We've collected an assortment of new books on design, sustainable construction, and design theory to help you get through the darkening days of fall.
In Welcoming Home (Gibbs Smith, $40), architect and artist Michaela Mahady, AIA, examines the ways humans experience spaces within—and without—residential built environments. Drawing on her conviction that emotional expression in design is as essential as intellectual expression, she sets out to understand the visceral connections between people and the places they inhabit. Mahady dissects common human responses to various types and elements of home design—particularly those that elicit positive emotional and sensory responses. Closing the book is a set of exercises that encourage readers to reflect on the types of spaces that resonate with them.
Total Housing: Alternatives to Urban Sprawl (Actar, $49.95), co-edited by Tomoko Sakamoto, Irene Hwang, and Albert Ferré, surveys multifamily housing projects created in direct response to the diverse demands and needs of contemporary society. Through these inventive projects—by firms such as Lacaton & Vassal, Bjarke Ingels Group, JDS Architects, Sadar Vuga Arhitekti, Ryue Nishizawa, Foreign Office Architects, and SHoP Architects—the book argues the benefits of dense urban development based on a deep understanding of the social, environmental, and economic factors that influence the most successful designs.
Architecture writers Jonathan Bell and Ellie Stathaki explore an emerging mode of residential design that values substance over style and eschews slavish adherence to a specific aesthetic or theory in The New Modern House: Redefining Functionalism (Laurence King, $50). Bell and Stathaki compile 50 case studies—categorized as rural, suburban, or urban—that illustrate the pragmatism, aesthetic flexibility, and sensitivity to place of the "new functionalist" approach. Projects have been selected from around the globe, including Europe, Australia, Asia, the U.K., the United States, and South America.
Public Architecture's Design for Reuse Primer, a free e-book, explores the potential of material reuse as an aspect of sustainable construction from the perspectives of architects, contractors, and clients, and seeks to demystify the practice. Through interviews and firsthand accounts, the guide offers insights on designing for and with reclaimed materials, detailing the challenges and benefits of materials reuse, as well as the human and environmental impacts. Fifteen diverse projects, from retail to residential, are highlighted for their innovative use of reclaimed materials.
For clients who want to green their existing homes but have no idea where to start—or what going green even entails—green building proponent Barry Katz's Practical Green Remodeling: Down-to-Earth Solutions for Everyday Homes (The Taunton Press, $24.95) provides an easily digestible guide and handy educational tool. Katz, LEED AP, starts with the basics and explains industry best practices for achieving energy efficiency, conserving resources, and creating healthy living environments, emphasizing off-the-shelf materials and detailing how different choices impact a home's overall sustainability, as well as the client's bottom line. He encourages clients to establish a sustainable vision for their homes that will guide their choices and the remodeling process.
The American Institute of Architect's Design Informed: Driving Innovation with Evidence-Based Design (John Wiley & Sons, $80) is intended as a guide to achieving design excellence for both architecture practitioners and students. The authors—Gordon H. Chong, FAIA, Robert M. Brandt, AIA, and W. Mike Martin, FAIA—propose an evidenced-based design approach that takes advantage of research to create opportunities for innovation. To illustrate their approach, the authors interviewed 22 thought leaders and discussing evidenced-based projects with which they were involved.
Small Eco Houses: Living Green in Style (Rizzoli Universe, $35), by Cristina Paredes Benítez and Àlex Sánchez Vidiella, surveys the latest trends in environmentally sensitive, small-scale residential design. The authors explore 50 diverse homes—from repurposed barns to urban lofts—that each proves the strength of thoughtful design in overcoming the apparent limitations of small spaces. Each case study discusses the project's challenges and the unique solutions devised by the architects and offers detailed floor plans alongside color photography.