Public domain books are a great place to get books regarding your favorite topics free of charge. Following are some samples I have discovered (about construction), from various eras.
The first is an extract from "The Principles of Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture, Elucidated by Question and Answer, 4th ed." By Bloxam, Matthew Holbeche.
OF THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF ARCHES:
"Q. How are they formed or described?
A. The semicircular arch is described from a centre in the same line with
its spring; the stilted arch in the same manner, but the sides are carried
downwards in a straight line below the spring of the curve till they rest
upon the imposts; the segmental arch is described from a centre lower than
its spring; and the horse-shoe arch from a centre placed above its spring.
Q. During what period of time do we find these arches generally in use?
A. The semicircular arch, which is the most common, we find to have
prevailed from the time of the Romans to the close of the twelfth
century, when it became generally discarded; and we seldom meet with it
again, in its simple state, till about the middle of the sixteenth
century. It is in some degree considered as a characteristic of the
Anglo-Saxon and Norman styles. The stilted arch is chiefly found in
conjunction with the semicircular arch in the construction of Norman
vaulting over a space in plan that of a parallelogram. The segmental arch
we meet with in almost all the styles, used as an arch of construction,
and for doorway and window arches; whilst the form of the horse-shoe arch
seems, in many instances, to have been occasioned by the settlement and
inclination of the piers from which it springs."
The second comes from Rural Architecture, Being a Complete Description of Farm Houses, Cottages, and Out Buildings.
"ttached to the building site should be considered the quality of the
soil, as affording cultivation and growth to shrubbery and trees,--at
once the ornament most effective to all domestic buildings, grateful to
the eye always, as objects of admiration and beauty--delightful in the
repose they offer in hours of lassitude or weariness; and to them, that
indispensable feature in a perfect arrangement, the garden, both fruit
and vegetable, should be added. Happily for the American, our soils are
so universally adapted to the growth of vegetation in all its varieties,
that hardly a farm of considerable size can be found which does not
afford tolerable facilities for the exercise of all the taste which one
may indulge in the cultivation of the garden as well as in the planting
and growth of trees and shrubbery; and a due appropriation of these to
an agreeable residence is equal in importance to the style and
arrangement of the house itself.
The site selected for the dwelling, and the character of the scenery and
objects immediately surrounding it, should have a controlling influence
upon the style in which the house is to be constructed. A fitness and
harmony in all these is indispensable to both expression and effect. And
in their determination, a single object should not control, but the
entire picture, as completed, should be embraced in the view; and that
style of building constituting the most agreeable whole, as filling the
eye with the most grateful sensations, should be the one selected with
which to fill up and complete the design."
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Other extracts: Archi Related Prints