Names of Nothing: An Exploration of Enclosed Space


Peter Beresford

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In Names of Nothing, Peter Beresford reveals how the art of architecture ‘gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name’. Explaining from first principles how an awareness of shapes and spaces, both interior and exterior, is the basis of the design and creation of buildings of all kinds, and illustrating his words with delicate and exuberant watercolours, the author distills a life-time’s wisdom and delight into a book of elegant simplicity and philosophical subtlety, with many entertaining digressions.

He indicates how humans respond to certain shapes and proportions, with feelings ranging from joy and pleasure to worry and fear; how the placing of windows and doors and the height and depth of the former can enhance or diminish our pleasure at being in a certain space; how the external architectural environment can suggest certain emotional responses.

Indeed, of particular interest are his observations on the power of architecture either to constrain or to enhance human life – and his own desire that life should be enhanced is expressed with great warmth, vitality and humour.

Peter Beresford was the son of a technical illustrator and journalist who taught him to draw. Deciding to pursue a career in architecture  he won a place at the Birmingham School of Art and Architecture and in 1948 went on to win The Tite Prize, awarded for the study of Italian Renaissance Architecture. After National Service he joined a firm of architects in London and then in Hampshire. In the early 1960s he took a post in the architects department of Oxford City Council. It was here he spent the rest of his career, in due course becoming Chief Architect to the city. This book was the last of his many achievements; he was working on it until two weeks before his death.

Paperback | 156 pages | 259 x 205 mm | 2011
Colour and b&w illustrations
ISBN 978-1-906663-60-5


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