A History of Western Architecture

Overview

In his highly acclaimed reference work David Watkin traces the history of western architecture from the earliest times to the 21st century. Adopting an approach that sees architectural history as a continuous narrative, the author emphasizes the ongoing vitality of the Classical language of architecture, underlining the continuity between, for example, the work ofIctinus in 5th-century BC Athens and that of McKim, Mead and White in 20th-century New York.

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Overview

In his highly acclaimed reference work David Watkin traces the history of western architecture from the earliest times to the 21st century. Adopting an approach that sees architectural history as a continuous narrative, the author emphasizes the ongoing vitality of the Classical language of architecture, underlining the continuity between, for example, the work ofIctinus in 5th-century BC Athens and that of McKim, Mead and White in 20th-century New York.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Some 7000 years of architectural history and highlights are summarized in this classic survey, which serves equally well as a reference work and a college textbook for introductory architectural history courses. The current edition, updated from 2000, includes new material and illustrations on ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and touches on early 21st-century flagship buildings and globalization. Watkin (history of architecture, Univ. of Cambridge) captures with a fine economy architecture's successive revivals and historical legacies. Given the book's scope, coverage is mostly confined to acknowledged masterpieces and trendsetters. While classics such as the Parthenon (three pages) and Chartres Cathedral (two pages) receive the most attention, only 25 buildings in New York and 15 in Chicago are mentioned, often in passing. Almost 1000 photographs (50 full-page, color) illustrate buildings, interiors, and styles. A glossary, a (somewhat dated) chapter-by-chapter "for further reading" list, and a detailed index conclude the work. In anticipation of reference consultation, libraries may elect to bind this sturdy paperback. VERDICT Popular since it was first published in 1986, this title can be appreciated by a second generation of readers for Watkin's erudition, big-picture overviews, and explanations of historical context and continuity.—Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL
Booknews
Watkin's (architecture history, U. of Cambridge, England) third edition contains new material on the architecture of Egypt and Mesopotamia, as well as architecture's most recent trends. One wishes for more frequent ground plans and sections as well as greater detail on the eras before the Renaissance; Watkin's writing, and examples are most expansive for the periods of the Renaissance, Baroque, and nineteenth century. Despite these reservations, the text remains a readable, solidly argued, and copiously illustrated introductory survey text useful for the undergraduate classroom. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From Barnes & Noble
While most books treat architectural history as a "museum of neatly labeled styles," this groundbreaking study sees it as a living continuity, resonating with new forms while echoing the past. From Alberti and Palladio to Perrault, Adam, Schinkel, and Luytens, history shows that each successive generation has had to rediscover the language of classicism, taking from those traditional forms what they needed to redefine it. Watkin surveys the range of Western architecture from its Classical origins, emphasizing the validity and vitality of the Classical language. What emerges is a new way to look at the history of building: As different as Alberti's Quattrocento and Soane's Neo-Classical styles are, both architects can be considered students of Vitruvius; and the same Grecian-inspired classicism that inspired democratic ideas in Jeffersonian America took on an entirely different meaning in Germany in the 1930s. Originally written in 1986, this edition has been updated to include developments from the last 10 years, including the high-tech work of Norman Foster and Richard Rogers and the more traditionalist work of Thomas Beeby. B&W & color illus.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781856694599
  • Publisher: King, Laurence Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/9/2010
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 720
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Watkin, the author of many books, including English Architecture: A Concise History and The Rise of Architectural History, teaches the History of Architecture at the University of Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Preface 6
1 Mesopotamia and Egypt 9
2 The Classical Foundation: Greek, Hellenistic, Roman 19
3 Early Christian and Byzantine 89
4 Carolingian and Romanesque 107
5 The Gothic Experiment 149
6 Renaissance Harmony 211
7 Baroque Expansion 283
8 Eighteenth-Century Classicism 369
9 The Nineteenth Century 439
10 Art Nouveau 537
11 The Twentieth Century 565
Glossary 685
Further Reading 688
Acknowledgements 693
Index 694
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