Cover image for A dictionary of architecture
A dictionary of architecture
Curl, James Stevens, 1937-
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Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xi, 833 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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NA31 .C86 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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From Aalto to ziggurat, this new work is an authoritative and accessible guide to architecture and its history. Ideal for students of architecture and professional architects, as well as a general readership, it contains over 3,500 entries and covers all periods of Western architecturalhistory, from ancient times to the present day, in cultures ranging from Assyrian architecture to Flemish Mannerism. With its many entries, from the commonplace to the less well-known, this dictionary aims to cover as wide a range of architectural terms as possible in an accessible style. These terms are made more understandable with over 250 attractive illustrations, which help to differentiate between thevarious types of, for example, arches or crosses. There are also longer entries which explain the different schools of architecture and put them in their historical context. Biographical entries are provided for a great number of architects from the ancients to leading figures of today. From Imhotep to Le Corbusier , each entry outlines the architect's importance and gives examples of their most notable buildings. Comprehensive and up to date, this book will prove tobe an indispensable guide to anyone interested in architecture and its history. Entries include: Aalto, arch, barge-board, Bauhaus, Brunel, Brunelleschi, caryatid, Dutch gable, entablature, Federal style, Gropius, Hawksmoor, ice-house, Inigo Jones, Jugendstil, lozenge, misericord, mosque, pagoda, Perpendicular, Richard Rogers, Romanesque, scissor-truss, Vanbrugh, ziggurat

Author Notes

James Stevens Curl is Emeritus Professor of Architectural History and Senior Research Fellow at the School of Architecture, De Montfort University, Leicester. He won the Sir Banister Fletcher Award for Best Architectural Book of the Year in 1992 with his book The Art and Architecture ofFreemasonry.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Compiled by an architectural historian, this wide-ranging work is intended for the lay public and beginning researchers. The author has written several other books, primarily on British architecture. Alphabetically arranged, more than 5,000 entries are presented in the familiar two-column per page Oxford Companion format. Coverage is from ancient Egypt and Babylonia to the present. In addition to definitions of terms, there are entries for styles, types of buildings, regional movements, and major architects, from Filippo Brunelleschi to Helmut Jahn. Entries treat the English-speaking world, Europe, and Latin America, but there are no entries for the architecture of individual countries. There is, however, peripheral coverage of Asian, Oriental, and Colonial architecture. The compiler states that no comprehensive attempt was made to cover Buddhism, China, India, Islam, and Japan except when there had been influence on Western architecture. Entries range in length from one line to two pages, often with brief bibliographical citations of further information sources. (Full citations can be found in the extensive bibliography at the end of the dictionary.) An asterisk next to a name or term indicates an entry under that heading. Approximately 200 clear black-and-white line drawings of architectural details and plans support selected definitions. The dictionary concludes with a 71-page bibliography of more than 2,500 in-and out-of-print titles, the majority of which are in English, although other European-language material is found. This is a straightforward work that should quickly become a staple reference source in libraries serving architectural beginners and scholars wanting quick information. Beginners will be satisfied with the basic entries, and advanced readers will be led to further material in the extensive bibliography. Its closest competitor, the familiar Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, has been expanded and is now called The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (5th ed., 1998). Another recent work, Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture [RBB S 1 98], focuses more on technical and stylistic elements. The Oxford volume is recommended for high-school, public, and academic libraries that do not already own the Penguin dictionary or that need an additional one-volume reference source on architecture.

Library Journal Review

The scope of a visual dictionary, seldom indicated by its title, may be its defining characteristic. The compilers and authors of a dictionary of architecture will necessarily ask whether to include a glossary of terms that describe the physical elements of building, as in Cyril M. Harris's Dictionary of Architecture and Construction (McGraw-Hill, 1993); to arrange the entries by broad historical classifications, as in Russell Sturgis's A Dictionary of Architecture and Building (1902); to abbreviate the entries and transpose the illustrations to the end of the volume to create a visual glossary, as in Henry Saylor's very concise Dictionary of Architecture (1952); or to expand the undertaking beyond a single volume, as in the Encyclopedia of Architecture: Design, Engineering & Construction (Wiley, 1990) and the International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture (St. James, 1993). Each of these works demonstrates a particular strength. For example, the International Dictionary's essays are longer and its chronologies of works exhaustive, giving it the greatest depth but the smallest number of entries, while the Dictionary of Architecture and Construction excludes biographical and specific building data. For a single-volume, well-illustrated source, the Oxford Dictionary supersedes its predecessors. It merges entries on individual architects with a carefully illustrated and impressively comprehensive set of building terms. In a helpful but judiciously employed device, asterisks indicate separate entries for terms with an essay; there are also bibliographic references for most of the topics. The dictionary's terse prose is more than balanced by its breadth and excellent illustrations. Recommended for all libraries.√ĄPaul Glassman, New York Sch. of Interior Design Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Sample entries:baluster-side - Form like a rolled-up mattress, like a baluster laid on itsside, also known as a bolster, cushion, pulvin, or pulvinus, joining the volutes of an Ionic capital.Doshi, Balkrishna Vithaldas (b. 1927)
Indian architect, designer of the Centrefor Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad (196781), one of the mostsuccessful
Modernist buildings of its time in the Subcontinent
Influenced byLe *Corbusier (with whom he worked), his own studio at Sangath, Ahmedabad(197981), and the Gandhi Institute of Labour Studies, Ahmedabad (19804), showedhis debt to the Franco-Swiss architect