Both authors are imminently qualified to write about their chosen subject. Peter Howard is an architect based in Milton Keynes, and Helena Webster teaches architecture at Oxford Brookes University. In a fascinating introduction to the book, the authors highlight how the architecture of Oxford as it is today was affected by the 400 year development of the collegiate system of buildings. In the 20th century, Oxford's architecture mixes traditional and new concepts, changing the look of the city in many respects.
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The book is divided into sections on the city, the churches, the university and the colleges. The colleges are further divided into three chapters, making it easy to plan a college architectural tour. Buildings are listed either chronologically or alphabetically. Each site is given a one page write-up with a facing black and white photograph. Addresses and opening times are listed for each site on the page. However, the authors suggest checking with the colleges before visiting to verify opening times. The authors also suggest the need for a city map, which can be obtained at the Tourist Information Centre. This book is not a paean to the architecture of Oxford but a realistic look at both its faults and its virtues. Its compact size makes it ideal for carrying in a pocket on a walking tour.
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