Architecture: Elements, Materials, Form

Architecture: Elements, Materials, Form

by Francesca Prina
     
 

By way of more than 2,000 years of architectural history, this richly illustrated book defines and shows all the major components of the art--from theory, plans, and models to structural elements such as columns, arches, and domes, to materials and decorative elements. With beautiful color photographs on virtually every page, and precise captions that point

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Overview

By way of more than 2,000 years of architectural history, this richly illustrated book defines and shows all the major components of the art--from theory, plans, and models to structural elements such as columns, arches, and domes, to materials and decorative elements. With beautiful color photographs on virtually every page, and precise captions that point directly to important aspects of each photo, this book provides an easy-to-use visual grammar of the nearly infinite variety with which the elements of architecture have been used in buildings across the ages and around the world--from Western Europe and Greece to the Americas, the Middle East, China, Japan, India, and Africa. Each entry includes a definition, illustrated examples, and detailed analysis and explanation, all presented in the context of architecture's historical evolution. Architecture frequently juxtaposes famous and lesser-known buildings from widely different times and places, providing delightful surprises for the expert as well as a fresh, informative, and pleasurable introduction for general readers and students.

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Editorial Reviews

Architectural Science Review
This is not merely a guidebook to the world of architecture. . . . No reader can deny the densely illustrated nature of this book. . . . The author has done her best to compile texts and images that are educational for undergraduate students. The book also presents an informative companion for readers who to visit buildings located in various regions and built in different historical periods.
— Gevork Hartoonian
San Francisco Chronicle - John King
There's no shortage of architectural primers, but this one stands out for two reasons. First, the eye-popping clarity of the 325 photographs. Second, its refreshing breadth: There's a section on murals as well as metallic alloys, and the section on staircases includes a 1932 stadium ramp as well as the entrance to a 1528 chateau. More than a cheat sheet, it's a guide to be enjoyed.
Choice - V.E. Young
This title combines the best of two art-book formats: it is filled with excellent color photographs that illustrate architectural forms, yet it is also the size of a field guide and can be held comfortably in the hand. . . . Although this is not a standard reference book, it delights the eye with its juxtapositions, and could be the inspiration for a field trip to see these wonderful buildings.
Architectural Science Review - Gevork Hartoonian
This is not merely a guidebook to the world of architecture. . . . No reader can deny the densely illustrated nature of this book. . . . The author has done her best to compile texts and images that are educational for undergraduate students. The book also presents an informative companion for readers who to visit buildings located in various regions and built in different historical periods.
From the Publisher

"There's no shortage of architectural primers, but this one stands out for two reasons. First, the eye-popping clarity of the 325 photographs. Second, its refreshing breadth: There's a section on murals as well as metallic alloys, and the section on staircases includes a 1932 stadium ramp as well as the entrance to a 1528 chateau. More than a cheat sheet, it's a guide to be enjoyed."--John King, San Francisco Chronicle

"This title combines the best of two art-book formats: it is filled with excellent color photographs that illustrate architectural forms, yet it is also the size of a field guide and can be held comfortably in the hand. . . . Although this is not a standard reference book, it delights the eye with its juxtapositions, and could be the inspiration for a field trip to see these wonderful buildings."--V.E. Young, Choice

"This is not merely a guidebook to the world of architecture. . . . No reader can deny the densely illustrated nature of this book. . . . The author has done her best to compile texts and images that are educational for undergraduate students. The book also presents an informative companion for readers who to visit buildings located in various regions and built in different historical periods."--Gevork Hartoonian, Architectural Science Review

San Francisco Chronicle
There's no shortage of architectural primers, but this one stands out for two reasons. First, the eye-popping clarity of the 325 photographs. Second, its refreshing breadth: There's a section on murals as well as metallic alloys, and the section on staircases includes a 1932 stadium ramp as well as the entrance to a 1528 chateau. More than a cheat sheet, it's a guide to be enjoyed.
— John King
Choice
This title combines the best of two art-book formats: it is filled with excellent color photographs that illustrate architectural forms, yet it is also the size of a field guide and can be held comfortably in the hand. . . . Although this is not a standard reference book, it delights the eye with its juxtapositions, and could be the inspiration for a field trip to see these wonderful buildings.
— V.E. Young
Library Journal
Like a good building, this primer to architecture exhibits a strong concept, clearly articulated parts, and high-quality construction. The chapters address five key topics: the tools of the architect, stability and form, materials and techniques, architecture and decoration, and masterpieces compared. Each chapter is divided further into its component parts, such as (for the chapter on stability and form) wall, column, capital, entablature, etc.; and each component is elucidated by a one-page essay and augmented by a concise sidebar with either the origin of the element or a deeper exploration of one facet of that element. The enduring value, however, lies in the handsome, full-color illustrations and ample captions that explain them. The emphasis is almost exclusively Western, but the breadth of examples compensates for any narrowness of treatment. The translation for the original Italian is highly readable, although the narrow margins cramp the text alongside the gutters. VERDICT This will serve as a fine choice for first-semester architectural history and design students, perhaps in tandem with classics like Steen Eiler Rasmussen's Experiencing Architecture, Witold Rybczynski's The Look of Architecture, and Eugene Raskin's Architecturally Speaking. It easily eclipses James O'Gorman's ABC of Architecture and will complement the recent concise survey Architecture: A World History (Abrams).—Paul Glassman, Felician Coll. Lib., Lodi, NJ

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691141503
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/06/2009
Series:
Princeton Field Guides to Art Series
Pages:
408
Sales rank:
740,129
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

Stan Allen
Francesca Prina's handbook is intelligently written and beautifully illustrated. The book's thematic organization cuts across styles and historical periods. Mixing ancient and contemporary, western and non-western, it establishes thematic affiliations around the idea of architecture as the organization of space, the disposition of material, and the deployment of technology. The annotated photographs give the presentation a telegraphic immediacy. An indispensable teaching tool.
Stan Allen, Architect and Dean of the School of Architecture, Princeton University
Robert Geddes
This elegant book stimulates the imagination. It is about experiencing architecture—space and procession, light and shadow, inside and outside. It is about making architecture—by designing, by crafting, by building. It is also about history, the evolution of our lives and environments.
Robert Geddes, fellow of the American Institute of Architects and dean emeritus of the School of Architecture, Princeton University
Cammy Brothers
This densely illustrated, attractive, and useful introduction to the profession and history of architecture has no equivalent that I know of. The format is well suited to the subject and the wide range of examples is an asset.
Cammy Brothers, University of Virginia
Christine Smith
An unexpectedly enchanting and highly original book. What brings it to life is the author's sensitivity to visual form. Again and again some simple architectural element is illustrated with an unexpected and delightful example, or facing pages juxtapose images of entirely different applications of an element, demonstrating the diversity and sheer creativity of architecture. The author's ability to illustrate how contemporary buildings evolved from older and simpler forms is especially appealing.
Christine Smith, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

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Meet the Author


Francesca Prina is an independent art historian who specializes in the history of architecture. Her books include "One Thousand Years of World Architecture" (Thames & Hudson).

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