Top 10 architecture & design books of 2022
Great reads on design, sustainable building, hideaway cabins and more
Find inspiration for your next self-build, renovation or interior design project with these beautifully presented books on architecture and interiors, many of which focus on how we can build more sustainably.
1. Vo Trong Nghia: Building Nature
With a studio that’s at the forefront of eco-design and sustainable practices, Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia has gained an international following. Trees are an integral part of his work, sprouting from buildings at all levels in the innovative houses, resort complexes and art installations he has created. The two-volume architecture books, Vo Trong Nghia: Building Nature (£50, Thames & Hudson,) describes his use of bamboo as a building material and explores how his adherence to Buddhist teachings has resulted in some calming spaces.
2. The Sustainable Home
According to figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the residential sector accounts for 20.8 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions. In The Sustainable Home: Easy Ways to Live with Nature in Mind (Pavilion Books, £14.99,) interiors writer and photographer Ida Magntorn seeks out the changes that go towards creating a home with less impact on the earth’s resources. From room to room, she delivers eco-friendly alternatives for appliances, paint and furniture, along with toxin-free cleaning materials. Go on a plastic diet or grow your own plants – we can all do something positive.
3. Northern Hideaways: Canadian Cottages and Cabins
Getting away from it all has a special meaning in Canada, where cabin hideaways, chalets and boathouses prompt deep relationships with the great outdoors. In Northern Hideaways: Canadian Cottages and Cabins (Images Publishing, £35,) enviable holiday homes connect with tall pine trees, majestic lakes and snow-dusted slopes. All share clean, contemporary lines and pared-down palettes of natural materials, with wood and stone bringing warm tones and texture. Many of the homes include passive and active systems to minimise their environmental impact.
4. Brick by Brick
Brick by Brick: Architecture and Interiors Built with Bricks (Gestalten, £45,) details how the humble building block came to shape our towns and cities, showcasing its contemporary use in UK homes and elsewhere. Salvaged, recycled, handcrafted and machine-made bricks are laid in intriguing ways, including lively perforated façades and mesmerising tessellating patterns.
5. House of Joy: Playful Homes and Cheerful Living
Homes both old and new are dressed up to surprise and delight in House of Joy: Playful Homes and Cheerful Living (Gestalten, £40,) a celebration of interior décor. Expect curves and arches, whimsical furniture and swathes of pattern and print. Above all, colour reigns supreme. Selected from around the world, the houses and apartments include Memphis references, nods to eclectic 1990s styling and present-day maximalism.
6. Beautiful Houses by the Water
The sparkle of sunlight or moonlight on the water is just one of the many pleasures of having a home on the shores of a lake, river or ocean. Beautiful Houses by the Water (The Images Publishing Group, £40,) explores how 37 enviable waterfront homes from across the globe fit in with their surrounding natural environments. The evocative images will tempt any prospective self-builder, and engaging descriptions set out the challenges and benefits of deciding to build in one of these unique locations.
7. Houses That Can Save the World
Making the world a better place starts at home, and that requires a design revolution. In Houses That Can Save the World (Thames & Hudson, £25,) Courtenay Smith and Sean Topham explore eco-friendly solutions to the environmental and social issues we’re facing. This architecture book looks at 19 home-building and design strategies from the perspective of architects, designers, engineers, self-builders and artists, illustrated by projects from across the world. Ranging from the hi-tech to the surprisingly simple, the ideas include turning rubbish into a construction material and creating floating neighbourhoods.
8. Remodelista: The Low-Impact Home
Being sustainable doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. That’s the ethos behind Remodelista: The Low-Impact Home by Margot Guralnick and Fan Winston (Artisan, £31.99,) and it’s one that will interest anyone considering an eco-friendly project. As well as featuring homes dedicated to low-impact living, it includes a room-by-room guide to impactful swaps such as air-drying clothes rather than tumble-drying. There are simple DIY projects, a guide to buying vintage items, and advice on everything from healthy paint to upgrading windows.
9. Pretty Small: Grand Living with Limited Space
Cheap to maintain, easy to run and with a low environmental impact, small homes are a housing solution for densely populated cities. See the inventive ways people have found to live in limited space in new book Pretty Small: Grand Living with Limited Space (Gestalten, £35). Partitions, mezzanines and bespoke built-in furniture are among the techniques employed in homes around the world. Materials, textures and colours are explored, along with some ingenious – and hidden – storage solutions.
10. Material Reform: Building for a Post-Carbon Future
Material Reform is a pocket-sized accessible guide to decarbonising our built environment. Through a series of snappy essays, interwoven with photography by Jess Gough, architects Paloma Gormley, Summer Islam and George Massoud explain how, by rethinking our relationship with materials and the land from which we extract them, we can adopt a more sustainable model of architecture. The book also details one of their most pioneering projects – the Flat House hempcrete barn conversion in Cambridgeshire.