Favorite Books of 2022
For this last post of 2022 I looked back at the dozens of books I reviewed or featured as "Book Briefs" on this blog, and the ones I reviewed on World-Architects. From those books I gathered just over a dozen favorites, grouping them into some common themes that happened to come to the fore: places, architects, and books/writers; they are listed below with brief commentary and links to my original reviews. Although these are my favorite books from 2022, not all of them were published this year (I'm often slow at getting around to books so I don't always follow the annual spring/fall cycle of publishers). As such, I've listed at bottom some recent and forthcoming books I'm looking forward to reading and (hopefully) reviewing in the new year. Until then, warm holiday wishes!
4 Books on 4 Places:
Emergent Tokyo: Designing the Spontaneous City by Jorge Almazán + Studiolab, published by ORO Editions (2022) — A beautifully illustrated analysis of various "spontaneous" urban conditions in Tokyo (yokochō alleys, zakkyo buildings, undertrack infills, etc.) that designers in and beyond the Japanese city can learn from.
Vacant Spaces NY by Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample and MOS, published by Actar Publishers (2021) — Research and proposals in this book make a solid argument that small spaces in New York City — in this cases empty storefronts exacerbated by the pandemic — are the key to addressing the numerous crises the city is constantly facing.
In Miami In The 1980s: The Vanishing Architecture of a "Paradise Lost" edited by Charlotte von Moos, published by Walther König (2022) — The Eighties is back in this colorful look at the pastel-hued architecture of Arquitectonica, Duany Plater-Zyberk and others in Miami, complete with stills from Miami Vice.
Swissness Applied: Learning from New Glarus by Nicole McIntosh und Jonathan Louie, published by Park Books (2022) — This in-depth architectural analysis of a small town in Wisconsin where commercial storefronts resemble Swiss chalets yields numerous pleasures and insights, thanks to the authors taking the place as seriously as places with capital-A architecture.
6 Books on 4 (or 5) Architects:
Between Memory and Invention: My Journey in Architecture by Robert A. M. Stern with Leopoldo Villardi, published by The Monacelli Press (2022) — An autobiographical tome on an architect, educator, and writer responsible for many tomes himself, most notably the indispensable series of New York books — a half-dozen spanning from 1880 to the forthcoming 2020.
Alison & Peter Smithson: Hexenhaus: A House for a Man and a Cat edited by A&P Smithson Hexenhaus-Archiv, published by Walther König (2021) — This book-length case study on Hexenhaus, a lesser known project designed by Alison and Peter Smithson for a man and his cat living in a German forest, is as playful, multifaceted and thoughtful as the project itself.
Louis Sullivan's Idea edited and written by Tim Samuelson and Reconstructing the Garrick: Adler & Sullivan's Lost Masterpiece edited by Jon Vinci, both published by Alphawood Foundation (2021) — These two books published by Alphawood on the occasion of the exhibition Romanticism to Ruin: Two Lost Works of Sullivan & Wright at Wrightwood 659 are remarkable in their depth of archival information on Sullivan's career and his long-lost Garrick Theater and stunningly presented.
Louis I. Kahn by Robert McCarter, published by (Revised and Expanded Edition, 2022) and The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn edited by Richard Saul Wurman and Eugene Feldman, published by Designers & Books/Yale Center for British Art (Facsimile Edition and Reader's Guide, 2022) — In 2022, architects were treated to new editions of two large and excellent books on Louis Kahn: a revised and expanded edition of Robert McCarter's thorough biographical monograph on the architect, first published in 2005; and a reprint of the first-ever monograph on Kahn, Richard Saul Wurman's The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn from 1963. The latter reprints the book's second edition from 1973 and adds a valuable Reader's Guide with background on the original book from Wurman plus numerous contributions by architects, critics, curators, educators, and others.
4 Books on 4 Books/Writers:
Vitruvius Without Text: The Biography of a Book by André Tavares gta Verlag (2022) — An illuminating book that examines how Vitruvius's De Architectura (aka the Ten Books of Architecture) has been translated and packaged — and unpacked — from the 15th century to the current day.
Reyner Banham Revisited by Richard J. Williams, published by Reaktion Books (2021) — A biography of the great critic astutely structured according to his books, many of them seminal, from Theory and Design in the First Machine Age to The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, and beyond.
When Eero Met His Match: Aline Louchheim Saarinen and the Making of an Architect by Eva Hagberg, published on Princeton University Press (2022) — An enjoyable read that reveals the contributions Aline Louchheim Saarinen made in the career of her more famous husband, intertwined with personal anecdotes by Hagberg on the workings of public relations in architectural practice.
G. E. Kidder Smith Builds: The Travel of Architectural Photography by Angelo Maggi, published by AR+D Publishing (2022) — A long overdue book devoted to the architect George Everard Kidder Smith, who instead of designing buildings devoted himself to the documentation and presentation of architecture in Europe and the United States through photography and writing in books and exhibitions.
12 Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading and Reviewing in 2023 (in alphabetical order by title, with referral links to Amazon):
- architect, verb: The New Language of Building by Reinier de Graaf (Verso, 2023)
- The Architecture of Disability: Buildings, Cities, and Landscapes beyond Access by David Gissen (University of Minnesota Press, 2023)
- Architectures of Spatial Justice by Dana Cuff (The MIT Press, 2023)
- Bold Ventures: Thirteen Tales of Architectural Tragedy by Charlotte Van den Broeck (Other Press, 2022)
- The Brutalists: Brutalism's Best Architects by Owen Hopkins (Phaidon, 2023)
- Common Ground: Multi-Family Housing in Los Angeles by Frances Anderton (Angel City Press, 2022)
- Lina Bo Bardi: Material Ideologies edited by Monica Ponce de Leon (Princeton University Press, 2022)
- On the Street: In-Between Architecture by Edwin Heathcote (HENI Publishing, 2023)
- The Pliable Plane: The Wall as Surface in Sculpture and Architecture, 1945–75 by Penelope Curtis (MACK, 2022)
- Shigeru Ban: Timber in Architecture edited by Laura Britton and Vittorio Lovato (Rizzoli, 2022)
- Sky-high: A Critique of NYC's Supertall Towers from Top to Bottom by Eric P. Nash, with photographs by Bruce Katz (Princeton Architectural Press, 2023)
- Urban Design in the 20th Century - A History by Tom Avermaete and Janina Gosseye (gta Verlag, 2021)