While the official Architecture Day comes only once a year, everyone in the world makes use of architecture every day. Unlike other everyday things like food and clothing, we sometimes forget that shelters and other buildings don’t just “happen”: they are designed and built and even as we use them, we change them.
Whether we are inside a building or outside and experiencing them from a sidewalk, street, or landing airplane, there’s a lot to discover and there are great books to help us uncover the art of architecture.
New from Cicada Books, let’s start by dipping into Atlas of Amazing Architecture: The most incredible buildings you’ve (probably) never heard of, written and illustrated by Peter Allan. International in scope and containing buildings designed and used for an equally amazing range of purposes, this guide also explores architectural works—and construction methods—across different eras. Imagine an apartment building designed and built with no straight lines! Or a 1600-year-old Chinese temple built more than 100 feet off the ground and tied to the side of a cliff! Ever hear of monolithic architecture? That means that the entire building is created from a single piece of material, such as a carved rock. After touring the architectural works in this book, explore your own home, school, and other buildings you visit to discover how they show evidence of architectural reasons and decisions.
Sometimes a beautifully designed building gains aspects of its visual beauty from architectural choices made for practical reasons. Tilbury House Publishers’ Immigrant Architect, by Berta de Miguel and Kent Diebolt, with award-winning illustrations by Virginia Lorente, introduces us to Rafael Gustavino, Sr., and his son, Rafael Gustavino, Jr. Bringing knowledge of the fireproofing capacity of bricks and tiles from Spain to America, they designed gorgeous buildings in many cities, with their hallmark colorfully tiled vaulted ceilings lending an air of space and a practical insulation againt the spread of fire and disaster.
For a broader perspective of architecture in action and mysteriously complex building methods from history, check out this pair of 360 Degree-imprint books from Tiger Tales Books. In Focus: Cities, created by Libby Walden, is a giant-sized volume depicting all aspects of life in 10 of the world’s best recognized cities, including the architectural styles that support that recognition. Find out how the cultures in each of these cities developed and interact with their built environment. Then explore some of the architectural monuments of the ancient world in Wonders of the World, written by Isabel Otter with illustrations by Margaux Carpenter of such amazing buildings as the Egyptian Pyramids and the more recently constructed, and still quite old, Taj Mahal.
Want to find out more about the building techniques used to make the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? Each of these wonders is a different kind of architecture, including monuments, temples, and even gardens. Right now you can download an e-galley of Albatros Media’s How the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Were Built. Author and illustrator Ludmila Henkova provides detailed information that is STEM-ready.
Want to explore architecture with some activities? Download our Activity Guide – Immigrant Architect and get busy!