A Concise History Of Western Architecture by Robert Furneaux Jordan

Tuesday 24th October § Leave a comment

I missed my first lecture this morning. Woops. I set an alarm, but it was just too easy to disable and roll-over and snooze some more. I was dreaming about swiming with crocodiles.

I missed out on hearing about the Romans in a History & Theory lecture. It’s not really an anything too in-depth, more like a general introduction to the idea of architectural history. But this gives me the perfect opportunity to re-read the second book that I was going to review.

A Concise History Of Western Architecture
by Robert Furneaux Jordan

I’ve only re-read as far as the Romans and already I remember why I like this book so much. Unlike other history books I’ve read it doesn’t go soft on the criticism. As history goes, it’s light and comprehensible, even personable. The book explores the cultural context of each civilisation be analysing the key (familiar) buildings. It’s not an indepth resource, but much like the lecture that I missed this morning, it provides a basic précis of Western history.

My main gripe with this book is a limitation present in many other architectural history books. It’s the analysis of ‘Western’ architecture, as separate from any other external culture. It could be true that the amount of cultural exchange between the East and West was minimal (I don’t know), but too often this ‘Western’ model is presented as the one and only history of architecture.

There’s not much more to say. It’s an enjoyable read. The section on modernism is rather skimpy, but then that’s a subject best handled by a more modern book. Considering it was published in 1969 I think the main problem you might encounter with this book would be finding a copy. You might find it in a library, or maybe more likely on the shelf of a second hand book shop.

4/5 Stars

A Concise History Of Western Architecture

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