Review: Pevsner’s architectural app

Yesterday I nearly missed my stop on the tube. Why? I was engrossed in Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary app that I’d just downloaded from iTunes. This simple but amazingly comprehensive app guides one through the architectural lexicon from abacus to zigzag, taking in terms as diverse as hagioscope and Quattrocento along the way, while enhancing the experience with plenty of handy diagrams, images and cross references. I suspect Sir Nikolaus Pevsner would have been delighted.

Pevsner began his Architectural Guides in 1951 with the aim of providing an up-to-date portable guide to the most significant buildings in every part of England, suitable for both the general reader and specialist. The success of the titles comprising The Buildings of England led to the extension of the series to Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The app is based on the 2010 hardback publication of Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary. For me it will serve as a handy reference that has the convenience of always being with me whenever I’m out and about exploring buildings. Hopefully its addictive, dynamic and user friendly form will encourage others to engage with architecture and gain an understanding of the details and forms that make our built environment special.

On offer are definitions of more than a thousand architectural terms, user friendly navigation, a variety of search methods, clear explanatory line drawings, colour images supporting definitions, map locations for individual buildings, linked cross references and bookmarks and even an audio pronunciation guide to the terms. Just don’t become so absorbed that you miss your stop.