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Native American Architectureby Peter Nabokov
Synopses & Reviews
Native American Architecture, is the first book-length, fully illustrated study of North American Indian architecture to appear in a century. The product of 15 years of research by an architect and an anthropologist, the book presents the building traditions of the major tribes in nine regional profiles covering the continent--from the huge, plank-house villages of the Northwest Coast to the Moundbuilder towns and temples of the Southeast to the Navajo hogans and adobe Pueblos of the Southwest.
This innovative book is far more than a survey of buildings. Its multidisciplinary approach offers a broad, clear view of the Native American world, resulting in a new understanding of the meaning of their buildings and culture. Nabokov and Easton describe how Indian buildings, as a central element of their culture, were the symbolic summation of tribal activity, and how the settlements secured for their inhabitants a sense of "place" in the environment. Native American architecture, the authors write, must be defined as more than buildings, villages, or camps; the definition must include their use of space, their environment, their social mores, and their religious beliefs. The book thus introduces us to the ancient social customs, economic ways of life, and technological skills of each tribe, emphasizing the major role played by cosmological concepts and ritual life in their architectural systems. Each chapter concludes with an account of traditional Indian building practices under revival or in danger today.
A visually exciting book using historical photographs and drawings, architectural renderings, and specially prepared interpretive diagrams which decode the sacred cosmology of the principal housetypes, Native American Architecture is a major contribution to the expanding worldwide interest in vernacular architecture--a milestone in scholarly investigation and cultural reconstruction.
For many people, Native American architecture calls to mind the wigwam, tipi, iglu, and pueblo. Yet the richly diverse building traditions of Native Americans encompass much more, including specific structures for sleeping, working, worshipping, meditating, playing, dancing, lounging, giving birth, decision-making, cleansing, storing and preparing food, caring for animals, and honoring the dead. In effect, the architecture covers all facets of Indian life.
The collaboration between an architect and an anthropologist, Native American Architecture presents the first book-length, fully illustrated exploration of North American Indian architecture to appear in over a century. Peter Nabokov and Robert Easton together examine the building traditions of the major tribes in nine regional areas of the continent from the huge plank-house villages of the Northwest Coast to the moundbuilder towns and temples of the Southeast, to the Navajo hogans and adobe pueblos of the Southwest. Going beyond a traditional survey of buildings, the book offers a broad, clear view into the Native American world, revealing a new perspective on the interaction between their buildings and culture. Looking at Native American architecture as more than buildings, villages, and camps, Nabokov and Easton also focus on their use of space, their environment, their social mores, and their religious beliefs.
Each chapter concludes with an account of traditional Indian building practices undergoing a revival or in danger today. The volume also includes a wealth of historical photographs and drawings (including sixteen pages of color illustrations), architectural renderings, and specially prepared interpretive diagrams which decode the sacred cosmology of the principal house types.
About the Author
Peter Nabokov, an anthropologist, has taught in the Department of Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley and is the author of Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrier and The Architecture of the American Pueblo among other books.
Robert Easton, a noted California architect, has taught at the University of California at Los Angeles and is co-editor of the acclaimed Shelter and Domebook.
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