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

Front Cover
Alfred A. Knopf, 2013 - Architecture - 848 pages
Here at last: the fully expanded, updated, and freshly designed second edition of the most comprehensive and widely acclaimed guide to domestic architecture—in print since its publication in 1984, and acknowledged everywhere as the unmatched, essential reference to American houses.

Focusing on dwellings in urban and suburban neighborhoods and rural locations all across the continental United States—houses built over the past three hundred years reflecting every social and economic background—this guide provides in-depth information on the essentials of domestic architecture with facts and frames of reference that will enable you to look in a fresh way at the houses around you. With more than 1,600 detailed photographs and line illustrations, and a lucid, vastly informative text, it will teach you not only to recognize distinct architectural styles but also to understand their historical significance. What does that cornice signify? Or that porch? The shape of that door? The window treatment? When was this house built? What does the style say about its builders and their eras? You'll find the answers to these and myriad other questions in this encyclopedic and eminently practical book.

Here are more than fifty styles and their variants, spanning seven distinct historical periods. Each style is illustrated with a large schematic drawing that highlights its most important identifying features. Additional drawings and photographs provide, at a glance, common alternative shapes, principal subtypes, and close-up views of typical small details—windows, doors, cornices, etc.—that can be difficult to see in full-house illustrations. The accompanying text explains the identifying features of each style, describing where and in what quantity they can be found, discussing all of its notable variants, and tracing their origin and history.

The book's introductory chapters provide invaluable general discussions of construction materials and techniques, house shapes, and the various traditions of architectural fashion that have influenced American house design through the past three centuries. A pictorial key and glossary simplifies identification, connecting easily recognized architectural features—the presence of a tile roof, for example—to the styles in which that feature is likely to be found.

Among the new material included in this edition are chapters on styles that have emerged in the thirty years since the previous edition; a groundbreaking chapter on the development and evolution of American neighborhoods; an appendix on approaches to construction in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; an expanded bibliography; and 600 new photographs and line drawings throughout.

Here is an indispensable resource—both easy and pleasurable to use—for the house lover and the curious tourist, for the house buyer and the weekend stroller, for neighborhood preservation groups, architecture buffs, and everyone who wants to know more about their own homes and communities. It is an invaluable book of American architecture, culture, and history.
 

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Contents

Looking at American Houses
3
Folk Houses ſo
104
PreRailroad
119
National
135
Manufactured
149
Dutch Colonial
169
Romantic Houses 18201880
245
Gothic Revival
267
Spanish Revival
521
Monterey
537
Pueblo Revival
543
Modern Houses
549
Craftsman
567
Modernistic
581
Bankers Modern
587
Ranch
597

Italianate
283
Exotic Revivals
305
Stick
333
Shingle
373
Richardsonian Romanesque
387
Eclectic Houses 18801940
407
Neoclassical
435
Tudor
449
French Period Houses
469
Beaux Arts
477
French Eclectic
485
Mediterranean and Spanish
497
Mission
511
SplitLevel
613
Styled Houses Since 1935
685
Styled Ranch
695
Millennium Mansion
707
New Traditional
717
American Vernacular
753
Appendix
765
Notes
773
For Further Reference
791
Acknowledgments
815
About the Illustrations
821
Index
829
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

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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