My Favorite Books on Architecture, Amman

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My Favorite Book Lists on Architecture and the Built Environment as published online by the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE ) in Amman

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, 1972
This novel makes you see cities differently. This book is like space; every time you revisit it has a different meaning. You should read it at the beginning of your architectural career. It will open a new world of spatial possibilities that will make sense every time you visit a new city. You should also read this book before you visit Venice.

Anthony Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely, 1992
This book is a series of essays on contemporary architecture using the uncanny and alienation as a way to understand why architecture can be fragmented. The complexity of space is related to the “unhomely” modern condition.

Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, 1967
All architects should be urbanists. This book is a manifesto about the city, the street, its media, its anarchy, and the visual interpretation of complex urban systems. It elevates the collective and participatory condition of culture into a mainstream popular approach.

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Learning From Las Vegas, 1972
Moving beyond looking at cities as romantic places made of historic squares and pedestrians, this book – through the analysis of Las Vegas – celebrates the system and dynamics of speed, of signs, of surfaces, and of artificiality. Read this book and then drive through the city.

Bernard Tschumi, Manhattan Transcripts, 1981
Architectural space, like a film script, can only be experienced through time. This book is a visual essay of photographs, notations, and tectonics, constructing narratives of experience and events to geometric spaces. I bought this book in Paris when I worked with Bernard Tschumi. The next day in the office, I understood better the Parc de la Villette project. Read this book before you visit New York.

Paul Virilio, War and Cinema, 1989
The technology of optics and war machines was in effect a simulation of space as image and representation. This book will open possibilities of looking at architectural space as illusion with edited sequence of scenes as though looking through a viewfinder. Read this book before you go to a film.

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