Understanding Architecture

Its Elements, History, and Meaning


Leland M. Roth, Amanda C. Clark Roth

Third Edition • December 24, 2013 • 816 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813349039 • $85.00 USD$59.99 CAN

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This widely acclaimed, beautifully illustrated survey of Western architecture is now fully revised throughout, including essays on non-Western traditions. The expanded book vividly examines the structure, function, history, and meaning of architecture in ways that are both accessible and engaging.

Significant features of the third edition include:

  • Increased global coverage, with new essays on Africa, Japan, China, India, Islamic architecture, and the architecture of the Americas.
  • A new chapter covering twenty-first century architecture.
  • Updated coverage of sustainable and green architecture and its impact on design.
  • Revised historical survey and expanded and illustrated timeline.
  • Thoroughly revised and expanded art program, including more than 650 black and white images–135 new to this edition, and more than 200 line art drawings created by author Leland Roth. A new 32-page, full color insert features more than 50 new color images.

Understanding Architecture continues to be the only text in the field to examine architecture as a cultural phenomenon as well as an artistic and technological achievement with its straightforward, two-part structure: The Elements of Architecture and The History and Meaning of Architecture. Comprehensive and clearly written, Understanding Architecture is a classic survey of architecture.


Leland M. Roth is Marion Dean Ross Professor of Architectural History Emeritus at the University of Oregon at Eugene. Dr. Roth is the author of American Architecture: A History (Westview Press), McKim, Mead & White, and other works.

Amanda C. Roth Clarkreceived her Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Alabama, completing her doctoral work on the topic of contemporary artists’ books. She holds Master and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Oregon in the fields of Western architectural history and Asian art. She is the daughter of Leland M. Roth.

Introduction
Part One – The Elements of Architecture
1. Space, the Unique Architectural Dimension
2. Commodities
3. Firmness
4. Delight: Seeing Architecture
5.Architecture and Sound
6. Architecture as Part of the Environment
7. The Makers of Architecture: Client, Architect, Builder

Part Two – The History and Meaning of Architecture
8. The Beginnings of Architecture
9. The Architecture of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt
10. Greek Architecture
11. Roman Architecture
Essay: Indian Architecture
12. Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture
Essay: Islamic Architecture
13. Medieval Architecture
14. Renaissance Architecture
Essay: Architecture of the Americas
15. Baroque and Rococo Architecture
16. Architecture of the Enlightenment: The Roots of Modernism
Essay: Chinese Architecture
17. Architecture in the 19th Century
Essay: Japanese Architecture
18. The Development of Modernism and Its Alternatives, 1900-1940
19. International Modernism and Alternatives, 1945-1975
20. Architecture at the Turn of the 21st Century: Postmodernism, 1975-2011
Essay: African Architecture, Past and Future (final title TK)
21. Moving Into the Future

“Superbly illustrated throughout. . . It remains the only text to discuss architecture as a cultural phenomenon, making this a top recommendation. . . . Understanding Architecture is the ideal textbook for classroom curriculums and a very strongly recommended addition to both community and academic Architectural Studies reference collections.”
The Midwest Book Review

Praise for Previous Editions:

“I enthusiastically recommend this 2nd edition, which includes a comprehensive new chapter on such contemporary architectural trends as postmodern traditionalism, neoexpressionism, deconstruction, critical regionalism, and sustainable architecture. Understanding Architecture is a versatile main text that works well for both general humanities courses and more advanced classes in architectural history.”
— Dr. David Seamon, Professor of Architecture, Kansas State University

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