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American Architecture

A Thematic History

Dell Upton

Publication Date - 04 February 2019

ISBN: 9780190245283

384 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

A thematic introduction to the rich and diverse history of American architecture


Leading historian Dell Upton's American Architecture: A Thematic History reveals the dazzling richness of America's human landscape. The text covers indigenous, folk, ethnic, and popular architectures like Chaco Canyon, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Native American houses while also exploring the great monuments of traditional histories like Jefferson's Monticello and Wright's Fallingwater. To make this text more useful for students, Upton outlines the modes of architectural knowledge--books, drawings, and models--that builders and scholars use to understand the built environment.


  • Examines American architecture in relation to five themes: community, nature, technology, money, and art
  • Provides case studies of particular buildings or sites that illustrate key themes in the history of American architecture
  • Weds a thematic and chronological approach by proceeding through each architectural era as it explores major themes

About the Author(s)

Dell Upton is Distinguished Professor of Architectural History at the University of California, Los Angeles.


"Upton's text is the most intellectually discerning and socially relevant survey of the built environment in the United States." --E.G. Daves Rossell, Savannah College of Art and Design

" The author's critical treatment of architecture in the United States makes American Architecture the most rigorous and engaging textbook on the market." --Kenny Cupers, University of Basel

"Dell Upton has pioneered studying how human beings perceive the built environment through senses in addition to sight; and by that I mean, smell, sound, touch, and movement. Students love to learn about this kind of analysis, whether they want to be designers or historians." --Marta Gutman, City College of New York

Table of Contents


    Side Bar 1: Material Culture

    Chapter 1: An American Icon
    Side Bar 2: Plans
    Case Study 1: The Annie Wetmore and William Watts Sherman House

    Chapter 2: Community
    Side Bar 3: Archaeology and Architectural History
    Case Study 2: Plazas
    Case Study 3: Christ Church Lutheran

    Chapter 3: Nature
    Case Study 4: The Sea Ranch
    Case Study 5: Aqua

    Chapter 4: Technology
    Case Study 6: Harriet and Samuel Freeman House
    Case Study 7: Illinois Institute of Technology

    Chapter 5: Money
    Case Study 8: Oak Ridge

    Chapter 6: Art
    Case Study 9: Wainwright Building