• Credit: Pelican Publishing

Architectural historian Roulhac B. Toledano presents the buildings and neighborhoods of New Orleans as they once were and, in his opinion, as they should be in A Pattern Book of New Orleans Architecture (Pelican Publishing, $29.95). A tribute to the city's rich architectural history, the book examines each of the many housing types in detail, including the characteristic elements of each architectural style, authentic materials, and original building techniques, as well as information about the surveyors and engineers who designed the city. Numerous nineteenth-century gouache and watercolor archival drawings and paintings, photographs, and neighborhood plans illustrate the pages.

  • Credit: Flammarion

A handy gift for friends of architects and design enthusiasts, Talk About Contemporary Architecture (Flammarion, $24.95) by journalist and architecture expert Gilles de Bure offers a practical primer and accessible introduction to architecture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The book highlights 30 essential dates that changed the face of architecture, identifies the movers and shakers in architecture who have driven many of the key movements, and provides a glossary of contemporary architecture's vocabulary.