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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 November 2012
"Good design," Francis D.K. Ching says, "often unnoticed, quietly facilitates the activities of everyday life. It is the architect's challenge to create spaces that are perfectly attuned to the activities that take place within them."

If you're interested in architecture as a career or for a field of study, there are three (3) indispensable books that break down architecture to its most fundamental meaning:

Design of Cities by Edmund Bacon
Architectural Drawing: A Visual Compendium of Types and Methods by Rendow Lee and
Introduction To Architecture by Francis D.K. Ching

In this 400-page, softcover book, you'll find literally hundreds and hundreds of beautifully hand-drawn illustrations of international and historical structures.

Ching offers a step-by-step explanation of how theory and inspiration--what architects called, "The Design Process," are used to create structure or optimize space for habitats ("interior design"), city planning ("urbanism") or industrial design.

The book also has several chapters devoted to ancient architecture.

Ching reproduces designs from Mesopotamia, 2500 BCE; Turkmenistan, 1500 BCE; Greece, 800 BCE; Xianyang Palace, China, 400 BCE; Rome 200 CE; Angor Wat, Cambodia, 1200 CE; Kyoto, Japan 1600 CE.

There's an accompanying text, which spotlights all of the important cultural distinction in each of the periods.

Book chapters:
Ch. 1 Introduction, (pp's 1-12)
Ch. 2. The Beginning of Architecture (pp's 13-36)
Ch. 3 A Concise History (pp's 37-50)
Ch. 4 Fundamentals of .. Form (pp's 51-78)
Ch. 5 Fundamentals of ...Space (pp's 79-124)
Ch. 6 Fundamentals of ...order (pp's 125-164)
Ch. 7 Elements (pp's 165-198)
Ch. 8 The Design Process (pp's 199-230)
Ch. 9 Materials of Architecture (pp's 231-248)
Ch. 10 Methods of Construction (pp's 249-280)
Ch. 11 Building Structure (pp's 281-298)
Ch. 12 Building Systems (pp's 299-320)
Ch. 13 Practice & Communication (pp's 321-348)
Ch. 14 Allied Discipline (pp's 349-372)
Ch. 15 Allied Discipline (pp's 373-403)

All in all, this is a great book that makes Architecture look like a fascinating field. And, it is.

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on 14 March 2013
I tutor an Architectural Group of my local University of the Third Age and am always interested to see new ways of introducing lay people to the subject. Francis Ching's book takes an unusual approach which adds a new dimension to the methods of teaching people the principles and pleasures of architectural design.
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on 5 January 2014
Judging from the amount of time he spent poring over it during the holidays, this was a great book and very interesting for a non-professional.
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on 28 May 2015
Great book
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