How to Read Buildings: A Crash Course in Architecture Paperback – 14 Feb 2008
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"An ideal book for the traveller, student of architecture or photographer" -- Suite101.com, September 14th 2008
About the Author
Dr Carol Davidson Cragoe is a well-respected academic who specialises in architectural history. She frequently teaches courses at Birkbeck College in London and she is the author of numerous books and papers on architectural history.
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Top Customer Reviews
The glossary is sufficient for those of us whose vocabulary does not, at the time of starting the book, incorporate the many arhitectural terms used throughout the book.
The illustrations are engravings not photographs, and at the outset I had my doubts that they would be sufficient but for the most part they effectively illustrate the points being made in the text.
The book does not (at this size it can not) cover architecture in much depth, but it does offer an excellent overview that will inspire the reader to read the buildings they encounter from day to day (either in person or on their TV screens). It may also help the reader to understand why the appearance of some buildings can seem unusual or simply uninteresting.
She begins by illustrating the features which which help us to identify the function and style of buildings and the construction materials. However, most of the volume is devoted to the features (the towers, windows, domes etc) which provide 'clues' to the period and place. Short yet informative paragraphs complement the engravings, which are painstakingly detailed, despite being small.
Much (possibly most) of this volume is devoted to examples which follow classical and church architecture. There are some references to vernacular houses, shops etc, but they are covered in less detail. Nevertheless, this is an exceptional valuable resource, both for those who are involved in the design process, and for lay readers.
Compact in size - and weight - and with a plastic-coated cover that should be easy to keep clean, that's also slightly bigger than the actual pages (to protect them) this little book has really been designed for the traveller.
I quite like my architecture, but prefer photographing it but often do wonder what bits are called what - and more importantly, what style and period it is, especially when describing a picture to someone!
Now, I'm sure that there are more comprehensive guides out there and possibly more accurate etc, but for what it sets out to do and especially for the price - get it discounted and it's the same as an Ordnance Survey map! The colour-coded but plainly drawn plans are simple and fairly easy on the eye.
No, I do not carry it with me all the time and like so many things in our lives, could use it more but when I do, it's well nigh on perfect. At this time of year, it could easily be one of those (awfully labelled) 'stocking-fillers', a safe and inexpensive gift for someone who remotely has an interest in architecture - even for a schoolchild relative as a hint, an educational guide that may get them becoming the next Sir Norman Foster - it really is that easy to follow. Highly Recommended.
I can imagine that the book would be a good pocket volume for students, but overall, I was frustrated by it. Having been through the book twice I still woudn't feel confident in describing pendentives or volutes. And I really want to be able to do so.
This is more of a text book to dip into when you want to understand a building, not a book to read from cover to cover - although I did halfway through before coming to this conclusion.
It is small enough to carry around to refer to as and when you see a building and want to understand better why it's build that way it is.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For an Architecture enthusiast, this is a great little book to have that easily fits in a reasonably sized handbag.Published 2 months ago by Sisqi
Great little book. Well laid out and lots of great informative. Perfect to keep in the car for exploring!Published 7 months ago by Loz
Good as a reference book or just to read from start to finish. Clear and well illustrated.Published 9 months ago by Alan Winchcomb
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