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On Adam's House in Paradise: The Idea of the Primitive Hut in Architectural History Paperback – December 29, 1981

ISBN-13: 978-0262680363 ISBN-10: 026268036X Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Idea of the Primitive Hut in Architectural History
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 2nd edition (December 29, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026268036X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262680363
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #761,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph Rykwert is Paul Philippe Cret Professor of Architecture Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. V. Lewis VINE VOICE on August 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This strange and engaging book is an excavation of an old and cherished idea: that the original, Adamic conditions of human dwelling-in-the-world can be glimpsed in some basic form of primitive hut. Joseph Rykwert guides us backwards through the history of this idea, from Le Corbusier and Gropius, through Ruskin and Viollet-le-Duc, then through the thickets of Classicism [Laugier, Perrault, Blondel, etc.] and finally back to the atavistic architecture of archaic Greece and Egypt. Such a search for firstness is of course not a search for a building per se. It is a search for an archetype, or, more crucially, for a central feature of the human condition. Of course, every age in this survey stamps the idea with its own theoretical anxieties, so the idea, in its wild trajectory, has accreted a fascinating record of Western ideas about dwelling.

One particularly startling example of the development of this idea of the first human house is the difference between the ancient and the modern ideas about architectural ornament. As Rykwert renders it, the ancient temples replicated in stone the forms of earlier wooden structures that had become sanctified and meaningful through sacrificial rite and through ritual/liturgical association. So the origins of the neo-classical details that so decorously decorate the White House, for example, have their origins in ritual slaughter and rites of propitiation, investiture, and oath-making. In stark contrast to this brutal and significant immediacy is the modern tendency to think of ornament in purely aesthetic terms, [hence the modernist project to rid us of it, no doubt, because it has lost its meaning and become an encumberance].

A fascinating historical study.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elie G. Haddad on January 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is vintage Rykwert. A work of great erudition which is also quite accessible to the architecture student, On Adam's House traces back the idea of the primitive hut throughout history, and shows to what extent architecture always carried 'meaning' and significance in human culture. This book is another one of the major works, first published in 1972, to have effectively influenced the course of architecture in the 70's and beyond.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't buy this item, it is not what you expect. Contrary to what is advertised on amazon, you will not receive a copy of the 2nd paperback edition, published by MIT Press in 1981, but a cheap photocopy reprint of this edition, most likely after a PDF, with hardly legible illustrations (too much contrast or streaks and hazes all over the images) and printed in the cheapest and most careless way possible: the text layout comes with huge borders at the outer margins of the pages, but with no margins at all at the interior margins where the pages are glued together. The pages are just glued by means of a cheap adhesive binding; if you try to open the pages flat in order to read also the text next to the interior borders, the back will break and you hold in your hands a pile of loose paper sheets. Overall, the book looks like the first, but unsuccessful attempt of printing a book by just using the most primitive technique.
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On Adam's House in Paradise: The Idea of the Primitive Hut in Architectural History
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