The seventh book in the Architecture in Context series, this is a comprehensive survey of European architecture from the pre-dawn of the Enlightenment in early Georgian England to the triumph of Brutalism in the seventh decade of the twentieth century. The three main sections of the book are preceded by a concise introduction isolating the key philosophical or political theories which dominated the period: in particular Enlightenment and industrialization.
The first section covers Anglo-Palladianism, French academic rationalism, their Neoclassical developments and the aspiration to the Sublime.
This first part of the book develops the major strand of eclecticism before progressing to Historicism in the second, the choice of style seen to be relevant to a given commission, and the impact of industrial building techniques.
The third and final part begins with Design Reform in reaction to industrialism and then proceeds to Design Reform in response to the reactionaries, but they too continue to make their mark as the chronicle progresses.
The epilogue covers developments from the advent of the Postmodernists and their High-Tech adversaries to the diversity of formal and technological games played out towards the end of the century. The many great architects and designers whose work both defines and illustrates the themes of the book include visionaries like Soane, Boullee and Schinkel, entrepreneurial innovators such as the Adams brothers and Repton, engineers of the age of iron including Eiffel, Paxton and Belanger, and 20th-century giants - Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier among numerous others.