(2016) Holiday Gift Guide for Architects

Most architects appreciate the thoughtfulness of well-crafted items; hence, they are nitpicky and can be extremely frustrating to shop for. Peering through their non-prescription black spectacles they constantly critique inferior design. However, all architects are relatively easy to shop for if you follow these 4 confined parameters.

My wife said she wasn’t getting me any gifts this year, but instead of being really depressed – the following are amazing gifts she has given to me in the past (with a few sprinklings of wishlist items). So, unlike many other Wish Lists on the interwebs that claim to be for architects, I can enthusiastically proclaim that this list is architect approved.



frameGraphic Guide to Frame Construction: Fourth Edition

by Rob Thallon $20.42 Paperback

Bob Borson recommended this book for his annual Gift List in 2014 – and I received it when it was the 3rd Edition. This is probably the most invaluable residential construction details guidebook. It is the only book I keep on my desk for reference, and another guy in my firm noticed it and said he had the 1st edition. Actually he has a 3 ring binder with the pages inserted – so it might be pre-1st Edition. However, I don’t know what the updated edition contains since most of the pages are the same – I guess construction practices haven’t changed either.


A Burglar’s Guide to the City

by Geoff Manaugh    $10.87 Paperback

I do not own this book (yet); however, all reviews reveal that Geoff Manaugh has followed up the incredible The BLDG BLOG Book with another fascinating exploration of the built environment. If you are interested in architecture, design, sewer-systems, or how to execute the ultimate bank heist then Geoff Manaugh probably covers it in A Burglar’s Guide to the City.


Lost Utopias: Photographs by Jade Doskow

by Jade Doskow    $29.32 Hardcover

Lost Utopias is the completion of an 8 year journey by Jade Doskow to photograph the remaining vestiges of past World’s Fairs. I usually don’t like photography books or simple coffee table books lacking narrative or deep exploration, but the allure of each photograph in this book has several layers of depth. I try to personify Roland Barthes (author of Camera Lucida) and try to act super smart by discovering the profoundness in each photograph, and then explain to my cat (who’s sitting on the images) that her derriere epitomizes the dystopian degradation of temporary festival architecture.


Manual of Section

by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis    $23.97 Paperback

Paul Rudolph was reincarnated, and then divided into 3 separate entities of Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis to reintroduce the value of the section perspective. The section is the most valuable drawing to visualize space (over plan and elevation) and some of the world’s greatest buildings are expertly drawn in this captivating book. The beautiful drawings alone make me want to own this book.




 Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge

by PetFusion   $49.95

If Frank Gehry were to manufacture cardboard cat furniture – this would probably be better. It is a lounger, a scratcher, and still looks attractive in the center of the room in front of the fireplace to warm a kittie’s belly ruff. Plus, if it gets too clawed up on one side you could always flip it over for when company comes over.


 Olivari Open  – Door Handle

by Olivari (Designed by OMA/Koolhaas)   Price Unknown

I have no clue where you can buy Olivari door hardware. You probably would need a door rep specializing in European manufacturers to source this door handle. However, this is the most attractive door handle I have ever seen and I wanted to add it to a list I could reference in the future. Designed by OMA (Rem Koolhaas) for Olivari – it is simple and stunning and excludes any unnecessary embellishments. 1 round escutcheon + 1 flat bar = perfect door handle.


 Cylinder Magnets

by Bindertek   $12.00

Aren’t you tired of tacky fridge magnets that slide down your fridge when you stack too many christmas cards using the same magnet? Then get these rare earth neodymium magnets. The cylinder magnets are preferred – as you can easily grasp them. There (probably) isn’t a preferred brand for these, but if you search the interwebs for neodymium cylinder magnets – all of the search results make you purchase in bulk from Alibaba.



by IKEA   $3.99 (2 pack)

I’m sure when you hear the name IKEA you instantly think about that Swedish franchise restaurant with the tasty meatballs; but they also sell simple and elegant household furniture and hardware. These simple hooks have concealed hardware and can be attached to any surface (screws not included). The word grundtal translates to cardinal number. I will order 3 numbers please.



jeansNaked & Famous
  – Skinny Guy Selvedge Jeans

Naked & Famous   $140.00

I know architects are supposed to wear black, but jeans are rarely relegated to only Fridays in most architecture offices. Naked & Famous jeans have an amazing fit, and are worth the money if you aren’t comparing the price tag to the Gap. These jeans are made from the highest quality Japanese raw selvedge denim. Since the denim is raw (and not pre-washed) they are slightly stiff and need to be “broken in” for a month prior to washing. I wear my pair all of the time, and still haven’t washed them.

After writing that sentence it sounds gross. I think I will wash them now, and in the meantime – blame any foul odors on someone else in the office. Or I should just buy another pair.

  – Leather phone case

bellroy   $44.95

This is an attractive leather phone case that also hold two credit cards and an ID. Some people respond, “Why would you want all your life attached to your phone? If you lose your phone – you lose everything.” But now if I lose my ID, I log into iCloud and find my phone and ID. I mean, previously when I lost my wallet – I lost my wallet.

It is supposed to hold 2 credit cards, an ID, and a small folded bill. However, Montana ID’s are ridiculously thick and mine only holds one credit card, one ID, and a folded (emergency) $20 bill. But it’s perfect for going out at night.

Black Skinny Tie

Nordstroms   $49.50

A thin black tie should be an essential article of clothing – equivalent to a women’s little black dress. I rarely dress up, and have to Google how to tie a tie every time, but for an architect: black on black attire is stunning.




 SHUKI Saki Set

Koncent (Designed by Daisaku Choh)   $71.50

This Shuki set of sake cups and flask were designed by the Japanese architect Daisaku Choh. I rarely drink sake, but this triangular shaped set is simply stunning. And there is nothing better than a cup of warm sake on a cold winter day. Or if you are fortunate enough to live in a sunny environment devoid of snow – then grab a National Geographic magazine, pretend you live in Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture surrounded by snow monkeys, and pour a glass of (cold) sake.


 HTML Beer Glasses

by UncommonGoods (Set of 2)   $25.00

I don’t even own any beer mugs, and rarely appreciate pun themed glassware, but after typing this entire blog post within the text editor – I appreciate a sensibly designed html pun. Plus I really want to <p style=”clear:both;”> of these beers right now.

George T. Stagg Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Distillery   Unknown Price

My brother texted me and asked if I could find any George T. Stagg whiskey or Eagle Rare 17 whiskey – and if so, he would join us for Thanksgiving. I could only find George T. Stagg Jr. or Eagle Rare whiskey – but apparently these weren’t good enough for his high standards since the former Antique Collection whiskeys are sold for a few thousand dollars on the secondary black market. I usually drink Pendleton, but it’s been too tasty lately. Therefore, Buffalo Trace Distillery also produces E.H. Taylor whiskey. It’s easier to find than their Antique Collection whiskeys and is more affordable around $40. But be warned, it’s the smoothest tasting 100 proof whiskey you can find.




Disclaimer: All prices were recorded when this listing was created. The prices are not to be used as a comparison tool, rather as a relative price point. Therefore, all prices are subject to change in accordance with each affiliate link. Furthermore, this site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Jeff Bezos’ autocratic website.

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