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Architecture and Town Planning in Colonial North America (3 Vol. Set) Hardcover – October 31, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0801859861 ISBN-10: 0801859867 Edition: 1St Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 536 pages
  • Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 1St Edition edition (October 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801859867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801859861
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.4 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,776,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A monument of scholarly publishing, this three-volume work is the first thorough history of its subject... Comprehensive and detailed, it examines -- in unusually brisk and intelligent prose, and with more than 4,000 aptly chosen illustrations -- the public and private buildings; the forts and harbors; the squares and greens; and the gardens and landscapes of the New World... A remarkable work of both art history and social history, these volumes keenly assess the aesthetic triumphs of town planning and landscape design... but they also reveal how structures and designs reflected North America's disparate cultural, environmental, and religious characteristics... Thank God for university presses; these beautiful books are of lasting importance.

(Atlantic Monthly)

This magnum opus documents in impressive detail the builders and planners of colonial towns and cities of Canada and the United States and the architecture of those places. With a thorough grasp of the political and economic context of urban from, Kornwolf organizes the material by influence... Original and important scholarship abounds... Highly informative graphic figures illustrate town plans, floor plans, and historic views... This is very likely the most informative source on colonial architecture of North America in print.

(Library Journal)

A monumental survey... Historians and art historians will find much that is valuable... and come away awed at the audacious scale of the book... James Kornwolf embarked on a study that most other scholars would never have attempted. We will profit from his work for years to come.

(J. Ritchie Garrison Journal of American History)

Nothing on this scale for North American design has ever before been attempted... Spanning three centuries, from Jean Ribault's 1562 attempt to establish permanent settlement on Parris Island, South Carolina, to the 1867 formation of the Dominion of Canada, these volumes constitute the most detailed yet comprehensive account of what North Americans (including Indians and African Americans) built -- firmly anchored in design history, social and political context, and environmental influences -- that we are ever likely to have.

(Robert Twombly Reviews in American History)

In its comprehensiveness and in its incorporation of the half century of research since the appearance of the previous standard study of the subject, Architecture and Town Planning in Colonial North America establishes a new foundation for its field... Kornwolf's work provides a readable and authoritative overview of the present understanding of the past and will serve as the basis on which the next generation will construct the twenty-first century's view of the Colonial development of the North American landscape.

(Dwight Shurko Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) 1900-01-00)

An extensively researched, detailed examination and thoughtful exposition of architecture, town planning, and landscape gardening in what are now the U.S. and Canada from the earliest 16th-century settlements to about 1820.

(Choice 1900-01-00)

This is an impressive work that will contribute markedly to general understanding of the formation of cities and towns and their architecture. Utilizing a vast array of sources and the carefully orchestrated distillation of a broad universe of historical facts, this is a pioneering study in the field of early American architectural and general history.

(Bryant Tolles, Professor of History and Art History and Director, Museum Studies Program, University of Delaware)

I stand in awe of this monumental work. The greatest value of Architecture and Town Planning in Colonial North America is its wide scope which brings together valuable information about the architecture and landscape design and town planning of all regions of early America. It is an extraordinary accomplishment.

(William M. S. Rasmussen, Lora M. Robins Curator of Art, Virginia Historical Society)

About the Author

James D. Kornwolf is Professor of Art and Art History at the College of William and Mary.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon L. Albee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. Where do I start?

If you are an art or architectural historian, and you consider yourself a member of the so-called "colonial mafia" (you know who you are), this work is indispensable. Its swath of interest includes all colonial settlements in North America (excluding Mexico) - Spanish, French, British, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, German, and African. The quality of research is world class. The text is rich with detail, but not so esoteric as to put off a serious general reader. Spread over three beautifully bound volumes, these books present the architectural history of colonial settlements in North America as both an extension of the home country in a pure, rustic form that evolved and refined over time as the colonial elite used architectural expression to distinguish itself, but also as those cultures assimilated new forms appropriate to the physical conditions of the "New World." The results were something new. It's an awesome presentation both in width and depth of study, and it appreciates architecture as a culturally central art form.

Sure, there are some small holes, as another reviewer has noted, but the magnificent scope of this project makes it impossible for the author to cover every possible town, city, style and period. And while there's a nice chunk for British North America (as is expected), don't think the author made his studies of the other colonial societies filler or framing material for the English. In fact, one of the best things about these books is that they treat the colonial experiments of many other European countries with fine detail and profound insight. The author does go out on a limb sometimes with an opinion or two that can leave you scratching your head.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chrisa V. Katsampes on July 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, the price on this set of books was incredibly affordable. The three volumes are very well presented and the information inside is understandable to those who love architecture. Drawings of the layout of the buildings are simple and correspond to pictures of the structure being discussed. The books are organized byarchitectural eras.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alfred on July 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
great to see what the pasts looks like in architecture & town planning in colonial america.
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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David B. Dodson on August 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I had great expectations for this work in as much as a three volume publication is a very ambitious project that would innitially indicate a lot of intense research and knowledge of the subject. This may be the case as it pertains to certain cities, but Dr. Kornworth would have been better off to leave other towns out of the discussion on purpose rather to write incorrectly with misleading conclusions supported by misleading data/pictures that will have to be corrected. Such is the case as it concerns Pensacola, Florida, pages 98-101. The inadequate research and writing, along with the misleading conclusions, unfortunately made we question his overall research methods and analytical capabilities as it pertained to the rest of the volumes. Dr. Kornworth should have done better homework or at least had a knowledgeble historian review his brief chapter as to its accuracy. It is unfortunate for 5 paragraphs to taint a 3-volume work, but sloppy research can never be excused especially under the auspices of the John Hopkins University Press.
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