By Brent Hull
Brown Books, $26.95, 136 pages
Architects, historians, environmentalists and anyone interested in the preservations of historic houses will enjoy this easy-to-read volume. Building a Timeless House in an Instant Age is well written, filled with information on the evolution of architecture from Roman and Greek times through the mid-twentieth century. Brent Hull is an expert on the subject, and he does an admirable job of keeping the readers interested.
“I believe if we build beautiful and timeless homes, we will also build beautiful and timeless neighborhoods and communities.”
Hull discusses classical architecture and how its fine craftsmanship is used to create what he calls “timeless” homes whose style survives for centuries versus today’s trendy McMansions with poor quality and little craftsmanship. During the intense housing shortage in the late 1930s, a brilliant builder conceived the idea of mass-building production with adequate, affordable houses on tiny, crowed lots, which marked the beginning of “disposable” houses. Craft building gave way to commodity building, a shift in style that pains Hull. Newer, fad-driven homes use a jumble of styles that will not endure, and Hull regards even updating historic houses with gleaming, modern kitchens as a shame. Through Hull’s critique of modern building, we learn about the vast differences in materials and workmanship of historic and today’s methods.
Reviewed by George Erdosh