The Oxford Companion to Architecture is a new A-Z reference book on a popular and much-debated subject. It covers all aspects of architecture, from architects, building types, and movements and styles to materials, aspects of design, and definitions. It is particularly strong in its coverage of architecture around the world, and of modern and vernacular architecture. It has been written by a team of over 150 contributors, including many distinguished architects and academics, under the editorship of Dr Patrick Goode and two consultant editors. The Companion is strongly rooted in an approach to the study and presentation of architecture that avoids the art-historical approach and looks instead at its social, technical, and practical aspects. It explores why buildings look as they do, and approaches architecture not as a fine art, but as a means of solving certain social and technical problems while creating a visual effect.
Because buildings are nearly always the product of specific social, political, individual, or religious requirements, rather than of abstract artistic expression, the Companion pays particular attention to building types, and to how the architect's achievement can be appreciated within the context in which they were building. It covers not only the familiar building types (cathedrals, mosques, houses), but also those which are more obscure and whose architectural merits are sometimes overlooked (bus garages, power stations, or multi-storey car parks). It also gives a fairly broad answer to the question 'what is architecture?' by including the contribution of vernacular architecture, and structures designed by engineers. As well as taking account of the social dimension, the Companion examines the technical aspects that influence architectural expression, and offers a detailed appraisal of materials, structures, and services in architecture. The Companion covers all periods, from the beginnings of architecture in ancient Egypt up to the present day.
It is worldwide in scope, giving equal weight to architecture in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America as to the more familiar examples from Western Europe and the United States. The entries provide criticism, analysis, and value judgements, as well as information, making it an indispensable reference for architects, designers, and teachers and students of architecture and architectural history. Also available online for purchase by institutions from the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf (www.oxford-digitalreference.com) offering flexible search and browse functionality and multi-access either through Oxford Reference Online (www.oxfordreference.com) or as a stand-alone resource.