Out of print. They have emphasized the work of men of genius, the unusual, the rare. Although this is only right, it has meant that we have tended to forget that the work of the designer, let alone of the designer of genius, has represented a small, often insignificant, portion of the building activity at any given period. The physical environment of man, especially the built environment, had not been, and still is not, controlled by the designer. This environment is the result of vernacular or folk, or popular architecture, and it has been largely ignored in architectural history and theory. Yet it has been the environment of the Athens of the Acropolis, of the Maya cities and the towns next to Egyptian temples and tombs or around Gothic cathedrals — as it has been of remote villages and islands, whether of Greece or the South Seas.
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Englewood Cliffs, N. ISBN: Reviewed by J. This series considered the underlying theoretical constructs that have shaped, and continue to shape, the built environment, including religion, beliefs, customs and socio-cultural forces at large.
Rapoport presented neatly distilled correlates of culture and house form with a large volume of cultural illustrations from across the globe. The book is also a presentation of cross-disciplinary studies of dwellings, buildings and settlements from architecture, planning and cultural geography. As expected, the later part is relatively thin compared to the former, which is the real bone of the argument that Rapoport grinds into powder.
The foundation of the book was laid on the intellectual debate of the meaning and characteristics of folk, primitive, and vernacular buildings on one side, and modern buildings on the other—possibly even forming a continuum.
Such deep and wide meanings of culture as later presented by Oyeneye et al , Norberg-Schulz , among many others, are denied the reader leaving a large vacuum of knowledge and intellectual dreariness that dates the book. The book should continue to be a great companion for all those who are advocates of a livable built environment.
Works Cited Crowe, N. Cambridge: MIT Press. Gould, J, and Kolb, W. A Dictionary of the Social Sciences. New York: The Free Press. Munfora, L. The City in History. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World. Norberg-Schulz, C. Architecture: Meaning and Place: Selected Essays. New York : Rizzoli. Oyeneye, O. Nigeria Life and Culture. Publication Committee, Department of Sociology.
Ogun State University Press. Redfield, R. Peasant Society and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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House Form and Culture
Amos Rapoport: House Form and Culture