Why Architecture Matters, By Paul Goldberger

This engaging explanation of "what buildings do beyond keeping us out of the rain" begins with a sideswipe at one of the great worthies of British architectural writing.

Pevsner's distinction between "Architecture with a capital A and mere buildings" is seen as "arbitrary and cold-hearted". Goldberger's approach is democratic and human.

He praises structures ranging from Sir John Soane's Breakfast Room ("the dome is protecting ... a reminder that we may feel uncommunicative in the morning") to Central Park West, which fits together "because architects honoured the unspoken agreement ... to line their buildings up and work in a consistent scale." This world-spanning guide is inviting and revelatory.