Library

Recommended architecture books selected by Manhatta Architecture, P.C.

AIA Guide to New York City
By Norval White, Elliot Willensky, Fran Leadon

Hailed as "extraordinarily learned" (New York Times), "blithe in spirit and unerring in vision," (New York Magazine), and the "definitive record of New York's architectural heritage" (Municipal Art Society), Norval White and Elliot Willensky's book is an essential reference for everyone with an interest in architecture and those who simply want to know more about New York City.

First published in 1968, the AIA Guide to New York City has long been the definitive guide to the city's architecture. Moving through all five boroughs, neighborhood by neighborhood, it offers the most complete overview of New York's significant places, past and present. The Fifth Edition continues to include places of historical importance--including extensive coverage of the World Trade Center site--while also taking full account of the construction boom of the past 10 years, a boom that has given rise to an unprecedented number of new buildings by such architects as Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, and Renzo Piano. All of the buildings included in the Fourth Edition have been revisited and re-photographed and much of the commentary has been re-written, and coverage of the outer boroughs--particularly Brooklyn--has been expanded. 

Famed skyscrapers and historic landmarks are detailed, but so, too, are firehouses, parks, churches, parking garages, monuments, and bridges. Boasting more than 3000 new photographs, 100 enhanced maps, and thousands of short and spirited entries, the guide is arranged geographically by borough, with each borough divided into sectors and then into neighborhood. Extensive commentaries describe the character of the divisions.

Knowledgeable, playful, and beautifully illustrated, here is the ultimate guided tour of New York's architectural treasures. 

Since its original publication in 1978, Delirious New York has attained mythic status. Back in print in a newly designed edition, this influential cultural, architectural, and social history of New York is even more popular, selling out its first printing on publication. Rem Koolhaas's celebration and analysis of New York depicts the city as a metaphor for the incredible variety of human behavior. At the end of the nineteenth century, population, information, and technology explosions made Manhattan a laboratory for the invention and testing of a metropolitan lifestyle -- "the culture of congestion" -- and its architecture.

"Manhattan," he writes, "is the 20th century's Rosetta Stone . . . occupied by architectural mutations (Central Park, the Skyscraper), utopian fragments (Rockefeller Center, the U.N. Building), and irrational phenomena (Radio City Music Hall)." Koolhaas interprets and reinterprets the dynamic relationship between architecture and culture in a number of telling episodes of New York's history, including the imposition of the Manhattan grid, the creation of Coney Island, and the development of the skyscraper.Delirious New York is also packed with intriguing and fun facts and illustrated with witty watercolors and quirky archival drawings, photographs, postcards, and maps. The spirit of this visionary investigation of Manhattan equals the energy of the city itself.

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid
By Marianne Cusato, Ben Pentreath, Richard Sammons, Leon Krier

Marianne Cusato, creator of the award-winning Katrina Cottages, is a champion of traditional architectural principles: structural common sense, aesthetics of form, appropriateness to a neighborhood, and sustainability. She presents the definitive guide to what makes houses look and feel right, revealing the dos and don'ts of livable home design. Hundreds of elegant line drawings--rendering the varieties of architectural features and displaying “avoid” and “use” versions of the same elements side by side--make this an indispensable resource for designing and building a timelessly beautiful home.

Guide to New York City Landmarks
By New York Landmarks Preservation Commission

The official guide to New York's must-see buildings

Yes, it's a wonderful town, and this book gives you more than 1,200 reasons why. With a host of new landmarks, 80 two-color, easy-to-read maps, and more than 200 photographs, this new edition of the official and only complete guide to New York's landmarks will make every visitor feel like a native--and turn every native into a wide-eyed tourist. New to this edition are more than 75 recently designated landmarks and 10 new historic districts, with a new focus on neighborhoods with local history and details explaining some of the more remarkable buildings in the districts. Includes a Foreword by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is the New York City agency responsible for protecting and preserving New York City's architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings. Founded in 1965 after the destruction of the original Penn Station, the Commission consists of 11 commissioners, including at least three architects, a historian, a realtor, a planner or landscape architect, as well as a representative of each borough.

New York 1880: Architecture and Urbanism in the Gilded Age
By Robert A.M. Stern, Thomas Mellins, David Fishman

This is the fourth volume in architect and historian Robert A. M. Stern's monumental series of documentary studies of New York City architecture and urbanism. The three previous books in the series, New York 1900New York 1930, and New York 1960, have comprehensively covered the architects and urban planners who defined New York over the course of the twentieth century.

In this volume, Stern turns back to 1880 -- the end of the Civil War, the beginning of European modernism -- to trace the earlier history of the city. This dynamic era saw the technological advances and acts of civic and private will that formed the identity of New York City as we know it today. The installation of water, telephone, and electricity infrastructures as well as the advent of electric lighting, the elevator, and mass transit allowed the city to grow both out and up. The office building and apartment house types were envisioned and defined, changing the ways that New Yorkers worked and lived. Such massive public projects as the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park became realities, along with such private efforts as Grand Central Station.

Like the other three volumes, New York 1880 is an in-depth presentation of the buildings and plans that transformed New York from a harbor town into a world-class metropolis. A broad range of primary sources -- critics and writers, architects, planners, city officials -- brings the time period to life and allows the city to tell its own complex story. The book is generously illustrated with over 1,200 archival photographs, which show the city as it was, and as some parts of it still are.

New York 1900: Metropolitan Architecture and Urbanism 1890-1915
By Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin, John Massengale

This book is the middle volume of a three-part work devoted to the evolution of New York's architecture and urbanism in the Metropolitan Era, the three-quarters of a century from the Civil War's conclusion through the depression of the 1930s.

New York 1930: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Two World Wars
By Robert A.M. Stern, Gregory F. Gilmartin, Thomas Mellins

This highly acclaimed volume is the ultimate reference on this period, closely documents the alternately giddy and depressed decades between the two world wars when New York first transformed itself into a skyscraper city. Every important building of the era is described with vital background information and ample archival photographs.

This is the third volume (and the fourth chronologically) in architect and historian Robert A. M. Stern's monumental series of documentary studies of New York City architecture and urbanism. New York 1880, New York 1900, and New York 1930 have comprehensively covered the architects and urban planners who defined New York from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.

The post-World War II era witnessed New York's reign as the unofficial but undisputed economic and artistic capital of the world. By the mid-1970s, the city had experienced a profound reversal, and both its economy and its reputation were at a historic nadir. The architectural history of the period offered an exceptionally abundant and varied mix of building styles and types, from the faltering traditionalism of the 1940s through the heyday of International Style modernism in the 1950s and 1960s to the incipient postmodernism of the 1970s.

Organized geographically, New York 1960 provides an encyclopedic survey of the city's postwar architecture as well as relating a coherent story about each of its diverse neighborhoods. Primary sources are emphasized, including the commentaries of the preeminent architecture critics of the day; the text is illustrated exclusively with a rich collection of period photographs.

Touted by Publisher's Weekly as "an unprecedented record," the new book in the New York series, New York 2000, is indeed an exceptional survey of this great city's architectural heritage. As the world's financial and cultural capital, New York demands the best in architectural design and balances the constant pressure to build with the need to preserve its historic fabric. 

Author Robert A. M. Stern and his colleagues trace the rise and fall of the real estate market, the impact of the designation of historic districts and new zoning on development, and the emergence of new commercial and residential centers. The survey is organized geographically, moving north from Lower Manhattan and covering the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island as well. 

New York 2000 documents milestones in the city's architectural history over the past forty years—the development of Battery Park City, the rebirth of Harlem and Times Square, the creation of the cultural precinct around the new MoMA, and the reclaiming of the waterfront along the East and Hudson Rivers as recreational parkland—and celebrates the achievements of internationally recognized architects such as Sir Norman Foster, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier, and Renzo Piano.

A collection of one hundred rare, previously unpublished New York photographs, taken in duotone with a large-format camera, features informative captions and background essays and includes images of such subjects as Trinity Church, Coney Island, and Yankee Stadium. 25,000 first printing.

A direct and fundamentally optimistic indictment of the short-sightedness and intellectual arrogance that has characterized much of urban planning in this century, The Death and Life of Great American Cities has, since its first publication in 1961, become the standard against which all endeavors in that field are measured. In prose of outstanding immediacy, Jane Jacobs writes about what makes streets safe or unsafe; about what constitutes a neighborhood, and what function it serves within the larger organism of the city; about why some neighborhoods remain impoverished while others regenerate themselves. She writes about the salutary role of funeral parlors and tenement windows, the dangers of too much development money and too little diversity. Compassionate, bracingly indignant, and always keenly detailed, Jane Jacobs's monumental work provides an essential framework for assessing the vitality of all cities.

One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and the Francis Parkman prizes, The Power Broker tells the hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state) and makes public what few have known: that Robert Moses was, for almost half a century, the single most powerful man of our time in New York, the shaper not only of the city's politics but of its physical structure and the problems of urban decline that plague us today.

In revealing how Moses did it--how he developed his public authorities into a political machine that was virtually a fourth branch of government, one that could bring to their knees Governors and Mayors (from La Guardia to Lindsay) by mobilizing banks, contractors, labor unions, insurance firms, even the press and the Church, into an irresistible economic force--Robert Caro reveals how power works in all the cities of the United States. Moses built an empire and lived like an emperor. He personally conceived and completed public works costing 27 billion dollars--the greatest builder America (and probably the world) has ever known. Without ever having been elected to office, he dominated the men who were--even his most bitter enemy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, could not control him--until he finally encountered, in Nelson Rockefeller, the only man whose power (and ruthlessness in wielding it) equalled his own.