Home: A Short History of an Idea

Home: A Short History of an Idea

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by Witold Rybczynski
     
 

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Walk through five centuries of homes both great and small—from the smoke-filled manor halls of the Middle Ages to today's Ralph Lauren-designed environments—on a house tour like no other, one that delightfully explicates the very idea of "home."

You'll see how social and cultural changes influenced styles of decoration and furnishing, learn the

Overview

Walk through five centuries of homes both great and small—from the smoke-filled manor halls of the Middle Ages to today's Ralph Lauren-designed environments—on a house tour like no other, one that delightfully explicates the very idea of "home."

You'll see how social and cultural changes influenced styles of decoration and furnishing, learn the connection between wall-hung religious tapestries and wall-to-wall carpeting, discover how some of our most welcome luxuries were born of architectural necessity, and much more. Most of all, Home opens a rare window into our private lives—and how we really want to live.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Here is a book that will change thew ay you look at your house or apartment—for the better."
People

"Rybczynski's style is as loose and, yes, as comfortable as a down-filled comforter."
The Christian Science Monitor

"Sensible and stylish"
Newsweek

"It's a bracing, irreverent, worldly wise book."
—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Home is serious, historically minded, and exquisitely readable. It is a triumph of intelligence."
The New Yorker

Library Journal
In a loosely configured essay, Rybczynski (Architecture, McGill Univ.) discusses the idea of comfort and the Western cultural attitudes that have shaped it since the end of the middle ages. Rather than dealing with the technical aspects of architecture, he reviews such cultural variables as intimacy and privacy, domesticity, ease, and ideas about light, air, and efficiency as they have changed over time. Essentially Rybczynski makes a plea for the primacy of cultural ideals as a basis for creating psychologically comfortable homes. Though he is selective in his history and examples, this is a worthwhile counterweight to the all-too-common technical practices of modern architects. Recommended. Jack Perry Brown, Ryerson & Burnham Libs., Art Inst. of Chicago

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140102314
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/1987
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
732,166
Product dimensions:
5.15(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.85(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Witold Rybczynski of Polish parentage, was born in Edinburgh in 1943, raised in Surrey, and attended Jesuit schools in England and Canada. He received Bachelor of Architecture (1960) and Master of Architecture (1972) degrees from McGill University in Montreal. He is the author of more than fifty articles and papers on the subject of housing, architecture, and technology, including the books Taming the Tiger, Paper Heroes, The Most Beautiful House in the World, Waiting for the Weekend, and Looking Around: A Journey Through Architecture (all available in Penguin), and most recently, City Life. He lives with his wife, Shirley Hallam, in Philadelphia and is the Martin and Margy Myerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Home: A Short History of an Idea 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Witold Rybczynski's Home: A Short History Of An Idea, is an historical and informational text following the devlopment of the concept of home and discusses the psychological effects of different types of dwellings and personal space, architecture, and society. Home is a well-structured and planned tracing of society's development of the concepts of home and comfort and relates to today's audiences with a new perspective on where and how they live. One of Mr. Rybczynski's strengths as a writer is his conversational writing style and the flow of the organization of his main ideas. Home instantly dives into the development of society's ideas of comfort and home with an almost staggering jump into a strong comparison and analysis of the four style lines of the Ralph Lauren collection. Mr. Rybczynski highlights the different aspects of the setting that Lauren creates to entice the public and the different props he uses to create this feeling of home. Home utilizes the time line approach, begining in the medieval era, to explain Ralph Lauren's heightend understanding of the public's ideas of comfort. Mr. Rybczynski also examines the work of Le Corbusier and relates the modernist movement with current modern trends. Mr. Rybczynski's book remeinds architects and interior designers that even in today's society it is easy to get caught up in what is in style or what would make a statement rather than what is comfertable for occupants to inhabit. I recommend Mr. Rybczynski's book to anyone who would appreciate seeing their home in a whole new way.