We asked architecture/design writer Aric Chen-a contributing editor for Surface, I.D. and Interior Design magazines and the author of Campbell Kids: A Souper Century, which chronicles the changes in America through the ever-morphing Campbell soup kids: What are the best design books out there by or about Asians?
Maeda @ Media
By John Maeda (Universe Publishing)
I'm not especially computer-literate-though technology amazes me as much as anyone-which is why I'm drawn to John Maeda. Known for his influential work at the MIT Media Lab and recently appointed president of the Rhode Island School of Design, Maeda is a 2-D designer who wrests simplicity from complexity, defining a language for computer graphics that's at once astute, astonishing and humanistic. Presenting a wide range of his work, this book is a must for anyone interested in digital aesthetics and interface design.
On the Edge: Ten Architects from China
Edited by lan Luna and Thomas Tsang (Rizzoli)
A lot of attention has been focused on the work of leading Western architects like Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron in China. Little, however, is known of their Chinese counterparts. The reason is partly obvious: globally relevant Chinese architecture is still in its formative stages. But this book spotlights 10 leading Chinese practitioners who are shaping the field's development, providing some answers-and, more importantly, posing questions-about where contemporary Chinese architecture is heading.
House: American Houses for the New Century
By Cathy Lang Ho and Raul A. Barreneche (Universe Publishing)
Whether out of aspiration, inspiration or voyeurism, we seem to love looking at other people's homes. This book is a compendium of houses that offers as many beautiful images as your standard coffee table book. But it does so intelligently, lending insights into the social, cultural and psychological meanings of "home" while highlighting new materials and changes in lifestyle and building technologies-in essence, a deeper understanding of the implications and possibilities of residential architecture.