5 Illustrated Books Every Architect Will Love

5 Illustrated Books Every Architect Will Love

There’s an inherent relation between architecture and drawings, and it has been deeply explored by different artists, which has resulted in impressive items that will surely be objects of desire for architects and architecture lovers. Here’s a selection of five illustrated books that you’ll absolutely want to read.

Asterios Polyp

This graphic novel by David Mazzcchuelli follows the story of Asterios, a paper architect, professor and aesthete who loves to daydream and theorize with unbelievable issues. One day, a fire in his apartment forces him to leave his comfort zone and move to a little town that is very different from everything he’s used to. The two parallel narrative lines (past and present) create an interesting contrast that is enhanced visually. This story presents lots of interesting dissertations on human perception and relationships, as well as design theory, all in connection with the space representation through illustrations. A true work of art.

Bricks and Balloons: Architecture in Comic-Strip Form

This story developed by Mélanie van der Hoorn exposes her experience and findings as a cultural anthropologist around the dialogue between comic strips and architecture. It’s no secret that drawings play a key role in the architectural creative process, and the author pretends to dig deep in this exploration through this fascinating work. She analyzes some great architects’ and comic book artists’ work through interviews and captivating images. It’s a great way of celebrating the connection between two art forms.

Batman: Death by Design

Chip Kidd and Dave Taylor are behind this great object of desire for both Batman fans and architecture lovers. The story is set in Gotham City, which is experiencing one of the biggest construction booms in its history. Bruce Wayne plays a key role in this process as chairman of the Gotham Landmarks Commission. The problem starts with a series of design-related malfunctions that cause disaster all over the city, and Batman must come and solve the chaos. Batman’s characteristic noir style is present through all this book, which merges the thrilling comic feeling with meticulously developed and immersive images.

The City: A Vision in Woodcuts

Frans Maseree had a great career in the graphic novel world, and many say that this is his most impressive work. This is the most antique item in this list, since it was published almost a century ago. It is an incredible and innovative approach to urbanism that remains current even now. Completely visual, this book shows in different vignettes the daily life in a city through representations of workers, military parades and celebrations framed by the city’s structure. 

Undocumented: Architecture of Migrant Detention

This graphic narrative is a tough but necessary approach to the lines that divide people. It is a strong critique that features trapped kids, divided families, people who are jailed for years and many other stories of migrant detention policies. This edition combines sketches, journalist findings and comics to present an extensive approach to a complex and actual problem. 



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