Home Graphic novel Six architecture and design books to read this fall

Six architecture and design books to read this fall


Almost without realizing it, three of the six books we’ve picked to read this fall talk, each in their own way, about climate change, ecology and sustainability. An unconscious choice, perhaps, because more and more often these subjects are presented with unexpected techniques or points of view, or are inserted between the folds of other themes, even very different from each other.

Consider, for example, the extraordinary book The planet after geoengineering by Design Earth. It shows what happens when two artists tackle a subject as complex as geoengineering. Through five neat graphic novels, Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy present as many geohistories and possible futures. British historian Barnabas Calder also takes a wacky approach to the subject – in the literal sense of “far from the center” – with his monumental essay (576 pages) Architecture from prehistory to climate emergency, which traces 15,000 years of architectural history, considered more of an energy-consuming bulimic than anything else. As designers, Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi ask, “How can we make more informed choices when deciding to select one wood-based material over another? Cambio, which means “change”, is their response: a research and a project that continues to grow enriched by welcoming new contributions.

We then selected three biographies that show how multifaceted and surprising this genre is. The most classic is that of the writer Jonathan Lee, who recreates the semi-unknown life of the father of “Greater New York” Andrew Haswell Green, mixing fantasy and historical research. To Green, we owe – to say the least – Central Park and the New York Public Library. Then there is the career of one of the most important automotive designers in the world (architect by training), Fabio Filippini, told in collaboration with Gabriele Ferraresi and illustrated by himself.

Finally, the collection of Milanese affair by Alvar Aaltissimo: in Italian, “alto” means big, and you say “altissimo” of a really tall person, but you can also use it to refer to God: The book, with exquisite drawings and pop satire who made his author famous on social networks, says a lot about himself and his generation.