ABLER, Ronald., ADAMS, John, and GOULD Peter.Spatial Organisation: the geographer's view of the world, Prentice-Hall, 1970. Unsurpassed after 50 years. Scanned versionBARTHOLOMEW, David., Building on Knowledge: Developing Expertise, Creativity and Intellectual Capital in the Construction Professions, Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.
BLACKMORE C., The Client's Tale: the role of the client in building buildings, RIBA Publications, 1990. An insightful (and rare) account from the client's point of view, and written in plain English.
BRAND S., How Buildings Learn: what happens after they are built, Penguin, 1994. Ridiculously, the British edition was banned for a while because it upset a designer, then it was re-issued with some of the good bits missing. A BBC documentary series of six episodes based on the same idea aired in 1997. How Buildings Learn Episode 1, Flow BBC, 1997 .
CAMPBELL J., Grammatical Man: information, entropy, language and life, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982. The section on redundancy and constraints in information theory is especially good.
COLE, Ray and LORCH, Richard (eds), Buildings, Culture and Environment: informing global and local practices, Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
COOPER, Gail, Air-conditioning America, London: Johns Hopkins University Press (1998) A classic of its kind, Should be required reading for all building designers.
HAWKEN, Paul, LOVINS, Amory and LOVINS, Hunter, Natural Capitalism, Earthscan Publications, London, 1999..
HELLER Robert., Culture Shock: the office revolution, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1990. Three decades down the road this is great hindsight reading, especially the parts that grapple with the effects of IT. The era is pre-internet, but e-mail is just on the map. The chapter on Rank Xerox shows how hard it is to make solid predictions, even in a relatively short timescale.
HELLMAN, Louis. Architecture for Beginners, A Writers and Readers Documentary Comic Book, 1984. The best short introduction to architecture, bar none.
From Architecture for Beginners, page 141
IGNATIEFF, Michael., The Needs of Strangers, Vintage Books, London, 1984. Extensively drawing from King Lear, this lucidly argues that natural justice should be based on needs not rights. A good starting point for an exploration of the theory of needs in the context of the modern welfare state.
KIDDER, Tracy, House, Mariner Books, London, 1999. Author's website
LIDDELL HART BH.,Strategy, Meridian Books, 1991. Hard to find classic on military strategy, but relevant to buildings.
LOVINS Amory B., Soft Energy Paths: Toward A Durable Peace, Penguin Books, 1977. In particular, chapter 2, Strategy, and chapter 10, Values.
MACMILLAN, Sebastian, Designing Better Buildings, Quality and Value in the Built Environment, Spon Press, 2004. The vexing questions of quality and value are let loose here.
MANKOFF, Robert, The New Yorker Book of Technology Cartoons, Bloomberg Press, 2000
MARKUS, Tom, Buildings and Power: freedom and control in the origin of modern building types, Routledge, 1993. Tom Markus was a pioneer of building evaluation studies in the 1970s.
MARS, Roman and KOHLSTEDT, Kurt, The 99% Invisible City: a field guide to the hidden world of everyday design, Hodder and Stoughton, 2020.
NORMAN, Donald, The Psychology of Everyday Things, New York: Basic Books, 1988, now retitled as The Design of Everyday Things in a later edition. The best starter book on usability.
NORMAN, Donald, Things That Make Us Smart: defending human attributes in the age of the machine, New York: Addison Wesley, 1993
NIELSEN, Jakob, Usability Engineering, Academic Press, 1993. The best from the Nielsen stable.
ORMAND, David, How Spies Think, Penguin, 2021. This could serve as the manual for 'real-world research'.
PERROW, Charles, Normal Accidents: Living with high-risk technologies, New York: Basic Books, 1984 The classic on technological fallibility in complex systems.
RAPOPORT, Amos, House Form and Culture, Prentice Hall, 1969. Downloadable from zlibrary
REASON, John, Human Error, Cambridge University Press, 1990 See also: Good and Bad Reasons: the Swiss cheese model and its critics The Covid-19 pandemic has given new impetus to Reason's ideas, and revived critiques.
ROBSON, Colin, Real World Research, Oxford: Blackwell, 1993, Second edition 2002. This is the methodology book to read if you want to carry out practical studies in real situations. Practical in an academic sort of way. The second edition is a thorough update and has more material than the first.
SCHWARTZ, Peter, The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World, John Wiley, 1991, 1996. The classic on scenario writing.
SCHNELLING, Thomas, Micromotives and Macrobehaviour, WW Norton and Co, 1978. Economist with attitude.
STEVENSON, Fionn, Housing Fit For Purpose: Performance, Feedback and Learning, RIBA Publishing, 2019. Click the graphic to go to Waterstones bookstore.
SIMON, Herbert, The Sciences of the Artificial, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1969. The chapter on The Architecture of Complexity (ch 4) is well worth wrestling.
TENNER, Edward., Why Things Bite Back: New technology and the revenge effect, Fourth Estate: London, 1996. Excellent cautionary tales. Coins and explains "revenge effects". This is a must read.
VALE, Brenda and Robert, Architecture On The Carpet: The Curious Tale of Construction Toys and the Genesis of Modern Buildings Thames and Hudson, 2013.
WADDINGTON, C.H., Tools for Thought. Out of print classic on how to think with models and statistics without being indoctrinated by them.
WEIZSÄCKER, E, LOVINS, A and LOVINS L, Factor Four: Doubling wealth, halving resource use, Earthscan, 1997, May. Too much hyperbole and repetition, but plenty of facts and examples as well. The 'have your cake and eat it' theme is questionable.
WOOLLEY, Tom, Natural Building: a guide to Materials and Techniques, Crowood Press, Marlborough,Wiltshire, 2006.
YOUNG, Michael, The Metronomic Society: Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables, Thames and Hudson, London, 1988. One of our favourites. Under-estimated (possibly because completely jargon-free) or perhaps because bookshops hardly ever classified it properly. We found it in the Health and Beauty section.