Book List of the Week

The Books That Inspire 10 Women in Architecture

Denise Scott Brown, Jeanne Gang, Billie Tsien, and 7 more

November 17, 2014

Ten notable women working as architects have sent us lists of books that have had an influence on what they do and think and how they create. The architects are: Deborah Berke, Denise Scott Brown, Nathalie de Vries, Jeanne Gang, Margaret McCurry, Victoria Meyers, Farshid Moussavi, Galia Solomonoff, Ada Tolla, and Billie Tsien.

Jeanne Gang’s office library.
Deborah Berke's Book List

I have always loved books—books of all kinds. I like reading books, I like being in rooms where there are books, I get inspiration from books, I like giving books as gifts, I like having a book with me.

My list is an eclectic one of books I have enjoyed and books I have learned from. I always have a large pile of books—fiction and nonfiction, books with images and books without, poetry, plays, collections and surveys, essays—on my nightstand, and always a book in my bag.

Jeanne Gang's Book List

Lina Bo Bardi, Benjamin Franklin, Victor Hugo.

Margaret McCurry's Book List

With an architect father and artist mother, I grew up immersed in the arts and while my husband, Stanley Tigerman, and I share a library of over 7,000 volumes in which all the arts are munificently represented, I have chosen authors whose works concern not the visual arts (except that they all paint vivid word pictures), but whose subject matter or literary style continues to influence me and for many of whom I still seek a wishful affinity between their work and mine. . . . View the complete text

Victoria Meyers's Book List

I selected my books for many reasons. Some books have followed me around for a very long time (I started reading Frank Lloyd Wright’s writings when I was seven or eight.). Some books on the list were given to me by relatives whom I was close to (The Poetry of Robert Frost, given to me by my aunt). Complete Poems and Selected Letters of Michelangelo catalogues a life that I can relate to—suffering because of the design process! Some books got me through dark times with good advice, others with their amazing humor (John Cage and Andy Warhol).

Farshid Moussavi's Book List

I am interested in books that can be read in different ways, that offer different insights depending on the spatial position you adopt within them. This way of reading inspired my book The Function of Form, whose chapters are related through a theme but can be read independently of one another; similarly the pages can be read as double spreads or as a series of left-hand pages or right-hand pages.

Galia Solomonoff's Book List

In 1975, my parents burned a significant and dear part of our library as Isabel Perón signed a number of decrees empowering the military to “annihilate” the Argentine left. It was a Sunday morning in winter. We were at our suburban house on the Paraná River and I was seven. I passed books to my father in silence; we did a barbecue to cover up the burning of the books. I passed an annotated volume of Charles Fourier—I don’t remember the title, but I remember it was red, leather-bound, and about 4 x 7 inches.

Denise Scott Brown's Book List

These books have been signposts and guides to us [meaning Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi] in the evolving of our ideas. The later ones are good examples, intriguing to us, of how others are taking our thought further. The selections from our own writings (see “Books by . . .” for both Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi)—were chosen to show what we derived from what we read. The list of books we have written and our book list below should be examined together.

Ada Tolla's Book List

The founding partners of LOT-EK, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, have provided a joint list of books that have influenced their work as architects, educators, thinkers, and people of the world.  It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Tolla and Lignano that there were two distinct reactions as they were deciding on which books to include: passionate accord or sharp disagreement. There is no middle ground about what resonates with LOT-EK.  As with the work they produce, or the projects they decide to pursue, things either resonate, or they simply do not.

Billie Tsien's Book List

M.F.K. Fisher, George Nakashima, Virginia Woolf.

Nathalie de Vries’s Book List

Many of the books on this list are in some way about daily life and how it can inspire us. I acquired quite a few of these during my last years as a student and the first years of my practice, roughly between 1988 and 1996—when I started to earn enough money to buy them.

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