Book Review: History of Architecture by Banister Fletcher
Penned down by Professor Banister Fletcher and later editions by Banister Fletcher (the son), published first in 1896, the Bible of History of Architecture, as popularly known; the book is a complete manifestation of architecture in itself. It celebrates architecture and connects it with the past in a fascinating way. I am unsure of how qualified I am to review a book that over the years has evolved to perfection. But nonetheless, here is the least that I can tell of what it holds and how it unfolds, much like a storybook from the ancestors.
Architecture of Everywhere and from Everywhere:
The book covers the architecture of all the places of the world. It takes the historically important and remarkable architectural from all the four directions and puts them on the paper, and describes all the details that one might need to know about them. It also shows the development of the civilizations or countries through maps, which make the reader, understand the country or the civilization much closely.
Prehistoric to the International:
From the prehistoric era to the present, everything architecturally relevant, the book meticulously covers it. Every era has its significant type of architecture which plays an important role in shaping up the society. The editors of the book have articulated the important developments of every era and made it available for the readers.
Influences on Architecture and Its Evolution:
Not everyone pays attention to the fact that architecture isn’t just buildings, but everything that surrounds it, it is necessary that architecture is understood as a whole but not in pieces. The whole picture is the additive of everything from geographical location to the social and political influences of a place, and how they shape up the architecture of the place is a rare discussion. But, the book emphasizes on it and this makes you more learned about the architecture and why it holds an important place in the industry.
Traditionally, whatever material was readily and abundantly available was the main source and resource for the construction of the building, thus, giving a particular characteristic to the building. The book goes from one era to the other, and one civilization to the other, describing the architectural character of each building and why it has been designed the way it has been.
The book has some of the very rare photographs of the architecturally important buildings, and they have been illustrated really well.
Examples of Plans, Sections and Views:
Examples of all the important buildings have been described with plans, sections and views. The methods of construction, the materials used and the special characteristic of the buildings have been presented really well and are very easy to understand, and especially for students to learn it can come in very handy.
The fifth edition stands out from the previous editions of the book, as it marks the starting of the comparative analysis in the book. It draws a comparative analysis of different civilizations, and eras. This helps one understand as to how two civilizations have grown parallel-y, and how similar or different the developments have been across the globe.
If you want to refer something from the book directly, without spending the time to read it, then the contents and the index of the book is quite elaborate and covers all the necessary topics and examples or anything that can be important to the reader. The book is quite user-friendly.
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