Synopses & Reviews
When the late Spiro Kostof's A History of Architecture
appeared in 1985, it was universally hailed as a masterpiece--one of the finest books on architecture ever written. The New York Times Book Review
, in a front cover review, called it "a magnificent guided tour through mankind's architecture," and The San Francisco Chronicle
wrote that "Kostof...has enthralled a generation of students.... Now he has done the same thing for the public at large, in an extraordinary book that is a new kind of architectural history."
This magisterial work has now been revised and expanded by Greg Castillo, Kostof's colleague and literary executor. Insightful, engagingly written, and graced with almost a thousand superb illustrations, the Second Edition of this classic volume offers a sweeping narrative that examines architecture as it reflects the social, economic, and technological systems of human history. The scope of the book is astonishing. No mere survey of famous buildings, Kostof's History examines a surprisingly wide variety of manmade structures: prehistoric huts and the TVA, the pyramids at Giza and the Rome railway station, the ziggurat and the department store. Indeed, Kostof considered every building worthy of attention, every structure or shelter a potential source of insight, whether it be the prehistoric hunting camps at Terra Amata, or the caves at Lascaux with their magnificent paintings, or a twenty-story hotel on the Las Vegas strip. The Second Edition features a new concluding chapter, "Designing the Fin de Siècle," based on Kostof's last lecture notes and prepared by Castillo, as well as an all-new 16-page color section. Many of the original line drawings by Richard Tobias, as well as some 50 photographs, have also been updated or replaced, for improved clarity.
Visually and intellectually stimulating, this book is at once a compelling history and an indispensable reference on all aspects of our built environment. It achieves for architecture what Janson's history accomplished for visual art.
Ten years in the making, A History of Architecture ranges from the first prehistoric environments on record to the most recent examples of urban design. A landmark work of impressive scope, the book is enhanced by 700 halftone illustrations and 150 drawings especially prepared by architect Richard Tobias.
Kostof's range of study includes not only the monumental religious, governmental and upper-class structures around which architectural history has usually been written but also the diversity of ordinary domestic, rural, and urban buildings, and landscapes which surround them. Moreover, Kostof evaluates Western achievement in the context of contemporary cultures elsewhere. Thus he duscusses the high points of imperial Rome along with Buddhist stupas and Han palaces, compares medieval Florence with medieval Cairo, and introduces Inca and Aztec cities as the Spanish conquistadores would have seen them.
The author's premise is that buldings are conditioned by the social, economic, and political frame of their time; in this sense, Kostof concludes, the history of architecture can be considered an aspect of the history of human institutions. "Architecture, in the end," he writes, "is nothing less than the gift of making places for some human purpose."
About the Author -
Spiro Kostof is Professor of Architectural History at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a former president of the Society of Architectural Historians and is the author of several books, among them Caves of God and The Third Rime, 1870-1950: Traffic and Glory, and editor of The Architect: Chapters in the History of the Profession
When the late Spiro Kostof's A History of Architecture appeared in 1985, it was universally hailed as a masterpiece--one of the finest books on architecture ever written. Now, updated and expanded, this classic reference continues to bring to readers the full array of civilization's architectural achievements.
Insightful, engagingly written and graced with close to a thousand superb illustrations, the Second Edition of this extraordinary volume offers a sweeping narrative that examines architecture as it reflects the social, economic, and technological aspects of human history. The scope of the book is astonishing. Kostof examines a surprisingly wide variety of man-made structures: prehistoric huts and the TVA, the pyramids of Giza and the Rome railway station, the ziggurat and the department store. Kostof considered every building worthy of attention, every structure a potential source of insight, whether it be prehistoric hunting camps at Terra Amata, or the caves at Lascaux with their magnificent paintings, or a twenty-story hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
About the Author
was Professor of Architectural History at the University of California at Berkeley, and was a former president of the Society of Architectural Historians. Greg Castillo
was Kostof's research assistant and literary executor.
Table of Contents
A PLACE ON EARTH
1. The Study of What We Built
2. The Cave and the Sky: Stone Age Europe
3. The Rise of the City: Architecture in Western Asia
4. The Architecture of Ancient Egypt
5. Bronze Age Cities: The Aegean and Asia Minor
6. Greek Temple and "Barbarian" Alternatives
7. Polis and Akropolis
8. The Hellenistic Realm
9. Rome: Caput Mundi
10. The World at Large: Roman Concurrences
11. The Triumph of Christ
12. The Mediterranean in the Early Middle Ages
13. The Birth of Nations: Europe after Charles
14. The French Manner
15. The Urbanization of Europe
16. Edges of Medievalism
17. The Renaissance: Ideal and Fad
18. Spain and the New World
19. Istanbul and Venice
20. The Popes as Planners: Rome 150-1650
21. Absolutism and Bourgeoisie: European Architecture 1600-1750
THE SEARCH FOR SELF
22. Architecture for a New World
23. Architectural Art and the Landscape of Industry
24. The American Experience
25. Victorian Environments
26. The Trials of Modernism
27. Architecture and the State: Interwar Years
28. At Peace with the Past: The Last Decades
29. Designing the Fin-de-Siecle