There are many parallels between architecture (of the brick and mortar kind) and information architecture. Both are primarily design professions, and many of the constraints around problems are similar. (E.g.: managing scope, timeframes, user requirements, ergonomics, the interoperation of complex systems, etc.)

Knowing about my background in architecture, a colleague asked if I could recommend any books from this field that may be of interest to IAs. Here is a first pass at such a list, in no particular order:

Design Thinking _by Peter Rowe _Focuses on the design process.

Architecture: Form, Space, and Order by Fracis D. K. Ching _Does for architecture what _Understanding Comics did for comics.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction _by Christopher Alexander _You probably know this one already.

Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture _by Robert Venturi _A “gentle manifesto for a nonstraightforward architecture”.

How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built _by Stewart Brand _I haven’t read this yet, but a lot of smart people rave about it.

If you want to get into the history of the field, you can’t read anything better than Sir Banister Fletcher’s History of Architecture.

(If you’re into modernism, read William Curtis’ book on modern architecture.)

You could go to your local library (or Barnes & Noble) and hang out in the architecture section for a while, checking out some of the monographs on famous architects. Some I like: Le Corbusier, Rem Koolhaas, Enric Miralles, Alvar Aalto, Louis I. Kahn, Alvaro Siza, Carlo Scarpa.

Also check out the two Franks that everyone’s heard of: Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry.

Tangentially related to architecture, but inspiring anyways: anything by R. Buckminster Fuller. This is a good place to start.

Do you have any favorite architecture books?


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