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Paperback | $32.00 Short | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262560474| 6 x 9 in | April 1989

"“University Presses in Space” showcases a special sampling of the many works that university presses have published about space and space exploration."

Building Construction Before Mechanization


How were huge stones moved from quarries to the sites of Egyptian pyramids? How did the cathedral builders of the Middle Ages lift blocks to great heights by muscle power alone? In this intriguing book John Fitchen explains and illustrates the solutions to these and many other puzzles in preindustrial building construction.

This is the first general survey of the practices and role of the builder (as opposed to the designer) in constructing an array of structures. Fitchen's approach gives a valuable hands-on feel for what it's like to work with ropes and ladders, wedges and slings; with crews engaged in well digging, bridge building, and the transporting of obelisks hundreds of miles by water and over land. The buildings discussed range from the tents, tepees, and igloos of nomadic tribes to the monumental pyramids of Egypt, the temples of Greece, the aqueducts of Rome, and the cathedrals of medieval Europe.

John Fitchen, a registered architect, is Professor of Fine Arts, Emeritus, at Colgate University and the author of The Construction of Gothic Cathedrals and The New World Dutch Barn.


"Building Construction Before Mechanization is a mine of information.... There are many insights and a jargon free use of language which will make the book accessible - and thought provoking - to a wide readership."
Times Literary Supplement