomas, a book of visually paired images that draw connections and contrasts between architecture from different times, styles and places. Published by Phaidon, the 320-page book features drawings from Michelangelo to Frank Gehry, Louise Bourgeois to Tadao Ando, B.V. Doshi to Zaha Hadid, and Grafton to Luis Barragán, and demonstrates the variety and beauty of architectural drawings. For more, go here.

Then there’s “Cocktails and Conversations,” a book that covers 40 sessions between journalists and architects, sponsored by AIANY. It’s been happening every other month for six years now – with architects like Jeanne Gang, David Adjaye, Frank Harmon and the late Hugh Hardy, plus journalists like Justin Davidson, William Menking and Andrew Sorkin. For more, go here.

And there’s “Modern Hollywood,” a book that’s not celebrity-obsessed, but that addresses the contemporary houses the stars lived in. “They’re all modern, but it also shows how wide a range modern architecture is,” says Alan Hess, the architect who co-authored the book with Michael Stern. “There’s everything from organic Frank Lloyd Wright, to very severe Richard Neutra, to warm and welcoming, homey architecture.” For more, go here.

Last but not least, there’s a favorite from 2015 called “Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand,” by the editor and publisher of this web site. It features interviews with 26 architects – with drawings and photographs of the evolution of one of their projects, start to finish. Among them: Peter Bohlin, Jim Cutler, Tom Kundig, Frank Harmon and the late Michael Graves. For more, go here.

At the end of each post from A+A is a link to order the book of your choice.

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