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An extraordinary work, unparalleled in its breadth and depth of detail, this three-volume set offers the first comprehensive history of architecture and town planning throughout colonial North America, from Russian Alaska to French Quebec, to Spanish Florida and California, to British, Dutch, and other settlements on the East Coast. Across this vast terrain, James Kornwolf conjures the outlines of the constructed environment as it emerged in settlements and communities, in structures and sites, and in the flourishes and idiosyncrasies of the families and individuals who erected and inhabited colonial buildings and towns. Here as never before readers can observe the impulses and principles of colonial design and planning as they are implemented in the buildings and streets, harbors and squares, gardens and landscapes of the New World.
Incorporating more than 3,000 illustrations, Kornwolf's massive work conveys the full range of the colonial encounter with the continent's geography, from the high forms of architecture through formal landscape design and town planning. From these pages emerge the fine arts of environmental design, an understanding of the political and economic events that helped to determine settlement in North America, an appreciation of the various architectural and landscape forms that the settlers created, and an awareness of the diversity of the continent's geography and its peoples. Considering the humblest buildings along with the mansions of the wealthy and powerful, public buildings, forts, and churches, Kornwolf captures the true dynamism and diversity of colonial communities -- their rivalries and frictions, their outlooks and attitudes -- as they extended their hold on the land. His work conveys for the first time the full scale, from intimate to grand, of their enduring transformation of the natural landscape of North America.