To cap off 2013, ARCHITECT asked a few critics and contributors to list their favorite architecture and design books of 2013. This informal panel picked books that even devoted design readers may have overlooked, plus some titles that no one can afford to miss. Here are seven titles they named as their favorites of the year (and one editor’s pick for good measure).
Never Built Los Angeles, by Sam Lubell, Greg Goldin, and Thom Mayne, FAIA (foreword) (Metropolis Books, July 2013)
An impressive volume in tribute to visionaries, lost causes, and broken dreams, Never Built Los Angeles gazes backwards at the city’s unrealized architecture with little nostalgia. More robustly historical than the exhibition it accompanied, the catalog spells out many of the backstories to the vanquished projects—the power plays and missteps that proved their undoing. Chock full of skyscrapers and civic schemes, the books also testifies to the soft spot that Lubell and Goldin have for monorails and (more justifiably) for the 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew Plan for the Los Angeles Region, which would have established green space before the sprawl. —Mimi Zeiger