Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning

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Westview Press, 2007 - Architecture - 652 pages
11 Reviews
This best-selling, illustrated survey of Western architecture is now fully revised throughout, explaining the structure, function, history, and meaning of architecture in a way that is both accessible and engaging. The long-awaited second edition includes: new coverage on Postmodernism and its relationship to the Modernist era; a reorganization of Mesopotamian and Prehistoric architecture based on thematic lines of development; an expanded chapter on Medieval architecture, including developments from the end of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance; and an expanded art program that includes over 500 images in black and white and color. Understanding Architecture continues to be the only text in the field to examine architecture as a cultural phenomenon as well as an artistic and technological achievement with its straightforward, two-part structure: (1) The Elements of Architecture and (2) The History and Meaning of Architecture. Comprehensive, clearly written, affordable, and accessible, Understanding Architecture is a classic survey of Western architecture.

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Review: Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, And Meaning

User Review  - Zack Field - Goodreads

This was the textbook for my Spring 2011 "Intro to Architecture" class. I went into the class being completely naive to all things architecture. I understood that I appreciated the work of architects ... Read full review

Review: Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, And Meaning

User Review  - Chrisbaker811 - Goodreads

Very interesting if you are interested in architecture. Read full review


Architecture the Unavoidable
How Does the Building Function?
Structure or How Does the Building Stand Up?
Space in Architecture
Architectural Acoustics Shape and Sound
From High Priest to Profession
Part of the Natural Environment
Architecture Memory and Economics
Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture
Medieval Architecture
Renaissance Architecture
Baroque and Rococo Architecture
Architecture in
The Nineteenth Century
Versions of Modern Architecture 19141970

From Caves to Cities
The Architecture of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt
Greek Architecture
Roman Architecture

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Popular passages

Page 491 - It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage. It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves forever and ever, and never got uncoiled.
Page 491 - ... it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage. It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of...
Page 356 - The nature of all other beings is limited and constrained within the bounds of laws prescribed by Us. Thou, constrained by no limits, in accordance with thine own free will, in whose hand We have placed thee, shalt ordain for thyself the limits of thy nature.
Page 330 - ... see myself dwelling, as it were, in some strange region of the universe which neither exists entirely in the slime of the earth nor entirely in the purity of Heaven; and that, by the Grace of God, I can be transported from this inferior to that higher world in an anagogical manner.
Page 55 - The reality of a room, for instance, was to be found in the vacant space enclosed by the roof and walls, not in the roof and walls themselves. The usefulness of a water pitcher dwelt in the emptiness where water might be put, not in the form of the pitcher or the material of which it was made.
Page 5 - GREAT nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts — the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others ; but of the three, the only quite trustworthy one is the last.
Page 154 - We have no right whatever to touch them. They are not ours, They belong partly to those who built them, and partly to all the generations of mankind who are to follow us.
Page 491 - The M'Choakumchild school was all fact, and the school of design was all fact, and the relations between master and man were all fact, and everything was fact between the lying-in hospital and the cemetery, and what you couldn't state in figures, or show to be purchasable in the cheapest market and saleable in the dearest, was not, and never should be, world without end, Amen.
Page 153 - Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! this our fathers did for us.

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About the author (2007)

Leland M. Roth is Marion Dean Ross Professor of Architectural History at the University of Oregon at Eugene. He is the author of American Architecture: A History; A Concise History of American Architecture; McKim, Mead & White, Architects; and other works. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.

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