While many children are dreaming of toy diggers and dolls clothing, the young architect spent Christmas wishing for set squares and a roll of tracing paper. While the other adults in your life are happy with a box of chocolates, your architect would rather have some toothpicks to build bridges and skyscrapers.
What do you get for Christmas gifts for the architect who has it all? Luckily, we’ve put together a guide of 25 fantastic gift ideas for the architect in your life:
1. How to Architect, Doug Patt
Nothing grates on your architect's nerves more than when a client uses the word “architect” as a verb. Luckily, Patt is being tongue-in-cheek with his book title, How to Architect. The pages are filled with skilful definitions and histories of various architectural words, beautiful images, and ample lashings of humour. This book is an excellent gift for your architecture student, or for a more experienced architect who loves books about the craft.
2. Postcarden Post Cards
Is your architect obsessed with the fusion of nature and design? Well, why not get him one of these architectural greeting cards where, with the addition of water, he can grow unruly sprouts of lepidium sativum (garden cress) unfurling through the arches of a mini botanical garden or cityscape. The sprouts will grow within 2-3 days and will last up to 2 weeks, making this an architectural gift that keeps on giving.
3. Joby GorillaPad Flexible Tripod
Is your architect constantly off photographing buildings from weird angles? Is she an urban explorer crawling through air vents and clambering over balconeys to get the perfect shot? Well, this tripod will make an ideal gift – its three legs bend and wrap into any position, so the photographer can set it up on uneven ground or wrap it around a pipe or balustrade. Get perfect stable shots from any location.
4. Blueprint Business Card Case
Does your architect hand out business cards to every Tom, Dick and Harry who mentions they’re thinking about building or renovating? Well, perhaps what she needs is a designer business card case featuring a design from the award-winning architect Constantin Boym. The back of the case can be personalized with your architect’s name or a special message. Made from silver tone brass and acrylic.
5. Lego Farnsworth House
Did your architect love playing with LEGO as a child? Well, what better gift to get him for Christmas than a designer LEGO pad? Designed in the 1940s by Mies van der Rohe, the Farnsworth House is one of the quintessential masterpieces of modern design. Immortalise this inspirational building with a LEGO replica. Made mostly from 1x1 blocks, this simple, elegant LEGO home will look great sitting on any architect’s desk.
6. Frank Lloyd Wright Butterfly Window Tumblers
Does your architect often fancy a tipple? Well, why not drink in style with these tumblers – the intricate stained glass design is inspired by the butterfly window designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902. Crafted by the Museum of Modern Art and sold in a set of 4, these glasses hold 14 ounces each, and feature a print of Wright’s signature near the bottom. Now your architect can really enjoy some Christmas cheer!
7. The Architect Says: Quotes, Quips and Words of Wisdom, Laura S. Dushkes
If your architect enjoyed our post on 101 Exceptionally Badass Quotes about Architecture & Design, then she will get a kick out of this neat stocking-stuffer. Each page of Laura S. Dushkes' book contains words of wisdom from famous and not-so-famous architectural minds, on subjects as vast as design, drawing, nature, the environment, light, clients, and construction practices. Thought-provoking, hilarious, inspirational, and clever, there’s a quip in here for every occasion.
8. Hampton Lantern
Is your architect always going on about the importance of light? Well, give them the gift of light this Christmas with this beautiful wrought iron lantern from Iron Accents. Inspired by the architectural wonders of old world Europe, this lantern features gothic arches, a steeple roof and bevelled glass to capture the light and create beautiful effects. Holds a tealight candle, this lantern can be used indoors and out.
No longer available.
9. Bookstand Lamp
Made from frosted glass by SUCK UK, this light is perfect for reading in bed. Not only does it mark your page, but it turns your book into the roof of a simple house. If your architect loves to read and has a sense of humour (and not all of them do), then this modern, homely lamp will be an absolute hit!
10. Architect Mug
If you’ve ever heard your architect complaining about engineers after a day on-site, then this is the ideal stocking-stuffer for him. And who knows, perhaps if he brings this along next time he’s on the job, those engineers might just listen to reason!
11. Architecture According to Pigeons, Stella Gurney
A fun, lively introduction for children to the world’s most famous buildings, Architecture According to Pigeons makes a great gift for the young architect in your life. Speck Lee Tailfeather and his pigeon friends offer a bird’s eye view of the Coliseum, Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, and the Fallingwater. A delightful way to teach a child about buildings.
12. Architect's Paperweight
Architects spend a lot of time staring at blank paper, and even more time tossing half-finished designs away in disgust. Help your architect keep her desk tidy with this funky paperweight. Made from vinyl, silk-screened with architectural plans gone awry, and “hand-crumpled” for that authentic “nothing is working and I hate my life!” look. A steel weight in the centre holds down wayward papers.
13. 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, Matthew Frederick
Has your architect recently graduated from architecture school? If so, this is the book for him or her! On each page, a lesson about the life of an architect is accompanied by simple – and often hilarious – illustrations. This book offers simple descriptions of basic skills and processes – proportions, awkward floor level changes, even how to draw a good line. A great gift choice for architects just finishing up school and embarking on the start of their careers.
14. Level Cufflinks – Red + Silver
It’s all well and good creating a beautiful design, but if the builders get the angles wrong, or the place isn’t level, well, it just isn’t going to work, now is it? Now your favorite architect can check the balance wherever he goes with these fun level cufflinks. Made from enamel with silver-plated base metal, these cufflinks are one of our favorite stocking stuffers.
15. Grand Designs UK Boxed Set
If there was TV show that epitomised everything architects stand for, then the UK Grand Designs is it. Presenter Kevin McLeod follows families building beautiful, daring and unique homes from the design stage right through to completion, and all the trials and tribulation that the process entails. There’s something for every architect, from minimalist sugar cubes to eco-friendly wood cottages to hyper-futuristic pod houses, all wrapped by with McLeod’s sardonic humour.
16. New Suburban, Stuart Harrison
Architecture books are a dime a dozen (well, actually, they are usually a lot more expensive than that, on account of all the pretty full-colour images!) and it can be difficult to choose a book your architect hasn’t read. One that’s at the top of many architect’s wishlists this year is Stuart Harrison’s New Suburban, which explores that changing way architects are redefining the suburban life. 30 homes from Australia and NZ are showcased, with many up-and-coming architects featured alongside the old stalwarts. A great read!
17. Walnut wood wallet, Slim Timber
Is your architect obsessed with the warmth and textured quality of wood? Why not surprise him with a new wallet – made from a single piece of solid walnut. With the capacity to hold around 8 standard cards plus a bit of cash, these solid timber wallets aren’t for the architect who has a million coffee coupons. A great gift for anyone wanting to clear out the clutter and make their wallet a talking point.
18. Place for Trace, Merchant No. 4
Every architect knows the value of an empty roll of tracing paper – a platform of unrealised possibilities, a receptacle for creative masterpieces, a vehicle for individual expression. But too often tracing rolls are shifted around the office, thrown in drawers, and end or creased and torn – no use to anyone. The Place to Trace gives tracing paper its rightful place on your architect’s desk, while making it a statement in itself. Available in Walnut or White Oak.
19. Umbra Bird Café Hanging Bird Feeder
A modern, minimalist sugar cube house … for the birds. If your architect scorns all that is natural and “traditional” in favour of smooth lines and white features, perhaps she’d love this minimalist birdhouse, complete with wrap-around feed tray. Constructed of white molded plastic with windows of clear plastic, this feeder hangs on a sturdy steel cable. This is architecture gone to the birds!
20. Elecom Orime Wireless Laser Mouse by Nendo
Designed by Nendo (the company founded by designer Ooki Sato), the Orime resembles an origami crane in the hands of a deconstructualist. The futuristic architectural shape works with both PC and Mac machines and houses five buttons, 1609 dpi resolution, on-off switch, and a portable USB dongle. Imagine this space-age mouse sitting on your architect’s desk – too cool!
21. Mid Century Modern Chair Pillow Cover
Does your architect love mid-century design? Check out this awesome gift idea – a modern pillow cover featuring a silhouette of a mid-century chair design. Choose between yellow and pink background. Made from 100% spun polyester poplin, and cut and sewn by hand.
22. Never Built Los Angeles, Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin
A unique concept for an architecture book, authors Lubell and Goldin explores the Los Angeles that was never built – buildings, parks, follies, transit proposals and master plans that never came to be. How might these visionary works (more than 100 feature in the book) have transformed the city? Why is LA so lacking in urban innovation? Does what we DON’T build say anything about us? A fascinating read for any enthusiastic architect dogged by existential questions.
23. Detroit Blueprint Silk Scarf, from Cyberoptix
Does your architect like to stand out from the crowd and shop the latest fashions? Then why not have her bedecked in a gorgeous architectural silk scarf. Silk-screened by hand in a Detroit studio, this scarf features a print of the original 1917 blueprints of the Cass Technical School. The scarf is made from 100% fairtrade silk. Choose from a range of colours for a highly personalised gift.
24. Mini Drafting Table, Stool, Lamp and 6 Drawing Tools.
This mini drafting table kit will look stunning on your architect’s desk or windowsill, or as a gift for a young aspiring designer. Designed by an architect with all the tools needed for the trade, this model kit will entertain your architect for an hour or two. Great stocking stuffer.
25. A Donation to Architecture for Humanity
Architecture for Humanity supports several humanitarian projects around the world by providing a network of more than 50,000 design professionals to projects and communities that would not otherwise be able to afford their services. Help Architecture for Humanity to fund a community center in Slovenia, a school in India or a volunteer firehouse in New York City by donating to support a designer for a day, week, month or year.
Do you have an architect in your life? What will you be getting them for Christmas this year? Share in the comments below :-)