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The Country Houses of John F. Staub (Sara and John Lindsey Series in the Arts and Humanities) Hardcover – September 28, 2007

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The Country Houses of John F. Staub (Sara and John Lindsey Series in the Arts and Humanities) + Houston's River Oaks (Images of America)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Stephen Fox’s masterful history, The Country Houses of John F. Staub, thoroughly captures the nuances of the architect’s 50-year career. The book is unmatched in scope as Fox describes in detail the great variety of houses for privileged clients drawn to Staub, who with artistic generosity created dwellings of welcome and comfort. Most of the houses still stand handsomely on their sites.”--Frank D. Welch, FAIA
(Frank D. Welch, FAIA)

About the Author

STEPHEN FOX is a Fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas.RICHARD CHEEK is one of the foremost architectural photographers in America. His work has been showcased in more than a dozen volumes published by some of the nation’s most prestigious presses.

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Product Details

  • Series: Sara and John Lindsey Series in the Arts and Humanities (Book 11)
  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press; First Edition edition (September 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585445959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585445950
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9.2 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jack Wilkerson on December 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a background, I have been collecting the drawings of the greatest American residential architects between 1900 and 1930 for over 8 years to use for inspiration in my architectural practice. This book shows the work of one of the top architects of the period. He is not the greatest in the area of artistic proportions and style, but he far outshines almost all architects living today. Most of the homes listed in this book are large examples where there was no budgetary limitation. The most difficult classical home to design is the small 2 or 3 bedroom home with a limited budget. The floor plans shown in this book give a wide mix of room proportions from square to long and narrow with every ratio in between. My measurements of hundreds of classic homes has turned up an ideal ratio room that should be used when possible. This may be an extreme viewpoint, but it works in practice. If you are in love with neoclassical and romantic homes of the first third of the 20th century, you should buy this book. It should be required reading for every Architectural Student in training for residential design.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By William E. Bradley on March 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My objections to 'Country Houses of John F. Staub' begin with the title. Why the Staub works included in the book are defined as "country houses" is quite unclear. The majority of these houses are in fairly dense urban/ suburban neighborhoods. While the architectural ancestry of many of the designs is that of English, American and even French country houses, Staub's works are very much in the mainstream of American suburban house design of the mid-twentieth century.
I lived for many years in a neighborhood rich with Staub houses, and I have always loved them for their understated and impeccable design. The earlier book on Staub by Howard Barnstone has become a collector's item and I am lucky enough to have a copy which I have read and re-read many times.
The current book, I am sorry to say, is virtually unreadable. Stephen Fox's text is laden with impenetrable sociological jargon with the thesis being, as far as I can tell, that the newly rich of Houston wished to reside in tastefully traditional houses. This 'insight' is belabored to the point of comedy. To read passages of this prose aloud will make you roll over laughing at the convoluted language used to explain the obvious.
Sadly, the overwhelming sociological point-making of the text completely dominates the book, rather than discussion of Staub's space-planning, detailing and architectural imagery.
Richard Cheek's photographs, however are positively stunning. For me, the ideal would have been a re-edition of Howard Barnstone's earlier book on Staub with the addition of Cheek's photography.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Deason on October 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If I could give this fantastic book 10 stars I would, it is simply perfect. John Staub is so deserving of a book like this, he was quite simply one of the finest residental architects of the 20th century. The text of this book is scholarly in its examination of Staubs buildings, this is not surprising given that the author is a professor at Rice University. Mr. Fox should be extremely proud of this fine book, when I found out he was doing a book on Staub I was thrilled, his book on Houston Architecture is one of the finest architecture guides in the country. The images in this book are crisp and professionally layed out, really I can not find one thing that is not perfect about this book. Staub is revered in Houston, the houses he designed, mostly in chic River Oaks, are the most sought after in town, his houses are rarely torn down, and if you know anything about Houston you can really appreciate that fact. If you have any interest in fine residental architecture, great architects, or just have an appreciation for finely crafted books, then I cant imagine you not being as impressed as I am with this book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jon L. Albee VINE VOICE on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What happens? Architectural schizophrenia. Staub was the best neo-classicist practicing in Houston, and in Texas, in the first half of the 20th century. His houses are lovely studies in delicate classical detailing, repeated to reveal truly grand scale. His art reached its full potential because it was generously patronized by wealthy Houstonians. This book tells that story, with gorgeous photography and politically loaded language.

Now, enter the over-the-top deconstructionist archi-speak of the author, who can't decide if Staub was a real genius or just another imperial imitator. Quite annoying, really. This book should have been written by someone with an appropriate appreciation for scale, proportion, massing and form rather than another graduate from Lars Lerup's flake factory. P-L-A-S-T-I-C. Yeah, whatever.

Bottom line: This book is for browsing more than reading, so you're more likely to notice the startling work of the architect than the distracting analysis of the author. It's a shame so few people appreciate the art of building anymore. Staub did, and he was a consummate artist, more disciplined than McKim, Mead and White and more original than, say, Atlanta's Neel Reid.

Buy this book as a catalog and chronicle of the work of one of our country's most talented residential architects, and go to see the houses now before Houston has a chance to demolish them all.
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