Zack McKown

Architect / United States / Tsao and McKown

Zack McKown’s Book List

6 books
William Shakespeare

If they could be made three-dimensional, Shakespeare’s writings would undoubtedly form some of the most beautiful sculpture of all time. But it was the message alone, of his Sonnets, that moved me as a young man as nothing else I had ever read. Shakespeare’s anguished pleadings to a loved one he had lost (or could never have) to marry and have children so that the world could know more of him, revealed a love more powerful and selfless than any that I had ever heard expressed.

Bernard Rudofsky

My favorite architecture book. Rudofsky presents exquisite built environments, mostly from ancient times, that were developed organically by communities (versus individual authors), usually over a period of centuries.

Jane Jacobs

Jacobs’s writing remains invaluable to discussions of sustainability, especially in terms of the social health of communities.

Seeking the very essence of Buddhist philosophy, Rahula goes back to the earliest extant texts. With myriad layers of later additions and interpretations stripped away, he presents the clearest and most succinct description of Buddhism I know of, and presents it as he believes it was originally taught: as a rational philosophy—not a religion.

As designers we seek to understand culturally specific realities and, more important, universal truths underlying human aspirations and perceptions. Campbell’s writings are poignant, direct, and, a great complement to Jung’s similar explorations into the universal unconscious.

Elaine Pagels

For those of us who were raised as Christians and value Christian doctrines of selfless love and compassion, but have seen the negative power of fundamentalism, Pagels’s writing about a group of early Christians who fought against fundamentalism is both fascinating and somewhat heartening.

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