Dezeen’s top 11 architecture and design books of 2022

Continuing our review of 2022, we look at 11 page-turning books published on design and architecture this year, including a tome on the century’s best British houses and a “cookbook” of experimental food designs.

The selected titles represent many of the major themes and hot-button topics of the last 12 months, from the role of demolitions in the face of climate change to the lack of LGBTQ+ equality in the design industry.

Here are Dezeen’s top 11 books of 2022:


Photo by Jim Stephenson

21st Century Houses by Dominic Bradbury

This book profiles the “best of the best” modern British homes, from House on the Hill by Alison Brooks to ACME’s shingle-covered Bumpers Oast residence (pictured top and above), which is modelled on traditional Kentish hop-drying kilns.

Their backstories are illustrated via more than 300 photographs, plans and sketches, alongside an extensive list of tips for homeowners who are looking to commission an architect to build their own 21st-century house.

Find out more about 21st Century Houses ›


Model holding a tote bag with flowers in it from SS22 lookbook by Orange Culture, as photographed by Jolaoso Wasiu Adebayo
Photo by Jolaoso Wasiu Adebayo

Circular Design for Fashion by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Part instruction manual part manifesto, this book from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation shares practical insights from more than 88 global brands and designers on how fashion can be designed for a circular economy.

“All of the contributors we have in the book go beyond designing aesthetically attractive, durable products with materials that are sourced sustainably, and incorporate aspects of community, place and designing for a better system,” editor Elodie Rousselot told Dezeen.

Find out more about Circular Design for Fashion ›


On the Street book
Photo by Galerie Thomas Zander

On the Street: In-Between Architecture by Edwin Heathcote

This book pays homage to the small-but-mighty domain of street furniture – from phone boxes to 5G masts – and the outsized impact it can have on how we experience our towns and cities.

Author and architecture critic Edwin Heathcote chronicles how these seemingly small interventions have influenced public life throughout history, as when streetlighting ushered in the birth of nightlife.

Find out more about On the Street ›


LA Pottery Studio, USA, by Raina Lee and Mark Watanabe
Photo by Philip Cheung

Work From Shed by Hoxton Mini Press

A stilted hut for ceramic production (pictured) and a photography studio with corrugated plastic walls feature in this book, profiling garden studios, garages and sheds from around the world.

The book is a response to the more fluid way of working that was brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdowns.

“Working from home is so personal it allows for much greater expression as to what a working space can look like,” said the book’s creative director Martin Usborne. “We wanted to explore and celebrate that.”

Find out more about Work From Shed›


Near Future Algae Symbiosis Suit: Prototype by Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta in the Anthropocene Cookbook
Photo by Burton Nitta

Anthropocene Cookbook by Zane Cerpina and Stahl Stenslie

As climate change begins to threaten the food security of the world’s growing population, artists Zane Cerpina and Stahl Stenslie curated an anthology of experimental food designs that imagine how humanity could feed itself going forward.

Proposals range from artificial organs populated by algae (pictured) to whisky made from urine, with the aim to provoke creative thinking about the existential challenges facing humanity.

Find out more about Anthropocene Cookbook ›


The council House book by Jack Young
Photo by Jack Young

The Council House by Jack Young

Close to 70 of London’s “most innovative and iconic” examples of council housing are captured in this book by photographer Jack Young, which hopes to challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding these unappreciated buildings.

“They are so often depicted in black and white photography,” Young told Dezeen. “Or on a dark wet night as the gritty backdrop to a television drama.”

Find out more about The Council House ›


Queer Spaces

Queer Spaces by Adam Nathaniel Furman and Joshua Mardell

This atlas – launched as the UK marked 50 years of Pride celebrations – chronicles the design of 90 different LGBTQ+ spaces from around the world, ranging from a Sheffield working-class pub-turned-gay sauna to a windowless home for a same-sex couple in Japan that was designed to keep out prying eyes.

“Queer Spaces is an accessible new history for an area of architecture that has been ridiculed, othered and dismissed for too long,” explained London designer Adam Nathaniel Furman and historian Joshua Mardell, who co-authored the book.

Find out more about Queer Spaces ›


Photo by Doublespace

Rocky Mountain Modern by John Gendall

This book, from American architecture critic John Gendall, showcases contemporary examples of Rocky Mountain modernism – a residential style influenced by the modern architecture movement and the unique geography of North America’s longest mountain range.

The selected projects represent the region’s varied landscapes, stretching from Golden, New Mexico, all the way up to Golden, British Columbia, while responding to pressing environmental concerns such as water conservation, habitat preservation and energy management.

Find out more about Rocky Mountain Modern ›


Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa, by Heatherwick Studio
Photo by Iwan Baan

Building for Change by Ruth Lang

The viability of demolitions and their waste of embodied carbon in the face of the climate crisis was a hotly debated topic this year, battled out in high-profile cases such as the M&S Oxford Street redevelopment.

In her book Building for Change, author Ruth Lang makes the case for the reuse of existing buildings by highlighting projects that prove that renovations don’t need to be dull – among them Heatherwick Studio’s transformation of a Cape Town grain silo into an art gallery (pictured).

“I’m hoping that clients and building owners can be convinced that reuse doesn’t negatively impact the overall quality and creativity of the proposed scheme, and can instead have a financial and environmental bonus,” she told Dezeen.

Find out more about Building for Change ›


Drawing from Video Game Atlas
Drawing by You+Pea

Videogame Atlas by You + Pea

From Fornite to Assassin’s Creed, this book by research studio You + Pea looks at how the architecture of video games can shape players’ gaming experience, illustrated through drawings and playful diagrams like the ones typically found in 20th-century architecture publications.

“In many cases, architecture is extremely important,” the studio said. “Dark Souls uses carefully planned circulation routes, lighting conditions and transitions from tight to open spaces to promote tension in the player.”

“Architecture also helps to situate the player character in the story and surrounding culture of the world, to create a lifelike and immersive experience but also to signal limits – what we can and cannot do within the world.”

Find out more about Videogame Atlas ›


Tricorn House in Birmingham
Photo courtesy of The Brutiful Action Group

Birmingham: The Brutiful Years by Sharonjit Sutton

With brutalist developments such as the town centre in Cumbernauld, Scotland, in danger of demolition across the UK, this book seeks to celebrate the few prime examples of the modern architectural style that are still standing in Birmingham.

Published by The Modernist Society, it contains essays on 22 of the city’s seminal brutalist buildings – from the Central Library to the Repertory Theatre – many of which continue to be under threat.

Find out more about Birmingham: The Brutiful Years ›