4 Books About Architecture You Should Read

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture, or so goes the apocryphal quote, variously credited to Elvis Costello, Frank Zappa, Thelonius Monk, and at least a dozen others.

But writing about architecture? That’s legit. In fact, there are volumes of literature dedicated to the craft. Here are a few books to start with.

Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger


$20.95 at Indigo

Currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and former architecture critic at The New Yorker, Goldberger is the leading American voice on the subject. His recent book discusses the question of how architecture affects our life.

The Ten Books of Architecture by Vitruvius


$16.60 at Indigo

Written in ancient Rome, this book is as instructive as it is exhaustive. To understand classical design – and so all of Western architecture – it’s required reading.

From Bauhaus To Our House by Tom Wolfe


$23 at Indigo

Wolfe brings his New Journalism energy to the subject of the four walls around us. It’s a good tumble through history – even if it isn’t always, strictly speaking, accurate.

A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia Savage McAlester


$58 at Indigo

Ever see a house you like and want to know about its style and historical import? This is the book for you.