Architecture book for a wonderful grandpa.
October 28, 2007 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Giftfilter: I am looking for a book for my grandfather, a retired architect, as a thank you gift for building me a desk.

So my grandpa built me a beautiful eames-esque desk and I'd like to get him a thank you gift. I'm looking for a substantial, well-designed book for him, something that is a piece of art in it of itself.

My grandpa was an architect from the late 40's through the 90's. He worked in the Chicago area, designing many schools and churches. He loves the work of Fay Jones, says his work is "Frank Lloyd Wright done right." But he owns the only big book on him. He loves Mondrian, (not an architect I know, but some background) So it seems he has some Modernist leanings, but doesn't like much fine art after. He doesn't particularly love Frank Lloyd Wright, but likes Louis Sullivan.

So I'm looking for some suggestions for architects or architecture books (or other gifts I suppose) that he may enjoy. I live in Chicago, and was at Prairie Avenue Books yesterday, but it's a bit overwhelming if you don't know what you're looking for. I don't mind spending $100-200 if it's something that he would really enjoy. I'm a graphic designer, so A) I'm kind of picky about buying really well-designed books and B) I know how hard it is for people to buy something about your field for you.

posted by Sreiny to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I like Libraries by Candida Hofer.

Here are some of the photos. I'd say this is a safe bet because it's got a theme (the use of the room/building) other than one architectural style, so you're neither getting the "wrong" style nor trying to do better than your grandfather at finding a book on his favourite topic. And the photos are amazing no matter what one's preferences. (previously on metafilter)
posted by winston at 9:16 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Does he have Stewart Brand's "How Buildings Learn" yet?
posted by booth at 9:50 AM on October 28, 2007, except How Buildings Learn isn't such a work of art itself.
posted by booth at 9:51 AM on October 28, 2007

Why not a book on a slightly different topic?
- Edward Tufte. Beautiful Evidence.
- Wabi Sabi.
- Here's a Corbusier beauty.

Are you determined to get a book? Other architectural type presents:
- really beautiful modern birdhouse if he has a low apartment or house
- small Eames chair for his desk (the little minature ones)
- a really beautiful / modern desk lamp
- cufflinks if he wears them
- a trip with you to some kind of architectural event - opening at a museum, house tour, talk? Where is he? Could you go to see one of the Wright houses together? Or another famous house that requires tickets/planning?
posted by barnone at 1:38 PM on October 28, 2007

- Nelson ball clock. Classic! (More)
- Tivoli radio - for sitting outside, or at a desk, or while doing the crossword in an easy chair. Such a great gift.
- mini chairs
- awesome glasses
- lamps
- bird houses
- wine holder
- ModHaus - accessories and furniture
- carafe and wine glasses
- modern watch

I don't know -- he built you an amazing, gorgeous desk. I'd try to find something a little more personal than a book (even a gorgeous one at that) unless he's particularly a book lover.
posted by barnone at 2:00 PM on October 28, 2007

- Globe (zillions out there)
- Richard Serra book
- something else from MoMA

Good luck!
posted by barnone at 2:07 PM on October 28, 2007

Wow. Your grandpa is great. The desk is beautiful! How about The Way Things Work, by David Macauley to appeal to his "I know how to do stuff" chops.

Then there's Lost Chicago, although every Chicago architect I know already has this.
posted by nax at 3:54 PM on October 28, 2007

Perhaps something on Mies van der Rohe?
Or, in a different direction, The Woodbook?
posted by me3dia at 1:19 PM on October 29, 2007

Anyone there? What did you decide on?
posted by barnone at 6:18 PM on October 29, 2007

Response by poster: Hi, some very great answers in there. It made me think about if a book is the right choice of a gift. There wasn't one suggestions which an "ahha!" there was more than one, so I'm going to take a few days to think about the different options. I still think it might be a book though, if it's the right one, a beautiful book is something he can interact with, read, learn, enjoy. Also, I might add, that though he enjoys modernism, his house and the decorations are not of that period, but earlier, more small-town Illinois. So I'm going to go back to Prairie Books with your suggestions and check out some of these books. I'm also going to look at the momastore though and see some of the other suggestions you had.

(I should have added earlier though too, that I'm covering the cost of the materials, so this gift is purely a thank you.)

Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions!
posted by Sreiny at 12:49 PM on October 30, 2007

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