As architects and designers we reference a lot of books, some are quite transient and leave just as quickly as they arrive, others stay on our desks and on our shelves. The BUILD Book Report aims to share our favorites, some of them are brand-new and others have been around long enough to pass the test of time.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, The Nature of Circumstance, Rizzoli, $95.00
There is a certain caliber of book that the internet will never be able to replace. The latest book on BCJ has been masterfully designed by Pablo Mandel of Circular Studio and published by ORO Editions. Wandering through this book is a gratifying experience – it exemplifies both how architecture should be designed and how the text should communicate built-work and ideas. At 400 + pages, the book is filled with drop-dead gorgeous images, each shot with a clarity that teaches about the mechanics of architecture. A masterful, inspiring book; it has become an immediate favorite of ours.

Rem Koolhaas, A Kind of Architect a film by Markus Heidingsfelder and Min Tesch $29.95
As Koolhaas has climbed to the rank of starchitect, most of us have become familiar with his personality only filtered through his buildings and drawings. The documentary does a fascinating job at explaining his character directly and provides a personal look into his prolific and complicated mind. The film is resourceful in presenting early footage of Koolhaas’ foray into film; also informative are the interviews from well respected individuals including Cecil Balmond, Richard Meier and Joshua Ramus. You can find a trailer of the film here.

Education of an Architect, Rizzoli, $50.00
Originally printed in 1988 this book is the quintessential text on what it means to study and think design in the academic world. Created by the Cooper Union School of Architecture, the book documents student projects from 1972 to 1985 and most design schools today are still trying to catch up with the caliber of ideas and craft captured on its pages. Under the direction of one of the great deans of the century, John Hejduk led this group of students to become the who’s who of the present day New York architecture scene. The student with this book in their arsenal of design tools will be miles ahead in studio.

Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts by Derek Diedricksen, Tiny Yellow House Press, $18.95
We’re big fans of the craft of drawing and, in our opinion, good architects sketch. Diedricksen’s book is a journal of sorts – it reminds us of taking a sneak peek into the sketchbook of the best students back in architecture studio. Every page is full of passion; every page is efficiently covered from top to bottom, as if it’s the last scrap of paper in town. It’s a good lesson for students starting out in design and it’s a good reminder for architects on the thought-provoking powers of the sketch book.

The Cedar Book – 3rd Edition edited by Jim Taggart, designed by Marie-Nicole Manseau, Janam Publishing Inc.
This gorgeous little book focuses on the use of Western Red Cedar and covers a diverse set of projects from all over the world. From a sleek modern cottage in Indiana to a multi-family development in the Netherlands, the projects are well photographed and include working details. Overall the book is a handy and inspiring little guide.

Peter Rice, An Engineer Imagines, Ellipsis London, $29.00
Peter Rice was one of the greatest structural engineers to ever live and this book does justice to the poetics and intelligence of his work. He collaborated with some of the most renowned architects in the world including Renzo Piano, Norman Foster and Jorn Utzon. His highly involved interactions with important architecture led Rice to develop the role of  engineer as design team member, a movement that has gained considerable momentum since. In addition to covering some extraordinary design, the book speaks to the nature of exceptional collaboration.

Scandinavian Design by Charlotte & Peter Fiell, Taschen, $50.00
It’s no mystery that the Scandinavians make the rest of us look like we’re building with tinker-toys and this book thoroughly documents why. Page after page of drop-dead gorgeous industrial design, the text covers everything about the home from utensils to textiles. It’s an important book for Americans right now as Scandinavians design the household necessities in such a timeless manner that the objects are handed down from one generation to the next.

Louis I Kahn by Robert McCarter, Phaidon, $70.00
By the time that most of us finish up our architecture degrees it’s not unusual to find that we’re dragging around hundreds of pounds of books –many of which are on the same handful of famous architects. It’s always been a good feeling to get rid of the dozen or so books on <insert famous deceased architect here> and purchase their comprehensive life’s work in hardback version.  This book is all that – filled with gorgeous color photos and more text than you’ll ever find time to read, it’s a perfect resource and allows you to tidy up the bookshelf a bit.

As always – let us know about your favorites.
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