Thursday, March 1, 2012

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid By Marianne Cusato, Ben Pentreath, Richard Sammons, Leon Krier

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid By Marianne Cusato, Ben Pentreath, Richard Sammons, Leon Krier

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Product Description

Sick of McMansions? Marianne Cusato, creator of the award-winning Katrina Cottages, is a champion of traditional architectural principles: structural common sense, aesthetics of form, appropriateness to a neighborhood, and sustainability. She presents the definitive guide to what makes houses look and feel right, revealing the dos and don'ts of livable home design. Hundreds of elegant line drawings--rendering the varieties of architectural features and displaying "avoid" and "use" versions of the same elements side by side--make this an indispensable resource for designing and building a timelessly beautiful home.
Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #22364 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-08-02
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .70" h x 8.40" w x 10.70" l, 2.20 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 272 pages
Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marianne Cusato has received international attention for her design of the Katrina Cottages: affordable, durable home kits created as an alternative to FEMA trailer housing to help the Gulf Coast rebuild. The cottage won the Cooper-Hewitt People's Design Award and has been written up in magazines and newspapers across the country, from Architectural Record and Cottage Living to Time and Forbes. She is the principal of Cusato Cottages, LLC, a New York-based firm specializing in traditional architectural design.
Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

111 of 118 people found the following review helpful.
5What They Didn't Teach in Architecture School
By Marco Antonio Abarca
In the late 1930's, many of Germany's finest architects arrived in the United States fleeing from Hitler's persecution. Soon Architecture Programs throughout the country adopted their modernist agenda. For the last seventy years, modernism has been the dominant language of architecture school. With a few notable exceptions, the visual language of traditional and classical architecture has all but dissapeared from the halls of academia.

Modernism was embraced by America's cultural and business elites. However, most Americans have never bought into the modernist agenda. When it comes to homes, most new home buyers want houses built in traditional styles. Unfortunately, there has been a disconnect between what architects have been taught to design and what consumers wish to purchase. One need only drive through the streets of most American suburbs to see the numerous failed and often times grotesque attempts at traditional architecture.

Into this skills void steps Marianne Cusato. She is a product of Notre Dame's School Architecture, a program known for embracing traditional and classical architecture. "Get Your House Right" is a comprehensive guide to the architectural language of classicism. Through the use of nearly a thousand beautifully rendered pencil sketches, she shows both poorly and properly executed architectural details. In this relatively short book, Cusato tries to show other architects what they missed in their architectural studies.

I am not an architect. My hobby is looking at old houses. The value of this book is that it helps me understand why some houses work while others houses fail. For those interested in this subject, I would recommend Sandra Edelman and Judy Gaman's "What Not to Build" and "Traditional Construction Patterns" by Stephen Mouzon. One might also want to check out the web site( more information about traditional architecture. These are some of the best resources to help one make sense of what has been going on architecturally in this country for the last seventy years. Highly recommended.

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful.
5Why all those new houses don't look quite right.
By Richard F. Weyand
I live in Naperville, IL, the McMansion capital of the Midwest. I have watched new multi-million dollar houses go up, and I thought most of them were just plain ugly. Over-done, or pompous, or something. Yet they sell, even now, and they keep going up.

I started to think maybe it was just me.

Then I picked up this book, and there, just above the AVOID label that adorns many of the design examples in the book, was a pencil sketch of what could be a typical new-construction Naperville street.

Having read the book through -- and several parts twice -- I now understand what it was that was causing the rejection of this architecture by my inner voice: bad design. I have nailed down the specific elements in many actual houses that hurt the appearance of the house, that make it less -- much less -- than it could be.

And -- surprise! -- I found that the few houses I did like of the newer construction were properly designed to classical principles.

The book is an incredible achievement. Well-written, accessible, and with hundreds and hundreds of beautiful pencil sketches that clearly demonstrate the principles. Marianne Cusato is a young, brilliant and well-educated designer whose vision has been shaking the architecture world for several years. And she's all of 33 years old!

So get this book, read it through, and then have some fun. Start scanning front elevation drawings on house plan sites and see if you can spot the issues that keep each from being as welcoming, as home-y, as they could be.

We are embarking now on designing our own new home, and this book is by far the most important acquisition in our burgeoning design library.

Thanks, Marianne. We all owe you.

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful.
5An instant classic
By M. Guenther
I have been absorbed by this book since my copy arrived. The organization is simple and easily accessible. Start in the beginning, middle or end, wherever you like. No problem reading two pages and putting it down until later.

The thing that makes this book exceptional are the illustrations. Thousands of the clearest sketches ever contained in a book, all expertly dovetailed with the text.

While this would have been my most cherished text in architecture school, it really excels for the practicing professional. Extremely practical. It shows how to design and build essential traditional house details like dormers, window and door trims, roofs, home entries, porches, chimneys, garage doors, bay windows, arches and more.


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