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Books in Print lists over 20 books on adobe construction, from construction manuals to scholarly accounts of its history, preservation, and bibliography. The book at hand, which is noteworthy primarily for the beauty and care with which it has been produced, features beautiful photographs, elegant text, and fine editing. Romero is head of the library at the oldest European building in America, the Palace of the Governor in Santa Fe, and Larkin has made a career out of producing just this kind of historically minded style book; his Shaker: Life, Work, and Art (LJ 11/15/87) is a model of this sort. With an introduction that deals with the African roots of adobe and chapters on plastering, solar applications, and artistic formulations, this celebration of the most ancient of sustainable building techniques will appeal to a wide range of the public, including ecologists, contractors, architects, designers, and historians. Peter Kaufman, Boston Architecture Ctr.

When David Larkin's name graces a title page, the book is bound to be well designed and full of superb color photographs. His most recent projects include Frank Lloyd Wright: The Masterworks and Barn (1993). Here Larkin has teamed up with Romero, library director for the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe and expert on adobe in particular and southwestern culture in general, to create a picture-rich study of the history, technology, and dignified, sculptural beauty of adobe structures. The oldest of building materials, adobe bricks are made from mud and straw and have been used in Africa, the Iberian peninsula, and all across the Southwest and Mexico. Surprisingly durable if maintained, adobe constructions can last for centuries. Romero and Larkin explain brick-making and remudding techniques, showing both archival photographs of Native Americans at work on their pueblos and photographs of contemporary builders. They also document some of the Southwest's most famous adobe churches and pueblos, such as the San Francisco Mission Church at Ranchos de Taos and the wondrous mesa-crowning Acoma Pueblo, as well as a selection of lesser-known buildings. Special attention is paid to interior decorative detail and to adobe's intrinsic connection to the landscape. Donna Seaman

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