By way of more than 2,000 years of architectural history, this richly illustrated book defines and shows all the major components of the art--from theory, plans, and models to structural elements such as columns, arches, and domes, to materials and decorative elements. With beautiful color photographs on virtually every page, and precise captions that point directly to important aspects of each photo, this book provides an easy-to-use visual grammar of the nearly infinite variety with which the elements of architecture have been used in buildings across the ages and around the world--from Western Europe and Greece to the Americas, the Middle East, China, Japan, India, and Africa. Each entry includes a definition, illustrated examples, and detailed analysis and explanation, all presented in the context of architecture's historical evolution. Architecture frequently juxtaposes famous and lesser-known buildings from widely different times and places, providing delightful surprises for the expert as well as a fresh, informative, and pleasurable introduction for general readers and students. 325 color illus.