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Pages of Inspiration

From condensed inner-city housing, right up to holiday homes and renovated state houses, Defign has put together a list of must-reads.

1. Our House in the City - Edited by Sofia Borges, Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten.
Urban living is on the rise, and with it come many challenges. There's the pressure to build tall and narrow, to stack storey upon storey, and to fit all the modern conveniences into spaces often significantly smaller than their suburban counterparts. Spare blocks of land are few and far between in city centres, and even when they do become available, they're frequently too small to even contemplate building on for the purpose of living. Sofia Borges, Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten provide solutions to the complications of urban residences. They take the reader on a journey, exploring jam-packed residential designs with innovative living spaces, right through to the merging of home and work spaces. A must-read for anyone interested in inner-city living and creative architecture.

2. Big House, Small House: New Homes by New Zealand Architects - John Walsh with photography by Patrick Reynolds.
New Zealand boasts many beautiful homes, but this book explores just sixty of our very best. John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds bring to life some of the country's top residential architecturally designed houses, taking a sneak peek into a wide range of kiwi designs including holiday homes, apartments and renovations. Anyone looking for ideas for their next project is sure to find inspiration within this 431-page showcase of the best-of-the-best.

3. Radical Renovations: Inspiring Architectural Makeovers - Edited by Beth Browne
Whether starting from scratch and completely gutting a house, or simply updating and revamping to keep up with current trends, renovation is both a challenging and rewarding experience. Beth Browne has produced a stunning piece of work detailing the architectural make-overs of more than fifty incredible examples of residential and commercial renovations around the world. Browne's book features amazing 'before and after' shots that are sure to bring out the renovation dream in all who flick through its pages.

4. The Box - Architectural Solutions with Containers - Sibylle Kramer
The shipping container is making its mark in the building world, and is being increasingly utilised as architects look to it for more quirky, innovative and cost-effective designs. Sibylle Kramer explores its use in modern architecture, noting its versatility both in terms of its function and unique aesthetic qualities.

5. Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs - S. Ehmann and S. Borges
As the number of city dwellers continues to swell, many of us yearn for a get-away far from the hustle and bustle of urban life. There’s something about the lure of a quiet retreat among the mountains, or a weekend hide-out in a quaint seaside cabin. Rock the Shack takes readers to these places where they can visualise the quiet life with stunning photography of unique architecture hidden among the serene beauty of nature. This book takes a look at hideaways from around the world that borrow their unique design elements from their surrounds. It’s a good read for anyone simply longing for their own retreat from busy city life, or for someone seriously considering the possibilities of rural living.

6. Beyond the State: New Zealand Houses from Modest to Modern - Andrea Stevens and Bill McKay with photography by Simon Devitt
The State house is a New Zealand institution, brought in to address our historic housing problems, but many of these old buildings have surprisingly become sources of architectural inspiration. Beyond the State explores the re-use of these old buildings, as many of them are sold on to first-home buyers, property developers and hopeful renovators. This book follows the journey of the state house, from its early roots in the 1930's right through to the exploration of its unique architectural style and the ways it's being picked up by the next generation of home-owners.

7. Converted Houses: New Zealand Architecture Recycled - Lucinda Diack with photography by Daniel Allen
Yet another renovation book taking its inspiration from the innovative Kiwi spirit, this book looks at the second lives of industrial and public spaces, from old railway stations to factories. There is a big focus on photography, taking readers visually on an exploration of the recycling of old spaces to the creation of new beginnings. There's inspiration aplenty within these pages, and readers are able to take a trip down memory lane, remembering old school dental clinics and council chambers as they are amazed by their epic transformations into beautifully unique kiwi homes. This book shows even the oldest, most run-down building has its value and can be used to create something truly amazing.

To get your hit of inspiration, visit Aalto Books or your local specialty book store.