Simple Rules: What the Oldtime Builders Knew

Shannon Taylor Scarlett. CreateSpace, $21.49 (126p) ISBN 978-1-4841-5207-2
This thoughtful and thought-provoking little gem outlines 25 crucial design principles that the author believes have been jeopardized as domestic architecture has become dominated by developers. Scarlett, who runs an architecture firm in Wellesley, Mass., aims to “remind those in the building community that simple beauty and meaning... is still reproducible in new homes, and that many traditional building techniques are still applicable in today’s economy, and within current construction practices.” In this, she succeeds terrifically. Most of this attractively illustrated book consists of quotations taken from original sources published from the 16th to early 20th centuries. These sources are building manuals such as Palladio’s Four Books of Architecture (1570), which inspired many of America’s greatest public and private buildings, as well as lesser-known volumes such as T.F. Hamlin’s The Enjoyment of Architecture (1921). The rules are broken down by chapter and include “Genius of the Place,” ‘“Asymmetry,” and “Proportion.” Each includes quotations to explain the concept and several well-chosen illustrations to graphically demonstrate the idea. The annotated bibliography at the end is a bonus and provides direction for those who seek further elaboration. Anyone interested in architecture—professionals, students, home-improvers, renovators, home “flippers,” or anyone who regards suburbia with a critical eye—will enjoy this useful and well-written compilation. B&w illus. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2016
Release date: 08/01/2013
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