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Buildings Without Architects: A Global Guide to Everyday Architecture
Synopses & Reviews
A wonderfully informative reference on vernacular styles, from adobe pueblos and Pennsylvania barns to Mongolian yurts and Indonesian stilt houses.
This small but comprehensive book documents the rich cultural past of vernacular building styles, from Irish sod houses to sub-Saharan wattle-and-daub huts and redwoods treehouses. It offers inspiration for home woodworking enthusiasts as well as architects, conservationists, and anyone interested in energy-efficient building and sustainability. The variety and ingenuity of the world’s vernacular building traditions are richly illustrated, and the materials and techniques are explored. With examples from every continent, the book documents the diverse methods people have used to create shelter from locally available natural materials, and shows the impressively handmade finished products through diagrams, cross-sections, and photographs. Unlike modern buildings that rely on industrially produced materials and specialized tools and techniques, the everyday architecture featured here represents a rapidly disappearing genre of handcrafted and beautifully composed structures that are irretrievably "of their place." These structures are the work of unsung and often anonymous builders that combine artistic beauty, practical form, and necessity.
Book News Annotation:
May, a journalist and environmentalist, and Reid, a specialist in vernacular architecture, have collaborated to produce this delightful and instructive look at buildings made by either individuals or communities without the benefit of planning commissions or architects. With many beautiful photos and illustrations that describe the building process, this volume demonstrates the innovative ways in which people have used materials to hand create a living space. From the caves of Cappadocia to Batammliba roundhouses to Inuit igloos, every area of the world in represented. Variations on tents, sod houses, thatched cottages, grass shacks, log cabins and adobe homes are shown. Other types of buildings, such as temples, windmills, grain stores and water reservoirs are also mentioned but the emphasis is on family housing. The authors also look at contemporary forms, such as the shanty towns made from discarded metal, wood and plastic. At the other end of this spectrum are the homes made from recycled materials carefully selected. One of the most beautiful is the Buddhist temple in Thailand made from one million beer bottles. The whole book is a celebration of human ingenuity. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
John May is a writer and journalist based in London, England. He is the author of the official history of Greenpeace. Anthony Reid is a lecturer on vernacular environment based in London. His wide-ranging research on vernacular architecture has taken him around the world.
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