Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wishlist: Unpacking My Library

I saw this book at my favorite local bookstore before Christmas. But I was restricting my purchases that day to books for other people only, so I passed. I'll have to go back and get it for myself soon, as a belated present.

Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books edited by Jo Steffens
What does a library say about the mind of its owner? How do books map the intellectual interests, curiosities, tastes, and personalities of their readers? What does the collecting of books have in common with the practice of architecture? Unpacking My Library provides an intimate look at the personal libraries of twelve of the world’s leading architects, alongside conversations about the significance of books to their careers and lives.

Photographs of bookshelves—displaying well-loved and rare volumes, eclectic organizational schemes, and the individual touches that make a bookshelf one’s own—provide an evocative glimpse of their owner’s personal life. Each architect also presents a reading list of top ten influential titles, from architectural history to theory to fiction and nonfiction, that serves as a personal philosophy of literature and history, and advice on what every young architect, scholar, and lover of architecture should read.
Check out the unpacking my library website, too.

On a side note, this book reminded me a bit of a post I did about books architects own. I'll have to check to see if the books I listed are in this book.


  1. The friends we visited in LA in December are both architects and they had a ton of cool books!

  2. This looks like an interesting book. It reminds me of a story that one of my Planning professors told me at Cornell. He had worked at another University where the planning program was in the same school/department as the architecture program (as it is at Cornell). Anyhoo, they built a new building for the two programs that was very much to the tastes and desires of the architecture faculty. Part of the design of the office spaces only allowed for four linear feet of bookshelves for each office. I won't cast aspersions at the reading habits of architects, but 4 feet of bookshelves doesn't even scratch the surface of what is needed to house the book collection of a typical planning professor.

    I guess the architects preferred to have function follow form...


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