Jorge Silvetti

Architect; Urban Designer / United States / Machado and Silvetti Associates

Jorge Silvetti’s Book List

These are the books that come to my mind when I think about the best books I’ve read. They cover most periods of my reading life since I was a teenager in Argentina. They have indelibly shaped my understanding of the world, of people and what they do and make and why, and as such they have also shaped the way I think and perceive. Equally important, these books have given me immense emotional and intellectual pleasure. 

The order they came to mind was not chronological in the sequence they were read over decades—but was more a result of free associations between one book and the next, and I find that interesting and revealing. The 17 books came to mind in the following order. In addition, the Roman numerals that appear in parentheses after each title identify the order in which I read the books: (i) signifying the ones I read first; (iii) the ones I read last; and (ii) the ones in between.

1. The Savage Mind (ii)
2. Tristes Tropiques (ii)
3. Italian Journey (ii)
4. Ficciones (i)
5. My Last Sigh (Mi último suspiro) (iii)
6. Frankenstein (iii)
7. The Leopard (Il gattopardo) (i)
8. Facundo (i)
9. Mythologies (ii)
10. The Pleasure of the Text (ii)
11. The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Writings (i)
12. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (ii)
13. Theories and History of Architecture (Teoria e storia dell’archittetura) (ii) and 14) Interpreting the Renaissance (Ricera dell’Rinascimento) (iii)
15. The Architecture of the City (iii)
16. For Marx (ii)
17. The Order of Things (ii)

5 books
Aldo Rossi

A brilliant reading of the city as a construction of culture and a form of collective memory that exposes the poverty of most current planning ideologies.

A book that confirmed and outlined brilliantly what I was beginning to suspect and intuit about architecture.

Manfredo Tafuri

History of architecture at its best.

Colin Rowe

The two original early articles in this book are the texts from which I Iearned how to read buildings.

Manfredo Tafuri

This was the best and most startling discovery of what a new practice of “theory” might offer architecture.

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