by David Watkin
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Properly covering the history of architecture in any single volume is a big challenge, but David Watkin successfully covers thousands of years with about 700 pages in his book, A History of Western Architecture.
The book begins the journey with early Mesopotamian Temples from 3600BC and then travels through all the major architectural movements, including Classical, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Modernism, and the rest of the 20th Century. As the title suggests, the book focuses on the western part of the world - Europe, Scandinavia, and North America are the main focus of the text.
The book provides a very good history of architecture and combines easy to understand prose with excellent images of the structures. The fifth edition of the book covers all relevant western architecture up to the mid-2000s. The work from the 2000s is fairly thin, but this is understandable given that these buildings are too new for their relevance in history to be fully understood.
The pages are full of high-quality images of the buildings being discussed. Almost every page has a photo or drawing, albeit almost all of them are black-and-white. The color photos that are include come in clumps of three or four - and only in certain sections of the book. Most images are noted with the location and date of the structure.
Archtoolbox highly recommends A History of Western Architecture for all architects, especially students and architecture buffs.