The Architect's Bookshop: top picks

Thanks to Jack Osborn for compiling this list of must-have books to inspire and delight!

Marcel Breuer: Building Global Institutions (2018)

Commanding concrete buildings and tubular steel framed furniture often characterizes the legacy of Hungarian-American architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer (1902-1981).

However, with newly available and digitized documents held in the Breuer Archive at Syracuse University, Building Global Institutions examines Breuer’s practice, research labs, campuses, city plans and “bureaucratic genius” through a series of 10 essays that detail new discoveries of the man himself and the soft-power institutions he worked for.

Edited by Barry Bergdoll, Professor of Art History at Columbia University and curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in accordance with Jonathan Massey, a Professor and Dean of Architecture at California College of the Arts; This is simply a must read for anyone interested in Marcel Breuer or the politics behind architecture.

Bruce Rickard: A Life in Architecture


As one of the most remarkable architects in Australia’s history, Bruce Rickard: A life in Architecture is more than merely an overview of the outstanding works produced during his 60 years of practice, it is an insight into the man himself and the impact he had.

Stories from architects, writers, academics and family members along with previously unpublished photographs and hand-drawn sketches illuminate Bruce’s student years at the Sydney School, the Australian landscape he nestled within, and the design principles he implored to commemorate the lasting brilliance of Rickard’s life and buildings.   

We particularly love that this is a home-grown story, brought to light by Julie Cracknell, Peter Lonergan, his son Sam Rickard and published by New South Books.  An awesome effort!


Beaumaris Modern


Beaumaris is a uniquely Australian suburb described by Philip Goad as “the bush by the sea”. This context is important as it’s these indigenous conditions that have attracted equally distinctive residents to the area, including many of the most influential Australian modernists such as Clarice Beckett, Alan Fildes and Michael O’Connell. 

Beaumaris Modern celebrates the mid-century modern houses of this suburb with gorgeous photography from Jack Shelton and Derek Swalwell, and reminds us of the importance of not demolishing our history; while emphatically endorsing the northerly aspect.  

Written by Fiona Austin this book has its roots in a not-for-profit community organisation focused on celebrating and protecting their built character.

Lina Bo Bardi


Lina Bo Bardi is one of the most important figures in the history of modern Brazilian architecture.

Having moved from Rome to Sao Paulo in 1946 following the Italian resistance movement, this book provides a captivating overview of Lina Bo Bardi’s work in what later became her naturalised home.

Featuring unseen sketches and stunning photography of her buildings, along with a discussion between architects Kazuyo Sejima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, both of whom were greatly influenced by Bo Bardi, the true depth of her originality and creativity is expressed.

Francis Kéré: Primary Elements


Born in Burkina Faso, Francis Kéré was a carpenter prior to studying architecture at the Technical University of Berlin, ultimately establishing his architecture practice in that city while retaining an integral connection to his home country.

Kéré’s work articulates a mastery of traditional building techniques, use of limited resources and sustainable techniques along with a contextual harmony that is unmistakable. Primary Elements is a tactile collection of a true master’s work, and one everybody who appreciates the power of design should encounter.


Carlo Scarpa and Castelvecchio Revisited 


Carlos Scarpa’s Castelvecchio is a testament to the intricacy, consideration and subtlety required to blend art and architecture in a way so timeless it remains as much a source of inspiration today as it did in 1964.

Richard Murphy’s study of Castelvecchio in 1990 has been met by wide acclaim, serving to dissect and preserve Scarpa’s greatest work. 

Carlo Scarpa and Castelvecchio Revisited, however, is Richard Murphy’s own Castelvecchio. Expanded from the original 198 pages to 384, Murphy has ensured that Carlo Scarpa and Castelvecchio will continue astound for years to come. 

A truly remarkable publication that should - in our minds - be on the shelf of every living architect!

Photographed on location at Adam Haddow’s The Architect’s Bookshop in Surry Hills, Sydney. Click here to make contact with them to buy copies - an online store is coming soon!