Craig Hodgetts

Architect; Graphic Designer / United States / Hodgetts + Fung Architecture and Design

Craig Hodgetts’s Book List

I look to writers, especially those who deal with the form of writing itself, to open doors to the infinite number of ways to structure and assess the world, and particularly the processes and concepts that animate and motivate us as humans. I don’t look at them as “source books” but rather as indicators of how one might think about and relate to the incredibly diverse surroundings with which we interact on a daily basis. I am at heart an eclectic individual, with an appetite for nearly everything I encounter, so this list is likewise eclectic and unstructured.

15 books
Samuel Beckett

This novel is dedicated in its entirety to the bumbling, often obsessive circumstances of its protagonist and shares, with Beckett’s other works, a profound, unvarnished view of the human condition in all of its absurd self-involvement. Appealing both for its formal structure and for its demonstration of how much can be accomplished within very narrow boundaries, Watt is an inspiration to the creative artist who hits a dead end, but just keeps on slogging ahead.

John Cage

Cage’s ability to exploit the “accidental” reveals the richness to be found in the seemingly random sounds, sights, and events that make up the environment. To designers who obsess over each detail, and in the process squeeze out every uncontrolled morsel, Cage implicitly cautions that they may be creating lifeless hulks which do little but celebrate their own solipsistic nature.

Yoko Ono

Yoko’s short, Haiku-like recipes for gentle, revealing ways in which to communicate with one another are poignant and intensely personal, but also universal in the way they tap into our common desire for simple, meaningful, and fulfilling relations with the world and those around us.

Le Corbusier

Surely if Le Corbusier must summon up patience, then we mere mortals must require it in extra large helpings. This book, with its rants, ravings, and alternating scolding and ecstatic tone, helped me, and countless others, to develop a healthy disregard for conventional wisdom and opt, instead, to operate outside the box.

Karl Popper

Popper’s thinking directed me toward an inclusive philosophy in which the values of unrestricted access, transparency, and non-hierarchical structures became embedded in my consciousness and still serve as a moral and intellectual framework for my decisions, both architectural and personal.

Sigfried Giedion

What a revelation! Giedion weaves the strands of innovation we take for granted into a compelling fabric that helps to explain how and why our cities and towns took the shape they did. Hopefully someone of his stature will do the same for the Information Age.

Arthur Koestler

The first and most insightful analysis of what has now become a common theme: the industrialization of Asia, and the driving principles behind its worldview. Swaggering and not a little overweaning, the central idea still rings true, and provides an alternative scenario to that we Westerners are culturally destined to follow.

Norman Bel Geddes

The futuristic, Popular Science magazine-style images created by Bel Geddes were built on a solid foundation of design fundamentals and bravely negotiated the line between fantasy and reality, demonstrating a quick grasp of urban design, aeronautical engineering, and architecture only equaled by Le Corbusier on the other side of the world. His facility in creating a practical, if sadly unrecognized, template for a romantic, heroic environment continues to inspire me.

Akira Kurosawa

The emotional impact of these sketches is simply overwhelming as Kurosawa conceives the narrative structure and settings for the film. They underscore, for me, just how futile the typical architect’s rendering is to convey the true meaning of the way in which real life intersects with the architect's idealized images. The lesson, for me, lies in the fact that, ultimately, “life bats last.”

Frank Lloyd Wright
Selected and with commentary by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer

Wright’s letters inform us of his practical nature, his unwillingness to compromise, and his supreme self-confidence. But they also tell us of his almost uncanny ability to read his client’s minds, and to spend vast intellectual and creative resources on each of his projects, regardless of the supposed “payback.” Penny-pinching with actual finances, he drove himself and everyone associated with a project to the brink with his desire to realize both principle and result.

McMaster-Carr Company

Catalogues have a remarkable appeal to me. Perhaps it’s the regimented, absolutely even-handed manner in which the goods are displayed, or the detailed facts that are appended to each entry, including metrics, materials, and applications. McMaster-Carr is a triumph of the form, from its wafer-thin paper to its sturdy binding, which has withstood thousands upon thousands of openings, and its micro-yet-legible typeface.

Robert M. Pirsig

Pirsig is the ultimate do-it-yourself-pragmatist. I was inspired by the affirmation that personal attention, discipline, and daring in equal portions could fuel a whole self-sufficient, satisfying lifestyle. It’s easy to see where Samuel Mockbee’s “Rural Studio” fits in, and I hope that some of our work can also be traced to Pirsig’s inspiration.

Barbara Goldstein Editor

Simple, straightforward account of the birth of a new aesthetic. Brave new magazine composition, brave new design principles, brave new technology, brave new lifestyle, all assembled into a slim, almost fragile format that was just this side of self-indulgence—except it wasn’t. It is of course the bible for mid-century aficionados, but don’t let that fool you. It is as deep as you want to go, and I suggest you do go deep.

Lester Bangs

The freewheeling, free-associative bacchanal that takes over the minute you open this book is like a tidal wave of insights, fevered imaginings, and half-baked truths that position Bangs's writing, like my mentor James Stirling’s architecture, at the forbidden intersection of the animal and the spiritual.

Edward R. Tufte

Despite its numbing title, this volume, and its several cousins, is a visual feast. Its brilliantly selected examples, supplemented by a wise and perceptive text, propel the reader along a hyperbolic learning curve. I find myself referring to it so often that Tufte has nearly attained the status of a verb.

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