- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (October 11, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0071416323
- ISBN-13: 978-0071416320
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Traditional Construction Patterns: Design and Detail Rules-of-Thumb 1st Edition
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"Putting the ideas of Modernism into the hands of average architects" and builders has resulted in "architecture done wrong for the past half-century." Architects Mouzon and Henderson explain their "sense of unease" and illustrate a range of do's and don'ts that "give people the tools for getting it right again." In 14 chapters they discuss architectural details ranging from the classical orders to roofs, site work, and signage. Powerful opening chapters set the stage by succinctly discussing architectural history, theory, themes and patterns. The Roman architect Vitruvius is cited, and his themes of commodity, firmness, and delight are expanded for application in reviving the lost language of architecture. The remaining eight chapters are clearly laid out with brief essays on architectural features; these are interspersed with excellent black-and-white photographs. All elements are examined using a technique incorporated into architecture: the transect, an organizing device for developing proper patterns. An illustrated lexicon is also included to educate laypersons in the language, but it is too detailed and selective to be as effective as desired. This is a great companion to Jonathan Hale's "The Old Way of Seeing" (1994) and the National Park Service's "The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation" (rev., 1990). Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers: upper-division undergraduates through professionals; two-year technical program students. -- "L.B. Sickels-Taves, Eastern Michigan University"
From the Back Cover
"Steve Mouzon ... has produced a manual that is clear, easy to use, and targeted to the most common errors ... Traditional architects can now sweep their own house clean." -- Andres Duany, Architect & Planner
Looking at a building and seeing a building are two very different things. To truly understand traditional architecture you must train your eye to see the difference between the Dos and Don'ts. Steve Mouzon's beautifully illustrated book provides an essential resource for anyone seeking this knowledge." -- Marianne Cusato, Author
"... to see a town or a building through the eyes of a gifted architect like Steve Mouzon is to truly experience it ... this book is an inspiration to building our world better again ..." -- Kristen Payne, Southern Living
...absolutely essential ... a new town or new neighborhood is simply more profitable when the architecture is correct ..." -- Nathan Norris, Developer
"... the first book in my library and the only book I take into the field ..." -- James B. Wagnon, Jr., Historical Home Crafters, Inc.
This book explains, in layman's terms, the vague sense of unease we've all had with traditional architecture done incorrectly for the past half-century, and provides the tools for doing it right again. The first tool is a fully illustrated Lexicon of nearly 240 terms we should all know, but probably don't. It's hard to ask for something if you don't know what to call it. It's also hard to say it if you don't know how to pronounce it, so the Lexicon provides pronunciation of all of the words that are not obvious.
The primary tool, however, is a collection of 108 patterns illustrated as Dos and Don'ts with diagrams and photographs. These patterns represent the most common errors of traditional construction, and are the things we really need to start getting right if we hope to build more of the most-loved places again.
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The best part of this book is the chapter titled “Lexicon.” This provides clear, detailed pictures of all relevant elements of traditional construction patterns. For example: “(Arch) Roman.” “(Arch) Springform.” “(Arch) Impost.” And so on. While not every possible element is detailed, all the basic ones are, which really helps the reader as a resource to turn back to when uncertain.
The rest of the book covers much the same ground as Cusato, but more briefly. Nothing wrong with this, but if you read this first, then Cusato’s, you’ll get a lot less out of it than if you do the reverse. If you like strong opinions, as I do, you’ll like Mouzon’s text explanations, most of which are organized around “Do’s” and “Don’ts” with respect to specific construction elements.
The biggest single problem with the book, as others have noted, is the pictures used to illustrate the Do’s and Don’ts. They are numerous, but they are all tiny and black-and-white. As a result, frequently it is hard to precisely make out what is being pointed out as wrong or right in the picture. Moreover, the captions for each picture are brief and cryptic, and frequently don’t illuminate what to look for, which exacerbates the problem. For this reason alone, I could not recommend this book as a standalone text.
In this volume, Stephen Mouzon assembles a thousand photographs of architectural details. By concentrating on specific building details, he gives examples of designs that are done correctly and others that are completely fouled up. At times, it is humorous and even a bit tragic to see just how illiterate an architect can be.
I am not an architect. My hobby is to look at architecture. When I come across real train wrecks, it is easy for me to understand why they do not work. However, I often come across buildings that don't work and I have problems putting my finger on what is wrong. This volume is a field guide to all that can go wrong.
Stephen Mouzon's target audience is architects. I would hope that any architect contemplating designing a traditional building will purchase this book. A little bit of study can help spare this country further examples of embarassing architecture. I only wish this book had been written sixty years ago.