Nathalie de Vries

Architect; Urban Designer / The Netherlands / MVRDV

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.

I must admit, though, that as much as books, architecture magazines shaped my ideas. The library of TU Delft University subscribed to all of them. The German magazine Arch+ stands between the books on my shelves to be re-read. Always aware of the zeitgeist, there is no subject to which it has not dedicated an issue. 

My generation was looking for the “now” in architecture, because a majority of buildings that were produced in the 1970s and ’80s somehow seemed far away from our daily experiences. Nowadays most of us are working in countries all over the world and we have to keep our eyes open to the everyday lives of people that might not be so familiar to us.


This book list was initiated on the occasion of Nathalie de Vries’s November 2, 2012, lecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The lecture is available on videotape. The Frances Loeb Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Design will feature Nathalie de Vries’s Designers & Books book list as well as books from its collections that are by and about MVRDV, on display through mid-November.

2 books
Thomas J. Campanella

Comprehensive and very readable history of 20 years of urbanization in China and the origins of this growth. Offers a better understanding of the context for all architects and urbanists who work in China.

Orhan Pamuk

A personal history intertwined with the modern history of one of the most beautiful cities in the world—Istanbul.

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