A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's DomesticArchitecture

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For the house lover and the curious tourist, for the house buyer and the weekend stroller, for neighborhood preservation groups and for all who want to know more about their community -- here, at last, is a book that makes it both easy and pleasurable to identify the various styles and periods of American domestic architecture.

Concentrating not on rare landmarks but on typical dwellings in ordinary neighborhoods all across the United States -- houses built over the past three hundred years and lived in by Americans of every social and economic background -- the book provides you with the facts (and frame of reference) that will enable you to look in a fresh way at the houses you constantly see around you. It tells you -- and shows you in more than 1,200 illustrations -- what you need to know in order to be able to recognize the several distinct architectural styles and to understand their historical significance. What does that cornice mean? Or that porch? That door? When was this house built? What does its style say about the people who built it? You'll find the answers to such questions here.

This is how the book works: Each of thirty-nine chapters focuses on a particular style (and its variants). Each begins with a large schematic drawing that highlights the style's most important identifying features. Additional drawings and photographs depict the most common shapes and the principal subtypes, allowing you to see at a glance a wide range of examples of each style. Still more drawings offer close-up views of typical small details -- windows, doors, cornices, etc. -- that might be difficult to see in full-house pictures. The accompanying text is rich in information about each style -- describing in detail its identifying features, telling you where (and in what quantity) you're likely to find examples of it, discussing all of its notable variants, and revealing its origin and tracing its history.

In the book's introductory chapters you'll find invaluable general discussions of house-building materials and techniques ("Structure"), house shapes ("Form"), and the many traditions of architectural fashion ("Style") that have influenced American house design through the past three centuries. A pictorial key and glossary help lead you from simple, easily recognized architectural features -- the presence of a tile roof, for example -- to the styles in which that feature is likely to be found.

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About the author

Virginia and Lee McAlester have both avocational and professional interests in architecture. Virginia, a Radcliffe graduate, attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is a founding member and past president of the Historic Preservation League, Inc. (Dallas), and for nine years was Texas Advisor and a member of the Administrative Committee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She is co-author of The Making of a Historic District: Swiss Avenue. Lee, a geologist, is a professor at Southern Methodist University and was formerly Dean of the School of Humanities. From 1960 to 1973 he was Professor of Geology at Yale University. He has an active hobby interest in architectural history and has been involved in historic preservation in New England, Georgia, and the Southwest. The McAlesters live in Dallas, Texas.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Knopf
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Published on
Jul 29, 2015
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Pages
880
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ISBN
9780385353878
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Buildings / Residential
Architecture / History / General
Architecture / Regional
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Andrea Palladio
Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) was one of the most celebrated architects of the Renaissance, so important that the term Palladian has been applied to a particular style of architecture that adheres to classical concepts. The wide spread of Palladianism was due partly to the private and public buildings he constructed in Italy, the designs of which were copied throughout Europe. But of even greater consequence was his remarkable magnum opus, "I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura"; translated into every major Western European language in the two centuries following its publication in 1570, it has been one of the most influential books in the history of architecture.
The Four Books of Architecture offers a compendium of Palladio's art and of the ancient Roman structures that inspired him. The First Book is devoted to building materials and techniques and the five orders of architecture: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. Palladio indicates the characteristic features of each order and supplies illustrations of various architectural details. The Second Book deals with private houses and mansions, almost all of Palladio's own design. Shown and described are many of his villas in and near Venice and Vicenza (including the famous Villa Capra, or "The Rotunda," the Thiene Palace, and the Valmarana Palace). Each plate gives a front view drawing of the building and the general floor plan. The Third Book is concerned with streets, bridges, piazzas, and basilicas, most of which are of ancient Roman origin. In the Fourth Book, Palladio reproduces the designs of a number of ancient Roman temples. Plates 51 to 60 are plans and architectural sketches of the Pantheon.
In all, the text is illustrated by over 200 magnificently engraved plates, showing edifices, either of Palladio's own design or reconstructed (in these drawings) by him from classical ruins and contemporary accounts.
All the original plates are reproduced in this new single-volume edition in full size and in clear, sharp detail. This is a republication of the Isaac Ware English edition of 1738. Faithful and accurate in the translation and in its reproduction of the exquisite original engravings, it has long been a rare, sought-after work. This edition makes The Four Books available for the first time in more than 200 years to the English-speaking public.
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