Design and Inspiration

Our Favorite Books

Published on

December 7, 2023

The heart of any architectural firm’s office is its library.  Below are some of those books that we reference over and over again.

  • In A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, the architectural and urban design “patterns” discussed are intended to help ordinary people work with their neighbors to improve a town or neighborhood or design a house for themselves.
  • Released in 1961, The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, offered new ways to think about how neighborhoods should look and function.  This masterpiece is even more relevant today than it was 63 years ago.
  • Sir Edwin Lutyens – The Arts and Crafts Houses by David Cole, focuses on the work of the great British architect between the 1890s and 1910, a period when his flair and brilliance for proportion, materials, textures, and craftsmanship based on the buildings of his native Surrey flourished.
  • Both Ben and D’Ann graduated from the University of Miami School of Architecture and had the great privilege to be taught by preeminent architectural historian, Vincent Scully. In Between Two Towers: The Drawings of the School of Miami, Scully documents the analytical and often whimsical work of the School’s faculty and students.
  • Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City by Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove is the definitive work on the development of the garden suburb, a phenomenon that first emerged in England in the 1830s and still dominates residential architecture today.
  • In A Place to Call Home, architect Gill Schafer III celebrates the charm, memory and distinct sense of place that give life to a home.
  • Jaques Grange Interiors: With a list of clients that includes the very rich and very famous, Jacques Grange has a talent for creating spaces that do not look “decorated” yet ooze elegance and elan.  Flipping through this book is an aspirational tour of some of the most sophisticated yet livable spaces we know of.
  • Jean Michel Frank: many of our clients ask for interior spaces that nod to traditional inspiration yet with a fresh view for modern living.  Cue Jean Michel Frank, the French interior designer whose work flourished in 1920s Paris. His minimalist interiors decorated with pared-back but sumptuous furniture made of luxury materials, such as shagreen, mica, and intricate straw marquetry, provide the perfect inspiration for today’s sophisticated homes.
  • D’Ann picked up A Dictionary of Color Combinations, Volume 1 at the chicest bookstore in Tokyo, Daikanyama T-Site. If you want to explore color in your home, this little book, written in English and Japanese, offers some uncommon but always appealing combinations of 2, 3 and 4 colors.

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