Extract from a Book Review

From the point of view of style, there are used in this [unidentified] book three practices (parodied in the next paragraph) which too often impede the flow of ideas.

Architectural description seems to abound in compound and parenthetical qualifications. In this book, with its mass of detail, the use of the hyphen and comma is inconsistent and in general readers' time saving, clarifying parentheses mostly avoided: "an existing old timber slab-sided, iron roofed house ...", necessitating re-reading.

Other difficulties are:

The use throughout of a wearyingly anonymous unshaded type-face without serifs.

The  use  throughout   of  text
in    three   columns,   justified
both     sides,     with   spaces between   not    much   wider than  some  between  words.

Some over-mellow jargon and some inelegant anthropomorphism: "The building has responded ... by wrapping around the perimeter and creating a private, internal zone".

The odd obfuscating half-hidden non sequitur and grammatical error: "The smaller site and the need for several levels gives ...", instead of: "The small site and the resultant need for several levels give ...".

A sesquipedalian conclusion, reasonable but with too much flummery. It seems to say:

  • that architecture is a composite of creative responses to a myriad individual needs;
  • that it ought to show respect for past practices and healthy curiosity about present practices in comparable parts of the world; and
  • that in Australia in 1986 it does this, although not universally.

X has a lot to say of importance in this well-researched text with many photographs, sketches and plans, but what looks set to become a standard academic and professional reference work, with many possible buyers also among the interested laity, deserved first-class design for ease of use and rigorous, even sceptical editing for absolute clarity of expression, from a shrewd and tough-minded publisher, in whose lexicon "near enough" is blue-pencilled.

Still, there's always the second edition.