London: Pleiades Books, 1944. Slim quarto, original grey cloth over color pictorial boards, grey brick-patterned endpapers. Illustrated with color lithographs throughout text. “Printed in Great Britain" stamped to title page. Lightest shelfwear, very faint foxing to opening pages.
First edition of English architect Oliver Hill’s lively architectural history of the world, which opens with the most basic form of shelter: “The snail carries his house on his back and that solves his problem.” Each innovation in building, from the ziggurat to the cathedral to the skyscraper, is accompanied by a full-page color lithograph by designer Hans Tisdall. Hill and Tisdall would collaborate on a second engineering history for children, Wheels, two years later. A near-fine copy of a fragile wartime book.