Words and Buildings

A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture



ISBN: 9780500284704 Category:

Adrian Forty


The words we use when we talk and write about architecture describe more than just bricks and mortar – they direct the ways we think of and live with buildings. This groundbreaking book is the first thorough examination of the complex relationship between architecture and language as intricate social practices.

Words and Buildings is a wholly original study that will change and enrich the way we think and talk about architecture. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with architecture and culture in the modern era.

Rigorously argued chapters investigate the language of modernism, language and drawing, ‘masculine and feminine’ architecture, language metaphors, science in architecture and the social properties of architecture.

A vocabulary of key words such as ‘Character’, ‘Form’, ‘History’ and ‘Space’, locates each word’s modern meaning within a historical and theoretical framework, and clearly sets out its development and relevance for architects, historians, philosophers, critics and the users of buildings themselves.

Additional information

Weight 1274 g
Dimensions 19.7 x 24.6 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 2 February 2004
Number of pages 336
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 19.7 x 24.6 cm
Weight 1274 g


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Adrian Forty is a Professor of Architectural History at The Bartlett, the Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London, now retired. He is also the former Programme Director of the masters programme in Architectural History. In 2003, he was awarded the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education. Forty is the author of many highly regarded books on architecture and design, including Objects of Desire, also published by Thames & Hudson.