While architecture is usually presented as the story of groundbreaking architects and celebrated buildings, vernacular architecture is the antithesis of that.
It is the everyday buildings made of locally available materials that define the visual character of an area, and they are usually designed and built by local practitioners.
Buildings Without Architects: A Global Guide to Everyday Architecture profiles various forms of this type of building from mud huls in Africa, step wells of India, churches in Chile, Dutch windmills, the big barns and log cabins of the United States, to the bee houses of Slovenia.
Author John May presents the history and several forms of this low-impact and sustainable method of building in clear and accessible language.
He touches on traditional tools used, cultures that have perfected this type of architecture, and the various building materials including, like: wood, stone, earth and clay, "poles, posts, and coverings", bamboo, reed, recycled materials, and even snow.
Buildings Without Architects: A Global Guide to Everyday Architecture serves as an introductory guide to vernacular architecture, which May says "is most simply defined as the architecture of the people, designed and built by communities, families, and individual builders."
With an introduction by Anthony Reid, a renowned lecturer on vernacular architecture, this book offers a knowledgeable and encompassing presentation.
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