William Stout Architectural Books carries over 20,000 titles in the fields of architecture, art, urban planning, graphic and industrial design, furniture and interior design, and landscape architecture. For over thirty years, twenty in the current location, it has been a vital resource for architecture and design books, carrying American and international titles, both in and out of print.
The origins of the bookstore date back to when Bill Stout was a practicing architect and would go to Europe and bring back hard to find European architectural books. His colleagues and friends would ask him to bring them back additional copies and thus the shop was born. About ten years ago, he started William Stout Publishers, which puts out a few books a year, mainly on architecture and landscape in the Bay Area, but also including books on architectural theory, and reprints of important, out of print titles.
In a recent interview with Cultural Currents, Bill shared some of his favorite titles and authors.
Over the years I have both sold books in my bookshop at 804 Montgomery Street in Jackson Square and published books on architecture and design as well. With the advent of the internet we have developed our web-site with most of our inventory included.
This way we touch a larger audience. I stopped publishing books in 2015 and put my emphasis on selling the more obscure and hard to find titles, usually from Latin America, Europe or Asia. I also have a very large selection of rare and out of print books that we sell well on the internet. Many of these titles are located in our warehouse and shop in Richmond. These would include A. D. A. Edita, Tokyo, Arquine Publishers, Mexico City and Unit Publishers in London to name a few.
I’m including titles that may be of interest to your ferry riders, some on the bay area and some of general interest in architecture. We don’t have a wide variety of guides or informational books on the bay area. Many are out of print or haven’t been written.
One of my favorite books though is Saltcapes, The Kite Aerial Photography of Cris Benton. The dazzling colors, subtle textures, vivid patterns, and captivating stories of the San Francisco Bay salt ponds.
A classic is Rebecca Solnit’s, Infinite City A San Francisco Atlas. Rebecca reinvents the traditional atlas. Across an urban grid of just seven by seven miles, Solnit finds seemingly unlimited landmarks and treasures.
Two books by John King of the Chronicle give us his favorite buildings in Cityscapes, and his reading of the buildings in Cityscapes 2. Donald MacDonald and Ira Nadel’s books on the BAY BRIDGE, ALCATRAZ, the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, are small books with his drawings and notes on all three.
Photographs by Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan with notes by Tom Downs and Eric Lynxwiler, in San Francisco Neon, Survivors and Lost Icons, give us views of lost icons in San Francisco from 1976-2014.
The Sea Ranch book by Donlyn Lyndon in it’s 2rd. edition cover the 50 years of the wonderful project. Two local art books of interest are the book on the Oakland Museum called GIFT OF ARCHITECTURE. A book of two parts. Part one is the original development of the Museum and Part two the renovation by Mark Cavagnero.
Steve Oliver’s wonderful art project the Oliver Ranch, documents the art ranch located in Sonoma county he and his wife Nancy have developed since 1985. The book and a visit to the ranch gives insight into one of the great art experiences in the bay area.
A last book By Will Jones called HOW TO READ MODERN BUILDING A crash course in architecture of the modern era. With drawings and photographs we get a visual vocabulary of current building.