8 Essential Books for Young Architects in 2019

Me as an architecture student:

- Loved buying gorgeous books about architecture and architects

- Left them to collect dust on my bookshelf (after having collected dust on my coffee table for a few months first)

- Walked around wishing I knew more about construction and the business side of architecture.

If you can relate to this, then list is for you! These are the books that I have since discovered, bought, and referred to many times over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy beautiful books full of inspiring architecture, and I’m getting better at reading them, but these 8 books are the meaty knowledge gap fillers that you have been craving.

Note: most links to these books are affiliate links – that means if you buy them, we receive a little thank you commission at no extra cost to you. It helps us do what we do!

1. Building Your Own Home by George Wilkie (available here)

"This complete guide to building your own home covers every step of the process ... Both George Wilkie and Stuart Arden are architects and academics."

Why we recommend:

  • A well rounded Australian residential construction resource - a great staple for architecture student.

  • Includes clear diagrams and details.

  • A best selling and generally respected source of information.

2. Metric Handbook: Planning and Design Data by Taylor and Francis Ltd (available here)

"The Metric Handbook is the major handbook of planning and design data for architects and architecture students. Covering basic design data for all the major building types it is the ideal starting point for any project. For each building type, the book gives the basic design requirements and all the principal dimensional data, and succinct guidance on how to use the information and what regulations the designer needs to be aware of."

Why we recommend:

  • Metric sizes for spaces in relation to people and vehicles.

  • Sizing and layout advice for various facilities/rooms.

  • Covers a wide range of building types/use - handy for building realistic briefs for University projects.

3. Architect + Entrepreneur by Eric Reinholdt (available here)

 “Part narrative, part business book; Architect + Entrepreneur is filled with contemporary, relevant, fresh tips and advice, from a seasoned professional architect building a new business. The guide advocates novel strategies and tools that merge entrepreneurship with the practice of architecture and interior design.“

Why we recommend:

  • A straightforward introduction to ‘the business of architecture’.

  • Covers key areas of starting and managing a business, specifically for architects.

  • Dispels the ‘starving artist’ attitude that is bred at University.

4. Architect + Entrepreneur Volume 2 by Eric Reinholdt (available here)

 “Should the practice of architecture be constrained to one set model: a singular creative process between architect and client? Practice is evolving; the current tired models serve only a select few – wealthy individuals, big corporations, and big government.”

Why we recommend:

  • An excellent introduction to alternate forms of income for architects.

  • Simple introductory instructions for building alternate forms of income.

  • Lessons on valuing architectural services and product.

5. Encyclopedia of Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture by Laurence King (available here)

 “This is a comprehensive sourcebook, containing newly commissioned scale drawings of every type of architectural detail taken from 100 of the best contemporary houses. Over 700 detailed drawings of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and staircases feature keys explaining construction techniques and materials used. Each drawing is cross referenced to other details from the same building.”

Why we recommend:

  • An excellent introduction to more complex architectural detailing for the detail thirsty student or graduate.

  • Details are cross referenced, enabling the reader to browse by project, or by detail type.

  • Uses work by respected architects to ensure high quality examples.

Note: Other books in this series cover details in timber, glass, and concrete architecture, and can also be found through the link above.

6. Your Home Manual by the Australian Government (available here)

"Your Home is your guide to building, buying or renovating a home. It shows how to create a comfortable home with low impact on the environment – economical to run, healthier to live in and adaptable to your changing needs."

Why we recommend:

  • A thorough starting point for general information about designing and building environmentally sustainable homes.

  • Includes case studies for various locations.

  • An Australian Government resource.

7. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber (available here)

“An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.”

Why we recommend:

  • An award winning essential piece of reading for anyone considering starting their own practice.

  • Paints a picture of the stages of every business, from start-up to well established, and the common hurdles faced at each stage.

  • Helps entrepreneurs approach a new venture with the correct mind-set and vision for their business, and how they can work ON their business, rather than IN it.

8. Why Architects Matter: Evidencing and Communicating the Value of Architects by Flora Samuel (available here)

“Why Architects Matter examines the key role of research-led, ethical architects in promoting wellbeing, sustainability and innovation. It argues that the profession needs to be clear about what it knows and the value of what it knows if it is to work successfully with others.”

Why we recommend:

  • Helps architects categorise the types of practice around them and identify the value they provide.

  • Provides robust research based assessments of current problems that are exacerbating the marginalisation of architects in the built environment industry.

  • Suggests strategies for evidencing and communicating the value of architects to the public.

Do you have any other books that you would add to the list? Please send your suggestions through to sarah@myfirstarchitecturejob.com

If you’ve found this article useful, please join us! The first step is getting our monthly newsletter here.

Sarah Lebner