Sir Banister Fletcher's
A History Of Architecture
Published by the Architectural Press
ISBN 0 7506 2267 9
List price: £95.00 (amazon.co.uk)
This weighty tome is THE standard one volume architecture reference book. In it's current (1996) edition. It covers the history of architecture around the world from pre-history to 1995 in a comparitive way. Sir Banister-Fletcher's original focus was towards Western architecture but subsequent guest editors, (Dan Cruikshank for the 1996 edition) have shifted this to a world overview. First published in 1896 and now in it's 20th, centenary edition. The sheer number of buildings described in detail is amazing, with detailed drawings and photographs complementing the text. Its real strength is its 'study pages' of architect's drawings, comparing similar buildings and details of buildings all drawn to scale, allowing, for example, a direct comparison of aedicular components from Indian temples. These drawings have now been supplanted by photographs, but are still absolutely crucial to the aim of the book.
The book may be the size and weight of a concrete block, but it is a crucial reference work for anyone interested in architecture
'...a revolution has taken place in Banister Fletcher. The timid
modernizing, the anxious realignments of the past fifty years are over;
under Dan Cruickshank's editorship, it has achieved a thoroughness and
flexibility one would never have thought possible within the grandiose
shell of this late Victorian institution. Half the pleasure, as half the volume, of Banister Fletcher is its pictures. The thousands of photographs are, as always in Banister Fletcher, unimprovably fine.'
The Times Educational Supplement, November 1996