Cover image for A history of American architecture : buildings in their cultural and technological context
A history of American architecture : buildings in their cultural and technological context
Gelernter, Mark, 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hanover, NH : University Press of New England, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxii, 346 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA705 .G35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A richly illustrated history of American architecture that explains why particular architectural ideas occurred when & where they did.

Author Notes

Mark Gelernter is Professor of Architecture and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Colorado

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Gelernter (Univ. of Colorado, Denver) adds to the constellation of concise histories of American architecture while trying to refrain "from a traditional form of architectural writing that stressed connoisseurship." He is more successful with cultural than technological context. Throughout, he stresses European precedents, though the illustrations are not always well placed for optimal comparison. There are several refreshing and original inclusions of more vernacular examples as illustrations of the broad influence of styles. But despite Gelernter's argument in their favor, his illustrations are perhaps the book's greatest liability. Sometimes, as with the Monadnock Building, the author overlooks the key technological significance of the building. Although his summaries are at times substantive, Gelernter's expression of them can be less than elegant. His work does not eclipse the central position of Leland Roth's A Concise History of American Architecture (1979) or Vincent Scully's American Architecture and Urbanism (1969), both of which exhibit more polished writing, more thorough analysis, and more expansive thinking.ÄPaul 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.

Choice Review

Here is a comprehensive work for undergraduates containing more history and ideas than most. Gelernter (architecture and administrator, Univ. of Colorado, Denver; architectural illustrator) offers crisp line drawings among the 289 illustrations. Unfortunately, many of the black-and-white photographs lack contrast. Coverage begins in 1500 CE with Native Americans and ends in 1989 with the seaside community in Florida. Ideology and history surrounding American buildings is included throughout, as are useful reviews of history from the ancient Greeks up through American settlement for those "whose European cultural and architectural history is a bit rusty." European comparisons are also included, as is land usage up through urbanization and suburbanization. There are no architect's biographies except for that of Wright. Log cabins are dismissed in one paragraph, and there are no folk vernacular buildings discussed. The author acknowledges the difficulty of writing about his last period, 1973-98, but by then he has offered effective coverage of most American architecture and the ideas that shaped it. No footnotes; glossary with useful references to illustrations. In the end, just another survey for an American architecture survey course. Undergraduates. W. L. Whitwell; formerly, Hollins College

Table of Contents

First Civilizations (12,000 BC-AD 1500)
Cultures Transformed and Transplanted (1500-1650)
Colonial Culture (1650-1763)
The Age of Revolution (1763-1820)
Culture Realigned (1820-1865)
Enterprise and Turmoil (1865-1885)
The Age of Diversity (1885-1915)
Between the World Wars (1915-1945)
Modern Culture (1945-1973)
Postmodern Culture (1973 - 1996)