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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2006
If possible try and read this the summer before you start a degree course in architecture. Arm yourself with an ER-6000 which is an electronic consise dictionary, which has 99% of all the architecture words, plus all the arty and historic ones you will not have heard of before this book, and tackle this monster.
Pace yourself and try and cover a chapter a day... and if you do this it will still take you a month to read it... and that is reading solid... a chapter is about 3 hours reading... and you will find it hard to cram in more in one day.
This is a bible of a book and arms you will a vast array of knowlegde of history, famous architects, buildings, terms that you will hear over and over in your lectures.
Not to mention the history lectures will be sweet to your ears as they will be just revision.
Believe me... if you start to read this when you start your course, you'll have a job to finish it before Christmas... so dedicate a summer to it.
Essential knowledge for the students that wants to get his foot in the door early.
God bless, S Kostof (R.I.P)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2011
The structure and overall outline of this book are generally good, insofar as it depicts and explains characteristic periods and ideas in architecture. However, as the title hints, ("Settings and rituals") the writing style is annoyingly self-aggrandising. Architecture is presented as mankind's response to life's most important questions. The architect's own feelings towards certain periods was also distracting, (e.g., p. 721, "The triumph of the modernists was both well earned and providential. On the side of providence, we should count the discrediting of the official neoclassicism of the 1930s as part of the defeat of Germany and her allies." Providence is opposed to neoclassicism?
Kostof continues, "This sudden popularity of historicism shored up one of the basic tenets of the modernists: that the International Style cannot in any way be beholden to tradition but must stand solely on its own inflexible logic". Such mystical-sounding claims really made the book difficult for me to read.

Throughout the book I found myself questioning what the author was trying to say; I could only occasionally guess.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2001
As a student studying Architecture, this is a must have, it is concise and well illistrated.
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