Spring into summer with these enthralling architecture books

The Summer of New Releases

Spring into summer with these enthralling architecture books

These books explore everything from Rossi to ballparks. Pictured: PNC Park in Pittsburgh (Joshua Peacock/Unsplash)

A new crop of architecture, art, and urbanism books have come out just in time to make the summer reading list, and they span the range from biographies to ballparks. Worried about what to read over the long Memorial Day weekend? Check out one of the below books, and remember that any book can be a beach read if you’re brave enough.

A man leaning against a wall, with the text "Gropius" over his chest
The cover of Gropius: The Man Who Built the Bauhaus (Courtesy Belknap Press)

Gropius: The Man Who Built the Bauhaus
Fiona MacCarthy
Belknap Press (Harvard University Press)
MSRP $35.00

A slew of new books and reissues have arrived in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, but for those craving a bit more personal insight into the life of the notoriously uptight Walter Gropius, Fiona MacCarthy’s biography will be sure to scratch that itch.

While Gropius may not have led as libertine a life as his contemporary and Man in the Glass House subject Philip Johnson, Gropius paints a picture of the man as a disciplined collaborator, without whom Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier wouldn’t have been able to reach their full potential. While Gropius himself produced few built works, the book bearing his name argues that his influence can still be felt today.

A baseball stadium with the word "Ballpark" on top
The cover of Ballpark: Baseball in the American City (Courtesy Knopf)

Ballpark: Baseball in the American City
Paul Goldberger
MSRP $35.00

Is there a more American sport for the summer weather? Possibly, but as Paul Goldberger argues, baseball has been the most influential (hence the book’s title). The diamond’s shape and regulation size drive the design of not only ballparks, but, Goldberger argues, urban development and culture, as well. Train lines spring up to deliver sports fans to their stadiums, physical infrastructure of the venue changed to accommodate new media, and baseball stadiums continue to evolve alongside contemporary urban planning and design.

A cloud of black smoke, with the words "Aesthetics equals politics" in front
The cover of Aesthetics Equals Politics: New Discourses across Art, Architecture, and Philosophy (Courtesy The MIT Press)

Aesthetics Equals Politics: New Discourses across Art, Architecture, and Philosophy
Mark Foster Gage (Editor)
The MIT Press
MSRP $34.95

Can a broader understanding of the nebulous concept of “aesthetics” help us navigate these turbulent times? In Aesthetics Equals Politics, Mark Foster Gage and Matt Shaw rally architects, philosophers, writers, curators, and more in an attempt to create, or uncover, the framework on which to base new understandings of art and architecture.

Movement, abstraction, and art in the post-digital age are all examined, as is design at the small scale all the way up to the cosmic, in a series of essays from well-known practitioners and theorists.

A tan cover with a digitalized landscape, and the words "Architecture of Nature: Nature of Architecture" on top
The cover of Architecture of Nature: Nature of Architecture (Courtesy Applied Research & Design)

Architecture of Nature: Nature of Architecture
Diana Agrest
Applied Research & Design
MSRP $49.95

Eight years of collected research from “Architecture of Nature/ Nature of Architecture,” an advanced research graduate studio at the Cooper Union, have been compiled into a hardcover edition that lets each case study breathe. Splashy-full page diagrams and renderings complement research on volcanic activity, the spread of nuclear fallout, coral reef regeneration, “unrepressing” nature, and more.

Taken together, the projects in Architecture of Nature blur the lines between architecture and nature, revealing the hidden divisions that slice the Earth.

A white cover with floor plans at the bottom, and the name "Aldo Rossi" at the top
The cover of Aldo Rossi and the Spirit of Architecture (Courtesy Yale University Press)

Aldo Rossi and the Spirit of Architecture
Diane Ghirardo
Yale University Press
MSRP $65.00

Ghirardo’s new monograph bounces between Rossi’s work while never shying away from the personal life of the artist, architect, industrial designer, writer, and Pritzker winner. Biography and Rossi’s reflections on his own work are interwoven with examples of historical precedents to paint a fuller picture of how selected works were conceived and executed. Aldo Rossi examines the foundations of its subject’s work and reassesses (and reinforces) Rossi’s position at the base of the Postmodern movement.