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AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C. 4th Edition

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801884689
ISBN-10: 0801884683
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Accessible to architects and tourists alike, and perhaps especially locals.

(Jamie Hammon Roll Call 2006-01-00)

Although the guide is designed for the pedestrian, all but the most tireless trekkers will want to use the Metro subway system to get to at least some of the sites.

(Lori D. Kranz Bloomsbury Review 2006-01-00)

About the Author

G. Martin Moeller Jr. is senior vice president and curator at the National Building Museum and is the former executive director of the Washington Chapter/AIA.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 4th edition (October 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801884683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801884689
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,606,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M M on July 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
A confession: I'm not a big architecture afficionado and had never heard of the AIA or its guides before my in-laws gave me this book, but I do live in Washington and am always looking for new sources of info about the city. This is a great overall guide to DC, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone ranging from locals to tourists.

Why? This book is great for three main reasons.

First, it's a great source of history about the big picture of DC and its most prominent areas as well as the nooks and crannies of the city. At the same time, that history isn't presented in an overwhelming way that makes the reader feel as if s/he is preparing for a high school history test. And even the minutiae that it contains are really pretty interesting, partly due to the high quality of the writing (more on this below.)

Second, it does a great job of organizing the city and guiding the reader through the different areas. All guide books break down the city into areas to some extent, but I often wonder if the writers have actually spent much time in DC. One can always quibble about where certain neighborhoods begin and end, but this book is far better than most and gives a good feel for what the actual areas are really like and how they got that way.

Finally, it's a great source of architectural info about tons of buildings throughout the city. Although I live here, it turns out that I've often walked past many notable buildings without a second glance. Now, not all of these buildings are notable for their strengths (which is one of the fun features of the book - it includes some dogs along with the highlights), but what I've found having read through much of this book is that I now notice some of the more subtle features of the buildings that the book points out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jon L. Albee VINE VOICE on February 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Our capital's architectural pomposity, and its desperate desire to emulate the great planned European seats of power, are on full display here.

Written in standard AIA format, the authors are sensitive to, and critical of, the overbearing classicism of the city. But for all its self absorption, unrestrained classicism is really what makes the city interesting and distinct. People come here to see big, monumental, classical structures. This book presents them all to the reader.

The book is organized into tours by geographical area. The entries are framed by brief descriptions that offer surprisingly insightful critical commentary. There is a small black & white photograph for each entry, which shows you what the building looks like from the street.

There are 400 sites included, all of which lie within the District. As one would expect, many of the sites are historic or neo-classical buildings concentrated in the so-called "tourist" areas of the city, but important landmarks away from the Mall, or outside NW, are also included. There are more than a few modern sites too. The catalog is surprisingly comprehensive, though it is really about public buildings. Gardens and parks are thinly represented, as are the historic houses of Georgetown.

Now in its fifth edition, this book is a well-refined guide for readers with an intense interest in the subject. I would recommend to architectural historians and serious cultural tourists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen on July 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
this is a remarkable book--it is a must for anyone curious about the architecture of our nation's capitol (and even the briefest walk around town will make one curious). the selections are interesting and very well written; the reviews are largely objective and that was a relief. one major flaw in this book is the lack of good or appropriate photography to support the descriptions--i found myself confused when reading descriptions of buildings i wasn't standing right in front of and trying to decipher what i was supposed to see in the photo provided. for such an exceptional architectural guide, the author should really consider splurging on better and more descriptive photos! i thought setting up the guide along suggested walking routes was helpful as well.

one more thing--why no comment or information on that odd and misplaced structure stuck on to the side of the washington monument?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Melinda on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book may seem like too much of a good thing but it is not. It actually lends itself to picking up and purusing. There is an highly readable brief history of the architecture of DC in the front. Then the book is organized into realistic neighborhood sections. Unless you live in DC, visit often or plan to make architecture the focus of your visit it may not be the book to carry in your bag. My only wish would be for a few illustrations of some of the key features of different architectural styles like what you see in the Michelin Green Guides. Even without that however it is a very interesting and informative book and one I will make great use of as a new resident of the city and one who expects A LOT of house guests.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Hillman on January 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
Excellent book for those who want to explore D.C. on foot. Even for those familiar with D.C., the discoveries are amazing. But, to enable one to make one's own judgment about the affect of D.C.'s edifices, best to carry as a companion the similar book of D.C. architecture edited by APA folks, i.e., planners!!
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