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A Field Guide to American Houses (Revised): The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's Domestic Architecture Paperback – November 10, 2015
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*Starred Review* This outstanding volume covers more than 50 styles of American residential architecture, from early settlement homes of the seventeenth century to the modern “Millennium Mansions” of the present day. Expanded and completely revised from the 1984 edition, this edition includes American house design from the last three decades and adds more than 600 new photographs and illustrations.The introductory section, “Looking at American Homes,” is broken down into distinct narratives. “Style: The Fashions of American Houses” distills the majority of houses into one of four principal architectural traditions; “Form: The Shapes of American Houses” features copious line drawings that show ground plans and proportions; “Structure: The Anatomy of American Houses” details the walls, roofs, and structural elements of a house; and “Neighborhoods: The Groupings of American Houses” highlights the different types of neighborhoods, including a discussion of plans, density, streets and sidewalks, and development influences.Each section that follows covers a specific style (e.g., “Dutch Colonial,” “Italianate,” “Queen Anne,” “Tudor,” “Mission,” “Prairie,” “Ranch”), with notes on identifying features, principal subtypes, variants and details, and geographic occurrence. Numerous black-and-white photographs illustrate the wide variety of houses found within each style, and line drawings express both fine and broad details. The appendix “Approaches to Construction in the 20th and 21st Centuries” discusses prefabricated structures and “green” construction. Copious notes and a bibliography for further reference round out the work. Both scholars and average readers will find much to enjoy in this volume. Highly recommended for most public and academic libraries—and the price point may allow for a circulating copies. --Rebecca Vnuk --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“The most authoritative dictionary of the language spoken by the built environment . . . McAlester’s book is excellent for the layperson who wants to wander about the neighborhood with a bit more authority, or perhaps for the homeowner who can’t decide what kind of windows might look best. It’s also useful to those of us who study preservation professionally, to bring our insistence that buildings are just as alive as plants—and just as worthy of careful, affectionate attention—into the broader cultural conversation about urban spaces. That conversation, in which the most mundane elements of building design are cast as characters in the story of a city, turns the streetscape into something greater than the brick and limestone it’s made of. It’s alive, noisy—and demands our close attention.”
—Angela Serratore, The New York Times Magazine
"Magisterial . . . The illustrated story of why our houses—great and humble and everything in between—look the way they do."
—Michael Tortorello, The New York Times
"Once you've pored through Virginia McAlester's photo-packed bible of American home design, you'll be able to identify the saltboxes, Dutch colonials, and brownstones lining your own street, and you'll understand the historical significance of each one."
—Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly
"The go-to resource for architecture spotters."
—Peter Terzian, Elle Décor
"Chronicles the past 400 years of American styles, from wigwam to mobile to modern."
—Alexandra Wolfe, The Wall Street Journal
—Pilar Viladas, House Beautiful
"Encyclopedic . . . For lovers of historic homes, this is a rich trove of not just details, but reasons for them."
—Susan Clotfelter, The Denver Post
"880 pages of scholarly wonder."
"The definitive guide to American housing styles."
—Jim Weiker, The Columbus Dispatch
"Outstanding . . . Expanded and completely revised . . . Both scholars and average readers will find much to enjoy in this volume."
—Rebecca Vnuk, Booklist (starred review)
Top customer reviews
when traveling or just walking trough neighborhoods.
The hundreds of photographs and clean precise drawings will help you
identify any style of architecture you happen to come across.
There is an overview of styles, from 1600 to the present [ 1980s when the book was written] , which covers the fashions and trends of buildings, along with the anatomy of the structures. A pictorial key and glossary is included in this section.
From there the book is divided into 5 chapters: Colonial, Romantic, Victorian, Eclectic and Contemporary [ 1940 to 1980s ].
I have worn out 2 copies of this book and now am on my 3rd.
The Field Guide to American Houses is like a dear friend who has travel many informative miles with me
over the years.
I highly recommend it.