The Story of Architecture


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Witold Rybczynski

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An inviting exploration of architecture across cultures and centuries by one of the field’s eminent authors
In this sweeping history, from the Stone Age to the present day, Witold Rybczynski shows how architectural ideals have been affected by technological, economic, and social changes—and by changes in taste. The host of examples ranges from places of worship such as Hagia Sophia and Brunelleschi’s Duomo to living spaces such as the Katsura Imperial Villa and the Alhambra, national icons such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Sydney Opera House, and skyscrapers such as the Seagram Building and Beijing’s CCTV headquarters. Rybczynski’s narrative emphasizes the ways that buildings across time and space are united by the human desire for order, meaning, and beauty.
This is the story of architecture’s physical manifestation of the universal aspiration to celebrate, honor, and commemorate, and an exploration of the ways that each building is a unique product of patrons, architects, and builders. Firm in opinion, even-handed, and rooted in scholarship, this book will delight anyone interested in understanding the buildings they use, visit, and pass by each day.

Witold Rybczynski is an architect and emeritus professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of twenty-one books, including Home, How Architecture Works, and Charleston Fancy.

“A calm, gentlemanly and intelligent book. . . . This is a book with deep pilings of knowledge supporting a facade of avuncular charm. . . . It has so much humane warmth that even modestly chilly rebukes seem out of place.”—Stephen Bayley, Spectator

“An engaging and readable account.”—Amy Trendler, Library Journal

The Story of Architecture is a great treasure. What a rare gift Rybczynski has. Students lucky enough to immerse themselves in these pages will remember the experience forever.”—Ingrid Rowland, author of Vitruvius: Ten Books on Architecture

“Ever the pragmatist, Rybczynski shares exactly what he sees and what he wants us to see. Simultaneously celebrating the power of architectural practice over many centuries and the humanness always inherent in the creation of great buildings, this remarkable book is accessible to a broad public yet full of wisdom for the practicing architect.”—William Rawn, founding principal, William Rawn Associates Architects

“Rybczynski’s riveting narrative, in a voice both erudite and personal, illuminates an anthology of important buildings. He reveals not only the historical and intellectual roots but above all the beauty of the architecture.”—Peter Pennoyer, architect and author of A House in the Country

“Witold Rybczynski is one of architecture’s most genial storytellers. His newest tome, The Story of Architecture—told primarily through the Western canon—is a wonderful and refreshingly readable primer on the development of the art of building.”—Deborah Berke, FAIA, dean, Yale School of Architecture
ISBN: 9780300246063
Publication Date: November 29, 2022
360 pages, 7 3/4 x 9 1/2
54 color + 115 b/w illus.
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