Native American Architecture

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9780195037814: Native American Architecture

For many people, Native American architecture calls to mind the wigwam, tipi, iglu, and pueblo. Yet the richly diverse building traditions of Native Americans encompass much more, including specific structures for sleeping, working, worshipping, meditating, playing, dancing, lounging, giving birth, decision-making, cleansing, storing and preparing food, caring for animals, and honoring the dead. In effect, the architecture covers all facets of Indian life.

The collaboration between an architect and an anthropologist, Native American Architecture presents the first book-length, fully illustrated exploration of North American Indian architecture to appear in over a century. Peter Nabokov and Robert Easton together examine the building traditions of the major tribes in nine regional areas of the continent from the huge plank-house villages of the Northwest Coast to the moundbuilder towns and temples of the Southeast, to the Navajo hogans and adobe pueblos of the Southwest. Going beyond a traditional survey of buildings, the book offers a broad, clear view into the Native American world, revealing a new perspective on the interaction between their buildings and culture. Looking at Native American architecture as more than buildings, villages, and camps, Nabokov and Easton also focus on their use of space, their environment, their social mores, and their religious beliefs.

Each chapter concludes with an account of traditional Indian building practices undergoing a revival or in danger today. The volume also includes a wealth of historical photographs and drawings (including sixteen pages of color illustrations), architectural renderings, and specially prepared interpretive diagrams which decode the sacred cosmology of the principal house types.

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About the Author:

Peter Nabokov, an anthropologist, has taught in the Department of Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley and is the author of Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrier and The Architecture of the American Pueblo among other books.

Robert Easton, a noted California architect, has taught at the University of California at Los Angeles and is co-editor of the acclaimed Shelter and Domebook.


"I am delighted to have this outstanding book available in paperback for course use! The lavish illustrations, authoritative text, clear organization, and useful maps and diagrams make this an ideal introduction to Native American modes of dwelling on the earth." --Pauline Strong, University of Texas at Austin

"...the authors have combined historical, archeological, and ethnographic data with their own extensive field experience to present an enlightening narrative." --Religious Studies Review

"A very sensitive contribution to worldwide ethnic architecture. A great book." --Michael Reinschmidt, Ph.D., California State University

"Excellent resource material and quite interesting....A beautiful book as well." --Kathryn Stewart-Kalboch, Montana State University

"A unique book, very well down....An interesting book around which to develop a course on North American Indians....A real bargain."--Jonathan E. Reyman, Illinois State University

"Briskly analytical and objective....Impressive in its scope, covering everything from the wigwams and longhouses of North Eastern North America to the pueblos and kivas of the Southwest....There is enough detail for the specialist and enough explanation for the general reader. It is a beautiful book and a bargain for the price." --American Studies International

"Nabokov and Easton's book is a feast....It would be worth buying for the illustrations alone, well presented and printed....The writing is clear and readable, giving a good indication of the flavor of the numerous sources."--The Architectural Review

"Native American building types and village planning are thproughly documented and analyzed within the context of ritual, religion, and culture."--Progressive Architecture

"A thoroughly researched and extensively illustrated guide to the varied histories of native building, urban planning, engineering and iconography."--Ottawa Citizen

"Excellent in every way....Already the standard general reference on the subject, and will surely be the encyclopedia to which everyone refers in the future. The contents are presented with remarkable verbal clarity and with such excelletnt illustrations that both mature academics and intelligent school children can profit from the book."--Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

"A fascinating presentation and discussion of Native American architectural styles, materials, cultural impacts, and diversities. Native American Architecture will prove to be a work of continuing significance for Native American studies and for students of architecture alike."--Wisconsin Bookwatch

"Definitive....This is...a book about ritual, religion, and family life as much as it is a book about buildings....The authors' knowing observations on this subject have much to tell students of all kinds of architecture, far beyond the wigwam and the pueblo."--Paul Goldberger, The New York Times Book Review

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