Looking For Architectural Inspiration? These 5 Books Can Help 

If you’re looking for architectural inspiration, look no further. These five books will introduce you to the latest movements in architecture and show you how green architecture is changing the way buildings are being designed. 

Each of these books is packed with stunning photos and interesting facts that will leave you inspired to make your mark on the world of architecture. 

Architectural movements of the 20th century 

The past century was a melting pot of design.  Architects were influenced by a variety of factors, from the rise of the automobile to the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

Styles shifted and new movements emerged, each with their own unique take on how buildings should look and function. One of the most recent and rapidly growing movements in architecture is green design, or green architecture. This style focuses on creating buildings that are environmentally friendly and sustainable, using natural materials and energy sources whenever possible. 

How green architecture fits in 

So how does green architecture fit into the landscape of 20th-century movements? For one, it builds on many of the same principles that other styles do. Like Prairie School before it, green architecture emphasizes harmony between humans and nature, and like Bauhaus design, it seeks to strip away unnecessary ornamentation, creating clean lines and simple forms.  

But green architecture also has a few unique aspects that set it apart. 

One of the most important things that green architects do is try to minimize the environmental impact of their buildings. This means using sustainable and renewable materials while incorporating features like solar panels and green roofs. Green architects also often try to take advantage of natural ventilation and lighting, which can save energy. 

In addition to being environmentally friendly, green architecture is designed to be healthy for the people who live in it. This means using materials that don’t off-gas harmful chemicals and incorporating features like good indoor air quality and daylighting. 

5 green architecture books to inspire you 

As our world becomes more aware of the impact we have on the environment, architects are being challenged to design buildings that are sustainable and energy efficient. 

Green architecture is about more than just using eco-friendly materials. It’s about designing buildings that work with nature, not against it. 

Check out these books that take you on a journey of how green architecture is changing the way buildings are being designed. The following five books are must-reads for anyone interested in green architecture or inspiration: 

1. Green Building Illustrated by Francis D. K. Ching and Ian M. Shapiro 

This is a complete, illustrated guide to how and why we need to build green. It includes the theories supporting sustainable construction techniques and offers practical solutions presented through graphical depictions of the theory, practices, and complexities of sustainable design.  

2. Living in Nature: Contemporary Houses in the Natural World by Phaidon Editors 

While green architecture can certainly be integrated into urban life, this book delves into the greenest of the green: homes immersed deep in nature. Living in Nature takes the reader to sustainable design projects across the world, from Asia (Vietnam and Japan) to Europe (Scotland) and the US (Joshua Tree). This book is sure to awe and inspire. 

3. Studio Gang Architecture by Jeanne Gang 

For nearly three decades, Studio Gang has been known for designing imaginative projects that address pressing environmental issues. This book features stunning visuals, including 300 illustrations, and short essays highlighting 25 of the firm’s projects that best showcase its award-winning work across the US and abroad.  

4. Building Reuse: Sustainability, Preservation, and the Value of Design by Kathryn Rogers Merlino 

This book makes a passionate case for the concept of reusing and reimagining existing buildings. The author addresses facts and myths about the reuse of existing buildings, sometimes a contentious point in the green architecture movement. Featuring case studies and hard facts about carbon emissions, this book is sure to make you think about—or rethink—your position on sustainability in design.  

5. Vitamin Green by Johanna Agerman Ross and Joshua Bolchover 

This carefully curated book features completed projects and those still in production at the time of publishing. It includes engaging and visually appealing illustrations of sustainable designs to inspire a new generation of architects. 


Green architecture is still a relatively new field, but it’s already having a major impact on the built environment. And as awareness of the need for sustainable buildings grows, green architects will only become more in demand. So if you’re interested in a career in architecture, dive into one of these books about green and sustainable design.

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