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on 21 April 2012
This slim & reasonably priced volume is the perfect primer for anyone interested in architecture in general & the classical style in particular.

In just over 100 pages, the author takes us from classical times through to the influence on the modern day, producing a fascinating overview of the key elements & interpretations in this style.

The are plenty of black & white plans, photographs & illustrations but I would still have liked a few more. There is in an invaluable Glossary at the end & a reference section.

The text is easy to read & the author really guides the newcomer into what can be a complicated & confusing field.

This volume will school you in all the basics of classical architecture & really help you to enjoy & appreciate it's influence on us here in the UK. You'll be able to stun your friends with your new found knowledge when you next visit a stately home or the National Trust!
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on 21 May 2012
This book should be on every architect's bookshelf - not just for the knowledge it imparts of the columns, capitols and pediments but for the lessons in proportion, rhythm and pattern as well as quite simply the pleasure of reading Summerson's writing.
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on 8 May 2011
This was on a reading list for Uni' and I'm very glad I bought it.
It is well written without overly exuberant or flowery language (the curse of the subject sometimes) and the plates/ images are helpfully arranged and referenced.
This is pretty close to a perfect guide to Western architecture, covering Roman antiquity, it's revival, development tied to key writings, progression, adaptation and alteration right up until modern times, to a degree.
Further reading would be required to flesh out some themes but more or less all key issues are touched on with plenty of relevant precedents.
Personally, I thought the book was a bit light on the beginnings of Renaissance architecture with relatively little time spent on Bramante for example but as an introductory text it is great.
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on 2 February 2012
This book does explain the foundations of Classical Architecture. I did find it quite chatty but that meant that it did jump around a bit, sometimes making it hard to follow. The plethora of images meant that you also have to flip a lot as well. There is a glossary that helps you to understand some of the jargon. If you persevere through all teh flipping of pages it is abundant with key information.
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on 5 December 2001
A fantastic non-snob guide to the principles of classical architecture, the authors passion and sincerity is infectious. The easiest and most informative classical architecture book I have read.
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on 22 October 2002
I bought this book as a complete beginner, and found it a wealth of information. It has come in very handy for my degree. Very well explained for the complete novice on classical architechture. Worth buying. Dictionary would be better with illustrations though!
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on 15 February 2015
I found this the most helpful architecture book of all, admittedly coming from a standing start as a general reader rather than a student. It assumes no knowledge and is very well written and set out. Summerson had a great gift for explaining difficult things in plain English. You will get more out of walking down most city streets after reading this book because it will help make sense of many buildings, ancient and modern. I can't recommend it highly enough if you take any interest in architecture.
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on 12 November 2015
Wonderful little book and as sophisticated as a British educational book can be!
Of course the book could use some extra pictures, as now the reader must flip the pages quite a lot to be able to follow the text, which describes quite small details in the architectural language of the buildings. But it is a trade off, that one can do for the compactness of the book.
The book delivered what it promises: it opens up a superbly the world of Classical Architecture in all it minute glory.
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on 12 December 2000
i read this book in german language and it was my first of john summerson. actually i read everything of him. i read this book as a student and it gave me abetter impression of the idea of classic architecture than any lecture. so i would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in architecture and who wants to do more than pray architectural patterns.
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on 20 February 2013
Classical Language of Architecture.
This is obviously written as a presentation with graphic illustrations.
Read on its own the book is hard work.
The glossary is useful but the book would benefit from a more illustrative approach.
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