Containing over 6,000 entries from alto to ziggurat, this authoritative dictionary of architecture covers all periods of Western architectural history, from ancient times to the present day. Beautifully illustrated and written in a clear and concise style, it also includes brief biographies of leading architects, from Brunelleschi and Imhotep to Le Corbusier and Richard Rogers. The text is complimented by over 250 beautiful and meticulous line drawings, labeled cross-sections and diagrams. These include precise drawings of typical building features, making it easy for readers to identify particular period styles.
The first edition of the Dictionary of Architecture received excellent reviews. Now it has been fully revised and expanded, bringing it completely up-to-date. New entries include definitions of landscape terms and biographies of modern architects. Each entry is followed by a mini-bibliography, with suggestions for further reading. It also contains over 50 new illustrations.
This is an essential work of reference for anyone with an interest in architecture. With clear descriptions providing in-depth analysis, the second edition of A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture is invaluable for students and professional architects, and provides a fascinating wealth of information for the general reader.
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Professor James Stevens Curl is a leading British architectural historian. His many stimulating studies include The English Heritage Book of Victorian Churches, Egyptomania: The Egyptian Revival as a Recurring Theme in the History of Taste, and A Celebration of Death.
It is not clear whether this second edition contains more than 6,000 (dust jacket) or merely more than 5,000 (Oxford University Press Web site) entries; the book itself provides no help beyond the unappealing prospect of counting them. In any case, the number is substantial and seems more than sufficient, according to the author, to help architecture "become more accessible to the general public" and to provide a source of "helpful information" for students and professionals. More than 250 of author Curl's own detailed and stylish line drawings complement the text. With a small percentage of relevant exceptions, coverage has been limited to "Europe, the British Isles, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and Latin America." To cite some exceptions, there are entries on contemporary Japanese architects whose contributions have been felt beyond Japan and on terms of non-Western origin (mandala, stupa) that are commonly included in general dictionaries of the English language.
The preponderance of entries is architectural terms, many with multiple definitions and some (including arcade, arch, capital, and rustication) differentiating the many types of each in both word and diagram. The entry on chimney is followed by 25 short entries of hyphenated words, beginning with chimney-arch and ending with chimney-wing. The many hundreds of biographical entries tend to be longer and livelier, often giving Curl a chance to show off his enthusiasms but also crammed with solid information on their subjects' importance and major works. Cross-referencing, especially within entries, is extensive. Many entries conclude with references keyed to a large list of abbreviations or works cited in the preface, which includes a three-page bibliographical essay on key architectural reference works.
The first edition, published in 1999 as The Dictionary of Architecture, included a 70-page bibliography that was unfortunately omitted in the second edition. The new edition has, however, increased the number of entries and line drawings by an aggregate of some 118 pages. Though it lacks the useful national surveys found in the standard Penguin Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (5th ed., 1998), the Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture is more current for contemporary architects and trends and is highly recommended for academic and public libraries. Craig Bunch
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