Robert McCarter
Phaidon Press, New York, 2012, English
Nonfiction, Architecture
8 x 10.5 inches, hardcover, 448 pages, 500 color illustrations
ISBN: 9780714848099
Suggested Retail Price: $85.00

From the Publisher. Intended both as an introductory text for students and professionals in the field as well as an accessible read for the general public, Understanding Architecture addresses the basic principles of architecture. The volume is organized in 12 series of chapters based on a key architectural themes - including space, time, matter, gravity, light, silence, dwelling, ritual, memory, landscape, and place. Each chapter begins with an introductory essay, and includes a wide variety of historical examples from around the world, followed by in-depth analysis of 6 key buildings that further exemplify the theme of that chapter. By combining a broad historical sweep with a jargon-free architectural study of space and the direct experience of architecture, this volume is a unique introduction to the experience of architecture.

On 2 book lists
John Hill

The authors of this primer on architecture contend that experience “is the only valid means of evaluating a work of architecture.” Of course, a book’s reliance on photographs means that the visual takes precedence in one’s appreciation of buildings and spaces. To help overcome this predilection, each of the 72 works in this sweeping view of architecture spanning millennia is accompanied by a floor plan that locates the photographs and traces the body’s movement through the spaces. Photos are also keyed within the texts, which are rich in description and analysis, going well beyond the simple formal descriptions in Phaidon’s contemporaneous 20th Century World Architecture atlas.

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