"In about 40 B.C.E. the Roman architect and engineer vitruvius declared firmitas, utilitas, and venustas - firmness, commodity, and delight - to be the three essential attributes of architecture. These qualities are brilliantly explored in this book, which uniquely comprises both a detailed survey of Western architecture, including pre-Columbian America, and an introduction to architecture from the Middle East India, Russia, China, and Japan. Written in a clear and engaging style, the text encourages readers to examine closely in photographs and line drawings the pragmatic, innovative, and aesthetic attributes of buildings, and to imagine how these would have been praised or criticized by contemporary observers. Architecture is discussed in various contexts - artistic, economic, environmental, political, social, and technological - so as to determine the extent to which buildings met the needs of clients, society at large, and future generations." "This book also examines the unique methods of great architects past and present. Among them are Alvar Aalto, Robert Adam, Leon Battista Alberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Gustave Eiffel, Peter Eisenmain, Antonio Gaudl, Frank Gehry, Walter Gropius, Imhotep Le Corbusler, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Michelangelo, Glenn Murcutt, Andrea Palladio, Eero Saarinen, Koca Sinan, Louis Sullivan, Christopher Wren, and Frank Eloyd Wright."--BOOK JACKET.