Top 7 Adobe Picture Books

Beautiful Photos of Earth Architecture

Adobe homes are a natural choice for anyone who is concerned with eco-friendly design. They are comfortable, adaptable, and beautiful. Homes made from adobe can combine Native American and hispanic traditions with modern innovations and personal expression. Below are our choices for the finest "coffee table" books that deal with adobe history and homes. If you're more into the nuts and bolts of building with adobe, try out Top Adobe House Building Plans and Manuals.

Agnesa Reeve's slight book (fewer than 100 pages) is a great introduction to adobe, covering its history and its use in modern construction. The informative text will help you decide whether to build a classic adobe home or to use the material in innovative way. The color photos by architectural photograph Robert Reck are worth the price alone. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2001.

Authors Karen Witynski and Joe P. Carr write that "adobe is an old tradition with a new future." Their book takes us on a photo tour of old and new adobe homes in the Southwest U.S. and Mexico. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2001.

Also by Karen Witynski and Joe P. Carr, "Adobe Details" takes a closer look inside adobe structures, providing close-up details of their walls, portales, doors, cabinets, stone-paved courtyards, nichos, and bancos. Gibbs Smith Reprint, 2002.

Author Landt Dennis and photographer Lisl Dennis explore the interior designs and furnishings more than the structures themselves. Still, this beautiful yet slim paperback volume provides an interesting look at the adobe lifestyle.  Publisher: Chronicle Books, 144 pages, 1997

The 18th century Spanish word hacienda describes the function of the architecture—an estate or plantation—rather than the construction. Adobe, however, was the typical building material of the hacienda. Linda Leigh Paul's picture book, aptly subtitled Spanish Colonial Houses in the U.S. and Mexico, is beautifully photographed by Ricardo Vidargas. Published by Rizzoli, 224 pages, 2008.

The subtitle says it all: Historic Residences, Enchanting Adobes and Romantic Revivals. This large format picture book by Margaret Moore Booker has the accompanying text that many people desire—insightful, clear, and informative. Booker gives context to adobe home construction in America's Southwest. She tends to write about the architecture of where she lives. Lately, it's been Santa Fe. When she earned her BA in Art History from Boston College, she wrote about houses of sea captains. I can't wait to find out where she moves to next! Publisher: Rizzoli, 246 pages, 2009

More Books by Margaret Moore Booker:

  • Southwest Art Defined: An Illustrated Guide, 2013
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  • Sea Captains' Houses and Rose-Covered Cottages: The Architectural Heritage of Nantucket Island, 2003
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Orlando Romeo and David Larkin have written more than a simple book about Adobe. They present Building and Living With Earth. Published by Houghton Mifflin, 256 pages, 1994.