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This unique and comprehensive book is both a celebration and an exploration of the architecture of all periods and from all across the world. It traces the history of humankind through the buildings that people have created for themselves - their places of work and worship, their dwellings, their centres of study - all monuments to the social, political and aesthetic values of different ages. The first section of Understanding Architecture analyses the main themes of its subject: the concept of space, the study of proportion, town planning, types of building and styles. The second section traces the birth of architecture from the first grand examples, such as the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids and the Renaissance churches to the experimentation and innovations of the modern era. It pays particular attention to the great architects themselves - from the great medieval master builders of the West and the Islamic words to the iconic moderns and post-moderns - Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Robert Venturi and Frank Gehry. It frames contemporary architecture with reference to the pioneering work of Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers. Understanding Architecture is an essential reference for all students and practitioners as well as a rewarding information source.