The Modern Builder's Guide
by Minard Lafever

The Modern Builder's Guide: Minard Lafever (Dover Publications)

Unabridged, unaltered (1969) republication of 1st (1833) edition, with 3 additional plates from the 3rd (1846) edition. 90 plates, containing 399 figures, and 10 new illustrations. xv + 146pp. of text. 9.125 x 12.25. Paperbound. ISBN 0-486-22260-8.

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From the Book Cover

One of the most influential books in the history of American architecture, The Modern Builder's Guide (first published in 1833) was responsible for the rapid dissemination of Greek Revival architecture in the United States. Local carpenters as far south as Kentucky and as far west as Wisconsin used the book as a “builder's guide” to construct Grecian temple-type houses and public buildings.

The heart of The Modern Builder's Guide is the collection of plates showing elevations and full plans for churches and “country residences,” details of such structural elements as groin arches, roofing, staircases and window construction. Most important are the examples of Grecian-style ornament for use on fireplace mantels and front doors, as parlor ornamentation, etc.: rosettes, anthemion bands, consoles, anta capitals, scrolled anthemia and acanthus design. There is also detailed information on practical geometry, construction techniques of carpentry, masonry, plastering, etc.

Despite its valuable information on 19th-century building methods and materials and its historic role in making popular the Greek Revival style, The Modern Builder's Guide has not been republished for over a century. The present edition contains, in addition to the full text and original plates of the first edition, three plates from the third edition, and introduction by Jacob Landy of the City College of the City University of New York, and ten new illustrations — photographs of several churches still standing in Brooklyn, designs and drawings of a bank, a monument to George Washington, a villa, etc.

Cover design by Edmund Gillon, Jr.

(The above commentary is provided by Dover Publications, Inc.)

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