Gifts for Architects - part 1
Presents for Architects and Building Lovers
What on earth can an innocent bystander find as the perfect present for an architect or architecture lover?
As the friend or relative of an architect you know the sad truth: architects are picky and hard to shop for.
But here's help! A few ideas for graduation, birthday, and holiday presents that your building-ophile may love.
Let's Start - - -
With the overtly Architectural
These are gifts that are the most obviously architectural. Gifts that have, you know, buildings on 'em or such.
Whenever you're searching through bookstores or catalogs, here are a few magic names,subjects, periods, or phrases to look for, which have a high rate of return in leading to architecturally interesting things:
Cities (as in the Architecture of Paris/Rome/etc.)
Classical (as in Architecture)
Countries (as in the Architecture of France/Italy/etc.)
Charles and Ray Eames
Greene and Greene
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Mies van der Rohe
Frank Lloyd Wright
Why be so solemn? So serious? Why not an architecture toy to play with on the desk top - or the nursery floor?
Build your own Parthenon.
Go for Baroque!
A sketch by architect le Corbusier
Architecture may have been invented just to fill beautiful coffee-table books. But some of these are more than pretty pictures.
A thoughtful read on design and its emotional effects.
I'm in the middle or re-reading this right now and I'm struck again by how wise and how nuanced Alain de Botton's discussion of architecture, beauty, and our emotional responses to these are. A Must Read!
A wonderful, wonderful house house. (I wish this popped up!)
A fascinating real-life design solution to a tough problem. I read this with great interest - while traveling, which tests a book's attention grabbing ability. Without spoilers, there's a great CLASSIC! innovative engineering solution to the dome problem. Really clever idea.
It's architecture and it pops up - 'nuf said. Love this book.
An absolutely lush photography book of Versailles' gardens throughout the year. I own it and love it.
Atget's photos are classic -it'd be fascinating to see how the city has changed. Besides, Paris is gorgeous.
I'm reading this now and it's a terrific book! Like all Rybczynski's wriing it's clear, well-written, and thoughtful... but this is also the best explanation I've seen for how architects think and what the Art of modern buildings is all about. Higly recommended! for students, practicing architects, and anyone who wants to understand what it is they're going on about!
Keep 'em Sketching
Sketching with pencil, pen, or, better still, watercolors will keep your architect (or you) happy for hours! Sketching is the perfect activity for vacations and spare minutes... perfect for really studying and understanding architecture and landscapes.
This book on watercolor sketching is specifically written for architects and designers. Its text is spare and to-the-point - its illustrations are lavish, beautiful, and wonderfully instructive.
A jewel of a book!
Small enough to carry into the field and useful in the studio too.
Truly an inspiring book. The best way to study architecture is to sketch it.
Architectural (and Art) Book Stores
Look through some of these specialty bookstores for those hard-to find architectural tomes.
- Rizzoli New York
A fabulous art and architecture bookstore. Here's the architecure website, but browse around!
- William Stout Books
San Francisco's great architectural bookstore.
- Chicago Architecture Foundation bookshop
And Chicago's Architecture Foundation has a good book department (picking up a theme here? Cities with great architecture have great architecture bookstores. Weird.)
- Hennessey Ingalls
I haven't tried this bookstore, but it looks promising.
Like Rizzoli, TASCHEN is a publisher of art and architecture books.
- Strand Book Store
This is a New York City classic. One of the great book stores, where you can browse for hours. (And I have recently, lucky me.) A good place to find out of print books. Perhaps the city's largest art and design (and architecture) departments.
Frank Lloyd Wright sketch of the Guggenheim museum.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Our most famous American architect. And one of the most influential too.
Elegant and useful too.
This is a rather elegant and understated clock.
Frank Lloyd Wright on eBay
What goodies can eBay find on the master architect Frank Lloyd Wright today?
Manufacturers and Merchants of - - - - Architectural Products and Gifts
A watch an architect would love.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has many architectural gifts - this is one of the most beautiful (click on the pic to jump to their webpage).
The Bauhaus school (1919-1933) was one of the springboards of the new Modernist style that profoundly changed architecture and continues to inflence designers today.
A history of the school.
There's a clean, undecorated, sculptural shape to Modernist designs.
I love the combined geometries of this pitcher.
Cool way to stack up those architectural tomes! Books as sculpture.
How elegantly simple and fluid a shape - with the clever, minimalist handle.
Mid-Century Modern on eBay
What mid-century modern goodies are on the market today?
Now this would be a BIG present... but maybe that's what's needed.
Mid-century modern furniture - the real thing, the collectible, original,genuine stuff - from a company in Houston that started on Ebay, then added a brick-and-mortar showroom and warehouse. (Backwards, huh?) MetroRetro. Nowadays they sell furniture from the website and in person.
I haven't bought from them myself, but I HAVE pressed my nose to their showroom window in pure wanting... (See that nose-print? Mine.) They have a constantly changing inventory of cool architectural Modern furniture. Click on the pic to reach their home page.
Sketch of the Kimball Art Museum, Fort Worth by Andrew Lewis
Museums with Architecture/Art/Book Shops
Great museums often have good architectural book sections - and may have other interesting goods too.
- Chicago Architecture Foundation shop
Books sure, but lots of other goodies.
- Museum of Modern Art
MOMA has pretty cool (Modernist obviously) stuff.
- National Building Museum
All about buildings.
- Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation store
All things FLW.
- Kimbell Art Museum
Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum houses a fine collection of architecture books in its shop... especially on Kahn himself. Here's that page.
Perfectly Architectural Mouse Pad
From Louis Kahn's Kimbell Museum of Art
A close up photo of some of the most beautiful concrete in the world.
Ceramic tiles can be a beautiful piece of art.
These hand-crafted tiles, by Motawi, evoke the wonderful Craftsman Style tiles and structural terracotta of the turn of the last century.
(Click on the picture to reach the tile maker.)
More Architectural Gifts
- Architect Gifts Plus
A website offering - architecture gifts.
- La Femme Architecte
Advice on gifts for architecture students.
- Architect Gift Ideas
Another Squidoo Lens with different suggestions.
- Life of a Architect blog - 2011 gift list
This is a great blog! And a very thoughtful list of suggested presents.
Architecture on eBay
What pops up under the "Architecture" category today?
There are some terrific blogs on contemporary design. One of my favorites is that of Soodie Beasley. (Click on the pic!)
Visionary architect Paolo Solari may be almost as famous for his bells as for Arcosanti, his amazing megastructure-building-city in Arizona.
What Does eBay Have That's Architectural?
(Never any telling what pops up...)
Like This Lens?
If you enjoyed your visit to the strange world-view of architects and feel like tipping your hat (or tossing a bouquet), please click a "Like" button below. One is for Squids, but the Facebook "Like" works for everyone. Or, you know, tell your friends. Email your Mom. Or leave a message.
All much appreciated!