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Clark and Menefee

By Richard Jensen. Princeton Architectural Press, 2000. 192pp. £24.95

The modesty of this pocket-size hardback monograph is misleading, writes Andrew Mead. While the buildings of Clark and Menefee are relatively few in number, and all in the American South, their significance exceeds any regional confines - to judge from the photographs and drawings presented here.

Domestic works, overnight accommodation at an historic site (left), pre-school facilities - nothing ostentatious. A preference for everyday materials, especially concrete blocks, and for making structure explicit. Permutations of type explored in successive houses. Unselfconscious allusions to Palladio, Loos and Kahn in buildings that pick up on local precedent and practice. And, in designs for some enviable sites, a marked sensitivity to landscape.

W G Clark writes: 'It is not only buildings that interest us: there is something of greater importance. It has to do with the joining of structure and land, and how this can result in a sureness of place that is stronger for the union. There are frequent instances in this book where that 'sureness' and appositeness is felt.

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