Architecture: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780192801791

Andrew Ballantyne
144 Pages
112 x 178 mm
Pub date
Aug 2002
Very Short Introductions


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  • Short introduction to architecture for the general reader and beginning student
  • Well-known examples from Ancient Greece to the present day
  • Explains what gives buildings meaning
  • Explains what makes certain buildings special
  • Illustrations of key buildings

This highly original and sophisticated look at architecture helps us to understand the cultural significance of the buildings that surround us. It avoids the traditional style-spotting approach in favour of giving an idea of what it is about buildings that moves us, and what it is that makes them important artistically and culturally. The book begins by looking at how architecture acquires meaning through tradition, and concludes with the exoticism of the recent avant garde. Illustrations of particular buildings help to anchor the general points with specific examples, from ancient Egypt to the present day.


1: Adding Value: how buildings become architecture
2: Architectural Heritage: how buildings tell us who we are
3: Architectural Canons: how architecture achieves greatness
Further reading

About the author: 

Andrew Ballantyne qualified and practised as an architect, and then moved into academic work. He has held research and teaching posts at the universities of Sheffield, Bath, and Newcastle, where he is now Professor of Architecture. He has written on architectural history and theory, and his previous books are Architecture, Landscape and Liberty (CUP, 1997) and What is Architecture? (Routledge, 2002).

a densely fascinating guide - Steven Poole, The Guardian Review

an excellent introduction to architecture ... one to recommend to students, friends and family, which is quite an achievement! - Robert Tavernor, University of Bath

There is really no better book out there. Ballantyne is a beautiful stylist, and the book combines intellegence with a completely beguiling wruterly style. - Sunday Herald (Glasgow)

will justify the ambition of every young and aspiring architect - but will also stimulate anyone at all curious about buildings ... Clear and jargon-less it shows how all buildings - good, bad and indifferent - are the truest indicators of the state of a society and of its culture. - Joseph Rykwert, University of Pennsylvania

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