Ian Ritchie

Architect; Interior Designer; Urban Designer; Product/Industrial Designer / United Kingdom / Ian Ritchie Architects

Ian Ritchie’s Book List

I love words. They are at the root of our communication and culture. Books are central to our existence. To write without reason is difficult, to write without imagination is impossible, and memories are essential to knowing and grounding oneself at any given time. Good books have these characteristics.

The following list is a sampling from libraries at my office and home.

7 books
Walter Benjamin

When this was translated from the German it was a book I had heard about and felt somewhat daunted at opening it. A vast work of thought on the birth of consumerism and the commodification of what has become everything today—education, health, housing… . Its availability in English coincided with our work designing an enormous retail and leisure complex in London, and although the title resonates Paris and “glass structures,” it has little to do with the physicality of space, but with the proximity of traders and “weatherless” strutting and strolling shoppers. The birth of retail as a leisure activity.

Mark Rothko
Edited and with an introduction by Christopher Rothko

Having visited the Whitechapel Art Gallery not long ago to listen to an archive recording of John Hoyland talking about his art, he mentioned Rothko, whom he knew. I found this book of his writings in the gallery’s bookshop. It has been a revelation and convinced me of Rothko’s strength and breadth of mind.

Julie Houis et Collectif

An extraordinary exhibition touching on all the great artists involved with “dynamic and kinetic” art, and beautifully captured in this catalogue—a jewel.

Arthur I. Miller

A book that captures how aesthetic ideas are not the sole domain of the artist, but also of the scientist, and how these two giants of the 20th century, Einstein and Picasso, were essentially working on the same problem: how to better describe the universe’s geometry once it was clear that the classical view was no longer sufficient, Einstein through relativity and Picasso through Cubism.

Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

As light had always been the material of architecture for me, and about which I was increasingly passionate, this book appealed because it presented the subtlety of light’s absence.

Gaston Bachelard

This book had become very quickly a “must read” among architectural students because it was founded upon “imagination” and “experience” of space—not its architectural physicality, but phenomenology. It gave students permission to dream new architectures based upon narratives. A seminal work.

John Berger

I saw a couple of the BBC programs that were delivered by John Berger and was astonished at his insights and lucidity. I have since read many of his books, the latest being Railtracks—a wonderful poetic conversation and photographic adventure.

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