Louis Kahn has been my favorite American architect, producing work that is both rigorous and touching, of seeming inevitability and gravity yet emotionally laden. He remains a great teacher. He is a man who can, in a project or words, make me tearful.
In my high school the library had a very old three-volume set of The Divine Comedy with illustrations by Gustave Doré. Even now, 60 years later, I can still see the Doré engravings of Hell and Purgatory. I told this story to someone at dinner who, remarkably, remembered the very same images with similar passion.
I am a great admirer of Juhani Pallasmaa’s thinking and writing. The work of a wonderful man, who has several fine books, The Eyes of the Skin is particularly valuable and appropriate now. Not many people talk about what he talks about—not many people could—and even fewer can put that into actual practice.
You will likely read A Pattern Language at a particular time in your career. When that moment occurred for me, this book reminded me of the very specific principles that lie beneath the vast carcass of this architecture business. Sometimes you forget about the bones.
Twenty-six science fiction stories, and I love them. Particularly when I was young, tales of the strange, future/past, of changelings, of faint musical columns in a mystical landscape, stirred me greatly.
The first Lewerentz project that I saw was the Flower Store in the cemetery near Malmö, Sweden. After that you never get Lewerentz out of your mind. There have been several Lewerentz books detailing his work and path from Nordic classicism to modernism. But this book from the London Architectural Association with its black sandpaper cover is exceptionally good. I find his work so touching.
Tufte has published an extraordinary series of books, but this one, containing amazing images/diagrams that lucidly communicate precise knowledge, is my favorite. I also enjoy the story that he originally offered his books to publishers, but they all agreed that his books were not saleable. Now, there is not a publisher in the world who would not wait at Tufte’s front door for even a slight chance to publish his next book.