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Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture Virginia McLeod Laurence King Publishing, 2007, £30 This handsome, large-format book does what so many others profess to do: it shows details.

We need more books like this - witness the large following of DETAIL magazine. McLeod has selected more than 50 houses from across the globe, built between 2001 and 2005, and grouped them into chapters according to their predominant material: concrete, glass, masonry etc. Each house gets a 4pp spread, with a brief text, well-chosen photographs, clearly-drawn and consistent plans and sections, and the details. Where this book disappoints, however, is where it should excel: in the choice of details. Rather than representing the essence of each house, the details are uneven and random, which means that the book falls short of the revelatory volume that it set out to be.

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