Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dictionary of Architecture & Construction

The Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, edited by
Cyril M. Harris, is the accepted authority on architectural terminology. It is consulted not only by architects and other professional users, but also by courts of law.

The dictionary provides clear, unequivocal definitions for both current and arcane terms. There are frequent "See" and "See also" references to help users navigate and refine their searches. The book is replete with illustrations that speak for themselves on the maxim that one picture is worth a thousand words.

Architecture and construction and their associated fields are constantly changing and evolving and the new edition includes modern concepts and phrases like noise control or air-conditioning system. Concepts like very-high-output fluorescent lamp stand matter-of-factly next to vesica pisci, an elongated oval frame often used in antiquity and the Middle Ages.

An extremely useful feature is the inclusion of acronyms and abbreviations. If you want to know what ASHRAE stands for, the dictionary tells you it is the abbreviation for “American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers” and that FOHC stands for “free of heart centers,” a term used in the lumber industry.

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