Architecture: From Prehistory to Post-Modernism : The Western Tradition

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9780130447029: Architecture: From Prehistory to Post-Modernism : The Western Tradition

This highly regarded, consistently well-selling and extremely well-written book brings to life architectural history and its canon of great buildings through a lively approach that is both insightful and accurate. This story of architecture moves back and forth between long views of historical trends and close-ups of major works and crucial architectural themes. The authors have successfully made the subject of architectural history - which due to its technical aspects can too often be off-putting to the lay reader - transparent, engaging, and easily mastered. All buildings are illustrated with effective images that are well reproduced and thoughtfully keyed to the text. In the second edition, the content of the book has been fine-tuned and polished. Sections in the Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern chapters were reworked to include recent scholarship and, in the case of the Baroque, expand coverage to Eastern Europe. The Introduction has been significantly updated in its slant and language, including a discussion of the newly introduced term "Postmodernity." The most significant and exciting change, however, is the addition of the new chapter, which covers architectural developments from approximately 1980 to 2000. The new chapter is a challenging yet comprehensible take on the exciting, diverse, and stunning buildings from the last twenty years. Most impressively, the author creates a cohesive story from these recent buildings that are, by their very nature, extremely complex, individualistic, and difficult to categorise.

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Review:

For everyone interested in looking beyond the fašades of architectural landmarks to learn about the forces that shaped them, Architecture: From Prehistory to Postmodernity has been a definitive resource since its publication in 1986. Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman, professors at New York University, weave complex information into an engrossing narrative. While the authors' focus is on the Western tradition, shared ancient roots inspired a chapter on aspects of Islamic architecture. In the second edition, Trachtenberg's well-supported opinions add a lively sense of engagement to a new chapter surveying major trends of the 1980s and 1990s (work by Renzo Piano, Frank Gehry, Daniel Liebeskind, and others). Among the special delights of the book are its excursions into fascinating architectural byways, such as the history of castles, why the mendicant monks wanted simpler churches, and the superiority of the truss to the girder. More than 1,000 illustrations, including 91color plates, provide ample visual reference. --Cathy Curtis

From the Publisher:

Published jointly by Prentice Hall and Harry N. Abrams Inc. A comprehensive survey of architecture in the Western world -- from its Stone Age beginnings to the present.

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Marvin Trachtenberg
Published by Prentice Hall (1986)
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