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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Building on Culture
This book tackles a complex subject with elan. Like all good introductions it stimulates a desire to learn more. Historic examples are chosen not only for their intrinsic value but also as emblems of differing cultural sensibilities. This gives the reader that most valuable tool, critical interpretation. Andrew Ballantyne has an elegant writing style with the ability to...
Published on 27 Jun 2006 by Michael B. Phillips

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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rotten to the foundations.
There is nothing wrong with introducing architecture from a sociological and cultural perspective, rather than the conventional approach of timelines, styles and schools. It's just that Ballantyne is not very good at it. Thus we have rambling, incoherent musings on what it means to be 'at home'. "Architecture is gesture made with buildings", the author...
Published on 31 Oct 2005 by Peter Reeve


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Building on Culture, 27 Jun 2006
By 
Michael B. Phillips (Esher, Surrey , England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This book tackles a complex subject with elan. Like all good introductions it stimulates a desire to learn more. Historic examples are chosen not only for their intrinsic value but also as emblems of differing cultural sensibilities. This gives the reader that most valuable tool, critical interpretation. Andrew Ballantyne has an elegant writing style with the ability to explain complexe ideas in a clear and entertaining way.

I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the built environment and more importantly a desire to understand it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good book, 1 Jan 2011
This review is from: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
nice little book. well written from an informative point of view. i feel slightly more clever now i have read this book. the VSI series is great.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rotten to the foundations., 31 Oct 2005
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
There is nothing wrong with introducing architecture from a sociological and cultural perspective, rather than the conventional approach of timelines, styles and schools. It's just that Ballantyne is not very good at it. Thus we have rambling, incoherent musings on what it means to be 'at home'. "Architecture is gesture made with buildings", the author assures us. Maybe so, but I would have appreciated a description of what those gestures were and how they evolved over time. Who built what, when, how and why? Instead we get constant reminders that it is all a matter of interpretation and perspective. An introduction to this subject should be a concrete foundation on which to build further knowledge. Ballantyne amuses himself with conceptual sandcastles and smiles knowingly as they get washed away by each new wave of speculation. Presenting architecture in a broad cultural context is a commendable aim, but to do it you need to have a firm grasp of that context. Informing the reader that philosophy is an 'idea' that was developed in Athens and 'Tragedy is farce in close-up' simply will not do. This is undergraduate essay stuff.
Let it be said that the 25 annotated illustrations are excellent. Each is of a famous building, accompanied by informative text. More of that kind of thing and less of the foggy narrative in which they are embedded, and this could have been a much better book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 July 2014
This review is from: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
GOOD
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 July 2014
This review is from: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Pocket sized.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, 2 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Written by my lecturer. Good read to get you started with your studies and move into the world of architecture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Introduction, 4 Aug 2011
By 
Harry the book monkey (Citizen of the world) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This is an excellent book if you are taking interest in architecture for the first time. The book only has 3 chapters, but this provides an excellent way of structuring the book. All 3 of the chapters explore the same or very similar concerns, but from 3 different directions. This gives a very rounded account of the ideas and concerns explored in this little book. Chapter 1 covers the introduction of the concerns of architecture, i.e. not just the aesthetic appreciation of as building, but also the different ways in which we might respond to a building, concerns of it function and how a building becomes to be built the way is. Chapter 2 covers the western tradition of architecture illustrating a history where classic forms such as pillars, domes and simple designs reoccur and are reacted against as tastes come and go. However the key point is not that these forms are eternal, but that they have relevance in different ways at different times and in this way chapter 2 builds on the concerns of chapter 1. Chapter 3 explores the idea of what makes a building great. This chapter draws on more recent 20th century architecture to help illustrate the point, contrasts and similarities are drawn in such a way as to show that the concerns explored in chapters 1 and 2 are still relevant today . I was particularly impressed with the compare and contrast of the Parthenon and the Pompidou Centre. It was very interesting reading a discussion that can pull two such contrasting buildings together and identify how they address similar functions, but in such contrasting ways. This structuring of the book meant that pictures of buildings could be introduced in a space efficient way, as the first images could be referred to several times to make different points. Finally the further reading section is well worth a look as it reference 3 introductory books that look very useful and aimed at interested novice readers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recomended, 1 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Excellant and informative, a very easy read for amateurs like me!
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Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Architecture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Andrew Ballantyne (Paperback - 22 Aug 2002)
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