Two Hundred and Fifty Things Architects Should Know, by Michael Sorkin (Princeton Architectural Press, 2021)
The death of architect and critic Michael Sorkin in March 2020, at 71, was one of the coronavirus pandemic’s first brutal blows to the architecture community. Remembering him in Architectural Record, Thom Mayne wrote of late-night chats with his friend in the 1980s: “He spoke of our awesome responsibilities; he spoke relentlessly of the power of architecture to change lives; he never stopped insisting that we must never stop fighting—for what we believed in, for a resistance of the status quo.” Now Sorkin’s famous essay-list, “Two Hundred and Fifty Things,” is beautifully bound with archival images, illustrations, and photographs—some-thing to savor whenever you’re in need of inspiration.
No Compromise: The Work of Florence Knoll, by Ana Araujo (Princeton Architectural Press, 2021)
Florence Knoll’s motto was “no compromise, ever.” Araujo presents the architect’s career as both a testament to that sentiment and the ways she must have had to reframe it as a woman working in a male-dominated environment—including her colleagues at Knoll Associates and her clients—to bring the company to its great heights.
The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection, edited by Anne H. Berry, Kareem Collie, Penina Acayo Laker, Lesley-Ann Noel, Jennifer Rittner, Kelly Walters (Allworth Press, 2022)
This anthology centers a range of perspectives and spotlights teaching practices, research, stories, and conversations from a Black/African diasporic lens, including contributions from architect and educator Alicia Olushola Ajayi and Pentagram partner Eddie Opara. The project was developed in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 with a goal of making long-term, systemic changes in design education, research, and practice, reclaiming the contributions of Black designers in the process.
China Dialogues, by Vladimir Belogolovsky. Edited by Crisie Yuan and Kenneth Frampton (Tongji University Press/ORO Editions, 2021)
During extensive travels in China, Belogolovsky conducted interviews with numerous Chinese architects. Twenty-one of those conversations with leading practitioners have been compiled and edited for this new book, along with 120 photographs and drawings of projects built throughout China since the early 2000s.
Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in the Modern Interior, by Penny Sparke (Yale University Press, 2021)
This deep dive into the history and popularity of indoor plants in the modern era explores the close relationship among architecture, interior design, and nature. Sparke attributes much of the interest in indoor plants to urbanization, and, more recently, the climate crisis.
Parks of the 21st Century: Reinvented Landscapes, Reclaimed Territories, by Victoria Newhouse with Alex Pisha (Rizzoli, 2021)
A selection of 52 parks in the U.S., Mexico, Can-ada, Europe, and China illustrates how despoiled and polluted land (including former factories, railroads, and industrial waterfronts) can be trans-formed into beneficial landscapes.
Jens Risom: A Seat at the Table, by Vicky Lowry (Phaidon, 2022)
In this much-anticipated monograph and authoritative biography, Lowry takes readers through the Danish-born mid-century modern designer’s early life and education in Copenhagen, his arrival in the U.S. in 1939 and subsequent work for Knoll and George Nelson, the creation of his own company, and his celebrated pre-fab house on Block Island, RI.
The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn: Facsimile Edition and Reader’s Guide, edited by Richard Saul Wurman and Eugene Feldman (YC British Art, 2022)
Originally published in 1962 and long out of print, this was the first book about Kahn to feature the architect’s own images and words. This facsimile edition includes his early sketches, reproduced at full size, from his European travels in the 1950s, as well as renderings of the designs for several of his notable buildings. It also contains unpublished speeches and excerpts from lectures, radio broadcasts, and other sources. The book is accompanied by an illustrated Reader’s Guide that features essays and commentary by family members, writers such as scholar William Whitaker and critic Paul Goldberger, and fellow architects including Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, and Denise Scott Brown.