Spending time outdoors is an essential aspect of summer, and few 20th-century designers did more to explore the concept of al fresco living than Cliff May. His irrepressible spirit is showcased in Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House (Rizzoli, $60), by Daniel P. Gregory. The well-organized book mixes biographical information on May with case studies on some of his best houses, highlighting his clever and radical methods for blending indoors and out. Stunning photography by Joe Fletcher emphasizes the natural color palettes May favored. And a foreword by film producer and architecture buff Joel Silver introduces Gregory's engaging prose.

Additional summer-friendly fare fills At Home by the Sea: Houses Designed for Living at the Water's Edge (Down East Books, $40). Photographer Brian Vanden Brink and writer Bruce Snider, a senior editor at residential architect's sister magazine CUSTOM HOME, collaborated on this beautiful, informative look at seaside residences. The 20 selected projects, complete with floor and site plans, range from the rugged Bay of Fundy house by Julie Snow, FAIA, to an original Eichler home in Belvedere, Calif. For more dwellings by the water, open up Erika Rosenfeld's Building With Light in the Pacific Northwest: The Houses of Thomas L. Bosworth, Architect (ORO Editions, $75), a monograph on the sensitive and site-specific houses of Thomas L. Bosworth, FAIA. Peter Q. Bohlin, FAIA, wrote the book's affectionate foreword, and architect Max Jacobson supplied a thoughtful introduction.

Those taking a road trip this summer will enjoy The National Park Architecture Sourcebook (Princeton Architectural Press, $40), a handy guide to buildings of interest in every corner of the country, by Harvey H. Kaiser. And for another take on historic structures, check out Adam Mornement and Simon Holloway's Corrugated Iron: Building on the Frontier (W.W. Norton & Co., $60), which examines the past and continued relevance of corrugated metal buildings.

Julius Shulman: Palm Springs
by Michael Stern and Alan Hess (Rizzoli, $55)

Green Building Products, 3rd Edition: The GreenSpec Guide to Residential Building Materials
edited by Alex Wilson and Mark Piepkorn (BuildingGreen and New Society Publishers, $37.95)

Suburban Transformations
by Paul Lukez (Princeton Architectural Press, $40)

Block by Block: Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York
essays by Paul Goldberger, Karrie Jacobs, Allison Arieff, and more (Princeton Architectural Press, $17.95)

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid
by Marianne Cusato and Ben Pentreath (Sterling Publishing Co., $29.95)

Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life
edited by Stephen R. Kellert, Judith H. Heerwagen, and Martin L. Mador (John Wiley & Sons, $75)

Earth Architecture: From Ancient to Modern
by William N. Morgan, FAIA (University Press of Florida, $34.95)