The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture (3rd edition)

ISBN : 9780199674992

Discount price (incl. tax): 
James Stevens Curl; Susan Wilson
896 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Jan 2016
Oxford Quick Reference


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  • Contains over 6,000 entries and over 260 illustrations, primarily focusing on architectural history
  • Fully revised and updated, with hundreds of new entries including individuals such as Sir Francis Bacon and Liang Ssu-ch'eng, and many landscape architecture terms, including hortus conclusus and Zen garden-design
  • Comprehensive coverage of architectural, garden, and landscape terms with clear definitions
  • Includes mini-bibliographies for all entries

New to this Edition:

  • Over 900 entries new to this edition
  • Dozens of new biographical entries of deceased architects and related professions, including Marjorie Sewell CautleyLeberecht MiggeBlunden Shadbolt, and Ellen Biddle Shipman
  • Hundreds of new entries on garden and landscape architecture such as battle-gardenhameauNew Perennials, and snail-mount

Containing over 6,000 entries from Aalto to Zwinger and written in a clear and concise style, this authoritative dictionary covers architectural history in detail, from ancient times to the present day. It also includes concise biographies of hundreds of architects from history (excluding living persons), from Sir Francis Bacon and Imhotep to Liang Ssu-ch'eng and Francis Inigo Thomas. The text is complemented by over 260 beautiful and meticulous line drawings, labelled cross-sections, and diagrams. These include precise drawings of typical building features, making it easy for readers to identify particular period styles.

This third edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture has been extensively revised and expanded, with over 900 new entries including hundreds of definitions of garden and landscape terms such as Baroque gardenfloral clockhortus conclusus, and Zen garden-design. Each entry is followed by a mini-bibliography, with suggestions for further reading. With clear descriptions providing in-depth analysis, it is invaluable for students, professional architects, art historians, and anyone interested in architecture and garden design, and provides a fascinating wealth of information for the general reader.


Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Notes on Abbreviations
The Dictionary

About the author: 

Professor James Stevens Curl is a leading architectural historian. His many books include Funerary Monuments & Memorials in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (2013); Freemasonry & the Enlightenment: Architecture, Symbols, & Influences (2011-an earlier version of which won (1992) the Sir Banister Fletcher Award as Best Book of the Year); Spas, Wells, & Pleasure-Gardens of London (2010); Victorian Architecture: Diversity & Invention (2007); and The Honourable The Irish Society and the Plantation of Ulster, 1608-2000 (2000). He contributed to, and edited, the scholarly monograph Kensal Green Cemetery: The Origins and Development of the General Cemetery of All Souls, Kensal Green, London, 1824-2001 (2001), the first major study of any nineteenth-century cemetery in the world. He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, was twice Visiting Fellow at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge, and is currently Professor of Architecture at the University of Ulster.

Dr Susan Wilson is an historian with an especial interest in garden architecture, landscape aesthetics, and places of commemoration. Her doctorate was conferred (2010) by the University of Bristol for her study of the 'Swiss Garden Cottage: the origins of the châlet-style in British architecture'. She published her early findings in Exercises in Translation: Swiss-British Cultural Exchange (2006). In 2013 she chaired an interdisciplinary conference-session on the Rustic Tradition in Garden Art in New York. She taught the history of the applied and decorative arts at Chelsea College of Art and Design (2000-6), and gained recognition for her teaching practice as a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (2007). She has collaborated with Professor Stevens Curl on this edition of the Dictionary since 2012. Awarded (2012) the Opler Grant for Emerging Scholars by the Society of Architectural Historians (USA), she is also an Academic Member of the Landscape Institute.

...definitions are not only elegantly concise, they often sparkle with sententious wit. Give me this pleasingly well written dictionary any day. - Christopher Catling, SALON: Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter

the quintessential reference work for professionals, scholars and interested laymen. - Karen Latimer, Perspective: The Journal of The Royal Society of Ulster Architects

simply the best dictionary of architecture on the market ... a delight. - Gwyn Headley, Follies

[a] magisterial Dictionary ... although outwardly formidable, is surprisingly accessible and written in an engaging and often highly opinionated style. Curl and Wilson give us much, much more than mere facts ... This is a work of vast scholarship where learning is presented with style and panache; it will remain the definitive dictionary of architecture until Curl produces his fourth edition. For the garden and landscape historian it is a remarkable resource and ... should be the primary volume of reference for amateurs and scholars alike. - Timothy Mowl, Garden History: Journal of the Garden History Society

Beautifully written in clipped, scholarly prose, assiduously referenced, with a comprehensive bibliography and seasoned with Curl's own dry wit, the dictionary is both informative and readable ... a substantial addition, in every sense, to the library of those with an interest in architecture and landscape design. - Hugh Petter, The Georgian: The Magazine of The Georgian Group

What gives the references the occasional sting and much in the way of individuality is the marked viewpoint of James Stevens Curl, feisty as ever. Not for him the banal tower block or the lusting after weird and wonderful shapes in the perpetual search for novelty - Matthew Saunders, Newsletter of the Ancient Monuments Society in association with The Friends of Friendless Churches

The dictionary is a great achievement - Ruairidh Moir, RIAS Quarterly: The Journal of The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

Written with considerable wit as well as great scholarship, this is an indispensable book of reference. - Graham Tite, Context: Journal of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation

The book is essential and it now has no real competitor ... a hugely impressive work of scholarship. - Gavin Stamp, Country Life

This updated reference work should be a standard work for all good libraries, both academic and public due to the Dictionarys pedigree and reputation. - Penny Dade, Reference Reviews

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