A Field Guide to American Houses

A Field Guide to American Houses

The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's Domestic Architecture

Book - 2015 | Second edition.
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Now in paperback: the fully expanded, updated, and freshly designed second edition of the most comprehensive and widely acclaimed guide to domestic architecture: in print since its original publication in 1984, and acknowledged everywhere as the unmatched, essential guide to American houses.

This revised edition includes a section on neighborhoods; expanded and completely new categories of house styles with photos and descriptions of each; an appendix on "Approaches to Construction in the 20th and 21st Centuries"; an expanded bibliography; and 600 new photographs and line drawings.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.
Edition: Second edition.
ISBN: 9780375710827
0375710825
Branch Call Number: 728.0973 MCALEST
Characteristics: xxv, 848 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

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sarahcharlotte999
Apr 12, 2018

Ok, I admit it. I cherish a sick pride in having read each of the 850 pages in Virginia McAlester's magnum opus.

Unfortunately, I still can't tell the difference between many of these house styles, even with the author's patient guidance. Italianate or Italian Renaissance? Classical revival vs. Greek revival vs. Neoclassical? And please, I need help with mullions, muntins and lintels - aren't those small shellfish, not parts of windows?

Even after slowly digesting this book over the course of four years, I'm lucky if I can spot an architecture gimme, like half-timbering or a Tudor gable.

However, eating all these architectural veggies has its payoff: the dessert course, aka the chapter on McMansions. After following the author on a tour of thousands of houses, you learn enough to snark along with her. "Look at that Millenium Mansion. What a beauty. Multiple cascading hipped roofs?! You gotta be kidding me!!"

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