Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books (Yale University Press, 2009). Edited by Jo Steffens, with an introductory essay by Walter Benjamin.
A quick note to encourage everyone out there to pick up a copy of Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books. This handsome book features ten architects accompanied by pictures from their personal libraries. Each respondent also provides a list of their 10 favorite books. The book is based on an exhibit held at Urban Center Books.
As an aside, I'm trying to imagine how to use this book in the future. In writing the histories of these architects (or of the architecture profession in the early 21st century), what value would we assign to libraries and personal collections? This all stems from a nighttime discussion with colleagues regarding the value of personal ephemera, biographies, and autobiographies in understanding architectural objects. What, for example, would we make of the fact that several of the architects featured in Unpacking My Library listed Gravity's Rainbow as one of their 10 favorite books? Does owning this book become an indicator of good or smart design, or just impeccable taste?
What do you think?