The book “A History of Architecture” by Sir Banister Fletcher, is perhaps a book that needs a status of REQUIRED READING. The version I have is a loaned copy from Gloucester College Library and I have it for a few more weeks, before I have to give it back, although the last time it was taken out was March 2011. Ebay and Amazon have copies available and it’s not going to be long before I purchase my own copy, but for now its my library version.
This is the history of English Architecture, not the complete history, but dam near it. the version I have is the 18th Edition, printed first in 1975, now in its 20th edition, its not cheap, but so worth getting a copy. there were editions and written by both his and his father, but the major revisions with the 6th edition in 1921, when much of the text was rewritten by Fletcher and his first wife seems to me as the real first edition.
I started reading this book as I am researching the old operative Master Masons and their involvement in the design, construction innovation and general site organisation of construction in and around the 1100’s.
Already, I have had to make so many notes away from my core research, just because I found the book so interesting, there is not so much construction detail, but a lot on the history, why and how the various designs came into being, and evolved.
As a Technologist, my training only skimmed this at college, all those years ago, we tended to concentrate on construction, drawing technique and presenting information to the client and contracting team and very little on Architecture , but like all, we learned Architecture by just being with Architects. So slowly the ways and why of being an Architect have slowly sunk in. Now I can’t stay away from it, I like the history and feel, these lost master mason might hold a lot to the way we travelled along the path of design.
So although I stray a little, my core is research into people like William of Sens, Maurice the Engineer, Lalys – an Architect from Palestine, and James of St George, the influence of the crusades on castle design and how battle and siege techniques helped evolve there design.