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How to Read Buildings: A Crash Course in Architectural Stylesby Carol Davidson Cragoe
Synopses & Reviews
This practical primer is a handbook for decoding a buildings style, history, and evolution. Every building contains clues embedded in its design that identify not only its architectural style but also the story of who designed it, who it was built for, and why. Organized by architectural element (roofs, doors, windows, columns, domes, towers, arches, etc.), the book is roughly chronological within each section, examining the elements across history, through different architectural styles, and by geographical distribution. Additional chapters offer overviews of how architecture has been affected by geography, history, and religion, along with an illustrated timeline of architectural elements. Also included is a chapter on applied ornament and a handy introduction to naming each part of a building. All entries are accompanied by examples in the forms of period engravings, line drawings, and pictures. The extended captions make the book invaluable for anyone who has ever pondered the meaning or importance of a hipped roof, rounded doorway, or classical pediment.
Taking us back to the earliest days of cities—and the earliest days of human civilization—in Mesopotamia, Pedro Azara in Cornerstone offers a contemporary view on the rise and growth of early cities and urban culture. Investigating ruins and exploring archaeological sites, Azara helps us understand how the earliest cities looked and felt, what the first architects and their buildings were like, and what nascent aesthetic ideals they upheld. Azara’s scholarship is rigorous and far-reaching, but his writing is agile, direct, and entertaining as he not only brings the far-distant past to life, but teases out its relevance for our understanding of contemporary culture as well. The result is a fascinating glimpse into our history and a fresh new take on the origins of the civilization of some of our most ancient ancestors.
About the Author
Dr. Carol Davidson Cragoe is a graduate of Smith College and holds a Masters in art history from New York University. She was Architectural Editor for the Victoria County History series and more recently for English Heritage.
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