Architectural History – House Design – Medieval Buildings


Architecture books – hundreds of them! – free online. Architectural history, cathedrals, house plans, great architects, 20th century architecture, colonial American buildings, design and building, mansions, villas, Sears houses, English country houses, barns, log cabins, domestic architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright.

 

Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library

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General Architecture and Reference Books

Medieval Buildings

Architecture since the Middle Ages


General Architecture and Reference Books

Folkscanomy Online Collection of Architecture

Folkscanomy
Internet Archive        Dewey Dec.    720.9

Collection of over 400 books on all aspects of architecture, free and online, at the Internet Archive.

Modern Architecture Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Architecture, Modern”. Be patient as the page loads.

Buildings Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Buildings”. Be patient as the page loads.

Essentials in Architecture

Belcher, John
Scribner 1907        Dewey Dec.    720

A book to assist the professional student and general reader in recognizing the elements of beauty in all kinds of buildings, in distinguishing the good from the bad in architecture, and in defining precisely wherein the goodness or badness lies.
The writer shows an intimate knowledge of the subject and broad-minded judgment. Numerous half-tone illustrations of well-known buildings add value.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Curl, James Stevens
Oxford Univ. 2006        Dewey Dec.    720.3

A dictionary of the “many stylistic and technical terms used in architecture today. The work covers all periods of Western architectural history in more than 5,000 articles.” Libr J.

History of Architecture on the Comparative Method for Students, Craftsmen, and Amateurs

Fletcher, Sir Banister Flight
Scribner 1905        Dewey Dec.    720.9

An excellent, comprehensive and profusely illustrated handbook giving a comparative view of the historical styles from the earliest period. Part one covers the historical styles and Part two the non-historical styles. It was first published in 1896.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

The Story of Architecture

Glancey, Jonathan
Dorling Kindersley 2003        Dewey Dec.    720.9

In this history of world architecture, commentator Jonathan Glancey conducts an odyssey through 5000 years of buildings, from ancient Sumeria to the glass-and-steel towers of today’s cityscapes.

Enjoyment of Architecture

Hamlin, Talbot Faulkner
Scribner 1921        Dewey Dec.    720.1

An explanation of the principles of good architecture made clear by many examples in this country and abroad. No attempt is made to treat the subject by periods of development. It is well illustrated and contains a brief bibliography on the theory of architecture. The author believes that only by a wide-spread knowledge of the intellectual and emotional in architecture can its beauty increase.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Dictionary of Architecture and Construction

Harris, Cyril M.
McGraw-Hill 1975        Dewey Dec.    720.3

Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture

Harris, Cyril M.
Dover 1983        Dewey Dec.    720.9

The Language of Space

Lawson, Bryan
Architectural Press 2001        Dewey Dec.    720.3

“Bryan Lawson provides an ideal introduction to the topic, breaking down the complex and abstract terms used by many design theoreticians when writing about architectural space. Instead, our everyday knowledge is reintroduced to the language of design. Design values of ‘space’ are challenged and informed to stimulate a new theoretical and practical approach to design.
This book views architectural and urban spaces as psychological, social and partly cultural phenomena. They accommodate, separate, structure, facilitate, heighten and even celebrate human spatial behavior.” -Publisher

Historical Dictionary of Architecture

Palmer, Allison Lee
Scarecrow Press 2008        Dewey Dec.    720.9

What Style Is It?

Poppeliers, John C.
Perennial Classics 2000        Dewey Dec.    720

Practical Book of Architecture

Price, Charles Matlack
Lippincott 1916        Dewey Dec.    720

A popular treatment of interest to those intending to build, to beginners in the study of architecture, and to the general reader. Covers the subject fully as an art and a science. Part one discusses style from a decorative point of view, and part two is a practical guide to building. Has excellent illustrations, many of modern work.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Dictionary of Architecture and Building, Biographical, Historical, and Descriptive (Vol 1, A-E)

– Volume 2 (F-N)

– Volume 3 (O-Z)

Sturgis, Russell
Macmillan 1901-02        Dewey Dec.    720.3

Edited by one of the foremost writers in America on architecture, with contributions by sixty men of broadest training and technical skill, this valuable work will always remain a standard reference authority for the student and a storehouse of information for anyone interested in the subject.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926


Medieval Buildings

Medieval Architecture Collection

Numerous free online books on the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Medieval Architecture”. Be patient as the page loads.

Castles Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Castles”. Be patient as the page loads.

Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

Adams, Henry
Houghton 1913        Dewey Dec.    726

Through the instrumentality of the American institute of architects this valuable work privately printed in 1904 became available to all readers. The most apt characterization has been given in the introduction by Ralph Adams Cram: “Everyone who has seen Chartres or Mont. St. Michel or the glory of a rose window or of Gothic art in any form, will feel upon reading this work that he has come home to all he would have said and all he felt concerning this splendid type of religious architecture. The author’s knowledge of feudalism, guilds, crusades; of communes, of nationalities, sculptors, divines, musicians, and builders, the minutiae of great and widely differentiated art weaves brilliant threads throughout the volume.”- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

The Substance of Gothic: Six Lectures on the Development of Architecture from Charlemagne to Henry VIII

Given at the Lowell Institute, Boston in November and December, 1916

Cram, Ralph Adams
Marshall Jones 1916 Dewey Dec. 940.1

Contents: The Quarry of Antiquity – The Age of Charlemagne – The Great Awakening – The Epoch of Transition – The Medieval Synthesis – The Decadence and the New Paganism

Gothic Architecture in France, England, and Italy

– Volume 2

Jackson, Sir Thomas Graham
Cambridge 1915        Dewey Dec.    723

Though complete in itself this is a continuation of a previous study. The author has chosen for description buildings typical of the history and development of the Gothic, confining himself to those he has studied and illustrating with nearly 200 fine plates and many line drawings. This easily takes rank as the most important general work on the subject in English.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

French Cathedrals, Monasteries and Abbeys, and Sacred Sites of France

Pennell, Elizabeth Robins
Century 1909        Dewey Dec.    726

A beautiful book combining personal impressions and descriptions, with a slight background of history and exquisite illustrations reproduced from Joseph Pennell’s etchings and drawings. Thirty cathedrals and churches are described and illustrated. A similar book now out of print is O’Reilley’s How France built her Cathedrals (Harper, 1921) an interesting study of French Gothic architecture of the 12th and 13th centuries, written by a devoted and enthusiastic student. The illustrations are taken from the etchings and drawings of Paul A. de Leslie.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Gothic Architecture in England and France

West, George Herbert
Bell 1911        Dewey Dec.    723

A concise, clear and reliable handbook in which the Gothic in the two countries is studied constructionally and historically, with special reference to salient points of difference as embodying dissimilar national traits. Controversial questions are not entered into, and the author’s conclusions are given as personal. Includes numerous illustrations, list of books consulted, parallel chronologic lists of French and English buildings, the seven periods of Gothic architecture, chart showing contemporary work and events in England and France from 700 to 1640, and glossary. – A.L.A. Catalog 1926


Architecture since the Middle Ages

100 More of the World’s Best Houses

Beaver, Robyn, ed.
Images 2005        Dewey Dec.    720.9

“100 fabulous architect-designed houses from around the world. We’ve found some remarkable homes, tucked away in off-the-beaten-track locations like Dakar, Senegal; Ko Samui, Thailand; the Brazilian countryside; Shanghai, China; Andalusia, Spain; and in more well-travelled locations, including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Brazil, Finland, Mexico, Europe, and Japan. Each of the 100 featured houses is described in the architect’s words, accompanied by superb architectural photography and in most cases, plans that assist in a comprehensive understanding of each project.” -Publisher

American Cottages

Consisting of Forty-four Large Quarto Plates containing original designs of Medium and Low Cost Cottages, Seaside and Country Houses. Also, a Club House, Pavilion, School House, and a Small Seaside Chapel. Together with a Form of Specification for Cottages.

Comstock, William T.
NY: Comstock 1883         Dewey Dec.    720

As the sub-title says, this book only contains illustrations of homes with floorplans, although brief notes accompany some.

Modern Architecture since 1900

Curtis, William J. R.
Prentice-Hall 1983        Dewey Dec.    724

The volume’s well-detailed text is buttressed with 650 color and black-and-white illustrations. This should be a standard volume in all architecture collections.” Lib J.

School Architecture; Principles and Practices

Donovan, John J.
Macmillan 1921        Dewey Dec.    727

The application of modern school architecture to modern school development. It covers site, planning, cost, all departments, heating and ventilation, plumbing, and electrical installation, and illumination. An expensive work but authoritative and encyclopedic in character. Written by specialists chosen from the eastern and middle western parts of the United States as well as the Pacific coast. It is planned especially for architects, school-boards and superintendents. It includes a chapter on Standards by the chairman of the Committee on standardization of schoolhouse planning and construction of the National education association. A bibliography and a list of the many illustrations arranged by architects and by location are included.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Architecture of Colonial America

Eberlein, Harold Donaldson
Little 1915        Dewey Dec.    724

The best general book on the subject. Systematic but popular treatment for the general reader as well as the architect, considering the architectural types of different colonies — Dutch, New England, southern — and distinguishing colonial from Georgian. It devotes most space to dwelling houses, but churches and public buildings receive attention and also the architects. It is lavishly illustrated from photographs.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

The Distinctive Home: A Vision of Timeless Design

Eck, Jeremiah
Taunton 2003        Dewey Dec.    728

“Eck firmly believes it is possible to build creative houses without a large budget. He discusses a home’s site placement, examines the flow of activity within a modern home, and encourages the reader to think of rooms beyond their traditional uses. Eck’s book encourages creativity and provides a series of color photographs for developing sound ideas.” Libr. J.

Illustrated Homes: A Series of Papers Describing Real Homes and Real People

Gardner, E. C.
Boston: Osgood 1875

Light and amusing chapters by an architect describing his experiences with various clients, re-living the process of trying to design houses to fit their needs and wants. Drawn illustrations are included.

Contents: The house the judge built – Captain George’s plan – The house of Abram – Mr. John Smith’s house – The home of the professor – Lucia’s castle – The Duke of Buckingham’s lodge – The home of Mr. and Mrs. Benedict – The planter’s home – The parsonage – One of King Kole’s cottages – The poet’s abiding-place – The doctor’s home – The house that never was built – How it happened.

Beautiful Houses: A Study in House-Building

Foreign Examples in Domestic Architecture – A Collection of American House Plans – Materials and Details for the Artistic House-Builder – The Architect

Gibson, Louis H.
NY: Crowell 1895        Dewey Dec.    720

The book is organized in five sections, listed in the sub-title above. “The World’s Homes” has three chapters of French architecture and single chapters for English, German, Swiss and American colonial styles. Numerous illustrations throughout.

Convenient Houses with Fifty Plans for the Housekeeper …

Architect and Housewife; a Journey through the House; Fifty convenient house plans; practical house building for the owner; business points in building; how to pay for a home

Gibson, Louis H.
NY: Crowell 1889

Intended to be educational without being technical, this book by an Indiana architect in the 1880s “is intended to deal with houses in a housekeeping spirit. The architect has in mind convenience, stability, and that ideal of housekeepers, beauty of surroundings”. The second part deals with the arrangement of the house, and especially kitchens and pantries, plumbing, laundry, and heating. Following that is a non-technical section on building houses, and then a section on hiring a building contractor. The last section is financing the home.

Domestic Architecture: Being a Series of Designs for Mansions, Villas, Rectory houses …

Parsonage houses, Bailiffs’ lodge, Gardener’s lodge, Game-keeper’s lodge, Park gate lodges, etc. in the Grecian, Italian, and old English styles of architecture. With observations on the appropriate choice of site; the whole designed with strict reference to the practicability of erection, and with due attention to the important consideration of uniting elegance, convenience and domestic comfort with economy … With accurate estimates appended to each design. With colored plates

Goodwin, Francis
London: Longman 1833

This book is essentially an advertising publication from an architectural firm in England in the 1830s that catered to the extremely rich. Illustrations of the company’s range of palatial buildings are full-page color paintings.

Early Renaissance Architecture in England

Gotch, John Alfred
Scribner 1914        Dewey Dec.    724

A historical and descriptive account of the Tudor, Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, 1500-1625, by an authority. It covers much the same period as that in his former work, Architecture of the Renaissance in England (Batsford 1894) with the addition of the first half of the sixteenth century. The former book has examples of Elizabethan and Jacobean buildings to a large scale, with a brief account of each, whereas this one takes the form of a handbook tracing the development of style from the Gothic period to the advent of Inigo Jones. It contains 87 collotype illustrations in the text. First published in 1901.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Old English Houses

Gotch, John Alfred
Dutton 1925        Dewey Dec.    728

A simple and readable account of the growth of English domestic architecture from medieval to Georgian times, showing how the developing of social customs and the changing ideal of comfort were expressed in the construction of the houses, chiefly of the great old homes of England. There are 48 illustrations and 7 plans. The author’s English home from Charles I to George IV (Batsford, 1918. 30s) is a more elaborately illustrated presentation showing interior and exterior views, including plans, measured drawings, and views from rare old prints.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Barn Plans and Outbuildings

Halsted, Byron D.
NY: Orange Judd 1881

An informative and non-technical book explaining and showing how a variety of 19th century American barn designers addressed the needs of farmers and of the animals that live in these buildings. Two Hundred and fifty-seven drawn illustrations.

Barns, Outbuildings and Fences

Harney, George E.
NY: Woodward 1870

The author was obviously an architect for wealthy people with landed estates. His designs for stables and out-buildings were too stylish and expensive for most farmers. Many fine drawings.

Architecture of the 20th Century

Hollingsworth, Mary
Brompton 1988        Dewey Dec.    724

American Country Houses of Today …

an illustrated account of some excellent houses built and gardens planted during the last few years showing unmistakable influence of the modern trend in ideals architectural

Howe, Samuel
Architectural Book 1915        Dewey Dec.    728

On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change

Huxtable, Ada Louise
Walker 2008        Dewey Dec.    724

“The author presents her penetrating and tough-minded criticism spanning half a century … centering largely on modernism, its masters and its discontents, the volume opens with an overview of the past four decades, including startlingly powerful pieces on the late ’60s urban decay and the ’90s reinvention of architecture.” Publ Wkly

The House, a Manual of Rural Architecture, or, How to Build Country Houses …

and Out-buildings embracing the Origin and Meaning of the House; the art of house-building, including planning, style and construction ; designs and descriptions of cottages farmhouses, villas and out-buildings, of various cost and in the different styles of architecture, etc., etc. ; and an appendix containing recipes for paints and washes, stucco, rough-cast, etc. ; and instructions for roofing, building with rough stone, unburnt brick, balloon frames, and the concrete or gravel wall ; with numerous original plans

Jacques, D. H.
NY: American News 1866

This book contains useful non-technical explanations of basic processes of constructing houses and farm buildings. It has drawings of a wide variety of buildings, including housing for a wide range of budgets as well as churches and school-houses. The early Victorian style of some of the houses looks very familiar, matching that of many historic homes around the country today. Numerous drawn illustrations and floor plans.

Universal Design for the Home

Jordan, Wendy A.
Quarry 2008        Dewey Dec.    728

“Shows how a home that is accommodating to all can also have a stylish décor … Color photographs and some before-and-after floor plans show how accessibility standards have been incorporated. A list of resources is provided.” Libr. J.

Wilderness Homes: A Book of the Log Cabin

Kemp, Oliver
NY: Outing 1908

The log cabin was a familiar site on the American frontier for two centuries. They were homes that settlers could build themselves at virtually no cost with nothing but very basic tools, if there were trees available. Most settlers replaced the log houses with more comfortable and more expensive frame houses as soon as possible, as homemade log homes were a mark of poverty. However, in the early 20th century log buildings were making a comeback as hunting camps and lakeside cottages. This how-to book, full of instructions and including a number of photos of log buildings in use, was for that audience.

Domestic Architecture of the American Colonies and of the Early Republic

Kimball, Sidney Fiske
Scribner 1922        Dewey Dec.    728

A series of lectures delivered in 1920 at the Metropolitan museum of art in New York and published under its auspices. It is an attractive study of American architecture before the Revolution, beautifully illustrated, and based on old records, accounts, inscriptions, original designs, wills, deeds, and other documents, and limited to the period of the colonies under British rule, describing and illustrating over two hundred typical houses. It is rich in historic lore and biographical information. Special features are a chronological chart, notes on individual houses on which the text is based, and a full index.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Also see:
– Baas, Christopher, “Concrete in the Steel City: Constructing Thomas Edison’s House for the Working Man” in Indiana Cultural History
;
Cameron, William, The World’s Fair, Being a Pictorial History of the Columbian Exposition in Illinois Cultural History;
O’Donnell, Thomas Edward, “An Outline of the History of Architecture in Illinois” in Illinois Cultural History;
O’Donnell, Thomas E., compiled, “Recording the Early Architecture of Illinois in the Historic American Buildings Survey” in Illinois Cultural History;
Varney, Almon C., Our Homes and their Adornments, or, How to Build, Finish, Furnish, and Adorn a Home in Michigan Cultural History
Guth, Alexander Carl, “Early Day Architects in Milwaukee” in Wisconsin Cultural History

Encyclopedia of 20th century Architecture

Magnago Lampugnani, Vittorio
Abrams 1986        Dewey Dec.    724

“Originally published in 1964 as “Encyclopedia of Modern Architecture”. Translated from German.

The Seventy Wonders of the Modern World: 1500 Years of Extraordinary Feats of Engineering and Construction

Parkyn, Neil, ed.
Thames & Hudson 2002        Dewey Dec.    720.9

“Most of the featured “wonders” date from the second half of the 20th century. The selections are divided into several categories: churches, palaces, public buildings, towers and skyscrapers, bridges and railways, canals and dams, and statues. Each entry includes basic information on history, structural and engineering details, innovations, aesthetics and a sidebar ‘fact-file’.” Libr. J.

What Makes the House Beautiful

Peabody, Henrietta C, ed.
Atlantic monthly 1920        Dewey Dec.    728

A copiously illustrated volume with measured drawings and slight text, adapted from The House Beautiful, showing details of attractive entrances, staircases, panelings, fireplaces, bookcases, cupboards, kitchens, and breakfast corners. The illustrations are limited to colonial architecture, and are taken from houses in Salem and other New England towns, and from artistic modern interiors. Suggestive to anyone planning a house on colonial lines.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Radford’s Combined House and Barn Plan Book …

being a complete collection of practical, economical and common sense plans of houses, barns, outbuildings, stock sheds, etc. : illustrated with over twelve hundred copper half tone plates and zinc etchings, and containing over three hundred house and barn designs

Radford, William A., ed.
Chicago: Radford 1908

The first 100+ pages of this 1908 book make up what is really a catalog for a company that sold blue prints, with illustrations of dozens of houses, including the floor plans. Most are recognizable, as many of these styles of homes are still in use around the U.S. The remainder of the book is for barns and farm buildings, and contains advice and information about building them (using the Radford company’s blueprints, of course). In addition to many types of barns, the farm buildings include carriage houses, horse stables (including city stables), a range of chicken houses, ice houses, implement sheds, smoke houses, hog houses, and granaries.

House Plans for Everybody

For Village and Country Residences, costing from $250 to $8,000; including Full Descriptions and Estimates in Detail of Materials, Labor, and Cost, with Many Practical Suggestions, and 175 Illustrations

Reed, S. B.
NY: Orange Judd 1882        Dewey Dec.    720

This book, first published in 1878, provides 40 home designs, each with a description, itemized cost list, floor plan, and illustration of the completed house.

Honor Bilt Modern Homes

Sears
Sears, Roebuck 1921        Dewey Dec.    728

Catalog of full-size house kits produced by Sears, Roebuck that could be ordered for shipment.

Ready Made Buildings; Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Sears
Sears, Roebuck 1920        Dewey Dec.    728

Catalog of inexpensive small houses produced by Sears, Roebuck that the company claimed could be erected very easily by bolting together.

American Hospital of the Twentieth Century

Stevens, Edward Fletcher
A. B. P. 1921        Dewey Dec.    725

A very complete treatise, by an experienced hospital architect, giving the development of medical institutions in both Europe and America. Various solutions of the difficult problems of housing and caring for the sick are presented, and special chapters consider the ward, surgical and medical units and their equipment. The material on heating, ventilation and plumbing has been revised by specialists. There are many illustrations and plans.- A.L.A. Catalog 1926

Craftsman Homes

Stickley, Gustav
NY: Craftsman 1909

Gustav Stickley (1858-1942) was an American furniture maker who, beginning in the 1890s, was heavily influenced by the English ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement. That movement, led by artist and poet William Morris, reacted against factory-made goods and modernism by reviving old-fashioned hand-crafted production of a wide variety of goods, and idealized medieval European society. Stickley gradually broadened his activities from furniture making to include design of homes, crafts, literature, music, and city planning, and for several years published a magazine, ‘The Craftsman’, to promote his ideas. This book begins with some of his thoughts on design. It also has many drawn illustrations of houses, including interiors with his original designs of furniture and home crafts.

Not So Big Solutions for Your Home

Susanka, Sarah
Taunton 2002        Dewey Dec.    728

“The author presents a compilation of 31 essays from her “Drawing Board” column in Fine Homebuilding magazine “that offer a number of solutions to household design problems both big and small.” Susanka offers an eclectic mix: tips on site selection, mud room design, planning to fit specific furniture, creating a family room that works (etc.) Libr. J.

Frank Lloyd Wright: A Visual Encyclopedia

Thomson, Iain
Thunder Bay 1999        Dewey Dec.    720.9

Our Homes and their Adornments, or, How to Build, Finish, Furnish, and Adorn a Home

Varney, Almon C.
Chilton 1885        Dewey Dec.    728

“Practical instructions for the building of homes, interior decoration, wood carving, scroll sawing, house painting, window hangings, screens curtains, window gardening, incidental decorations, decorative art needle-work, and economic landscape gardening; to which is added a household compendium of new, practical and valuable recipes, the whole being designed to make happy homes for happy people.”- from the Title page.

“Besides being an authority on gracious living in late 19th century Detroit, Varney was a prolific architect. His creations, which included apartment buildings, factories and offices, hotels and private residences, popped up all over the city as well as in towns and cities across the state [Michigan].” See photos of his surviving Detroit buildings at Martha Peterson’s “Mr. Varney’s Neighborhood” post on the “El Moore” website.

American Architecture, 1607-1976

Whiffen, Marcus; Koeper, Frederick
MIT 1981        Dewey Dec.    720.9

Twentieth-century American Architecture: The Buildings and their Makers

Wiseman, Carter
Norton 2000        Dewey Dec.    720.9

In this survey the author is “concerned to trace the ways in which buildings express an American identity. Though his subject is twentieth-century architecture, his search for roots extends back to the colonial vernacular and Thomas Jefferson. He argues the case for social relevance alongside beauty.” Archit J.

From Bauhaus to Our House

Wolfe, Tom
Pocket 1981        Dewey Dec.    720.9

A humorous history of American architecture in the 20th century.


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