App Review: Pevsner's Architectural Glossary

The Buildings of England, the great survey of Britain's built environment compiled over several decades by the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, would seem ideal material for a mobile app; now Yale University Press have produced just that, collating pieces from the 46 volumes that make up the work and presenting them into a geo-aware app for iPad and iPhone.

Pevsner's Architectural Glossary is composed of two sections. The first is a comprehensive list of architectural features and terms, over 1,000 in total. From altarpiece to transept via such recondite building elements as the lychgate, feretory and baldacchino, the app is particularly good at condensing a wealth of detailed information into short, easily read pieces, ably illustrated where necessary.

Of more use to the non-specialist is the map, which plots 134 buildings across England, Scotland and Wales, and offers short descriptions of each, along with photographs, relevant categories and a link to the relevant book-length study on the Yale website. The number of buildings included is relatively small, but they are well chosen, encompassing a broad range of styles, location and period.

In short: this is an engaging app with plenty to offer both the lay historical enthusiast and the architectural student.

Pevsner's Architectural Glossary is available for iPhone and iPad, and costs £2.99.

Dean Nicholas is the website manager at History Today

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