When my previous book, "Towns and Buildings," appeared the learned English historian of architecture, John Summerson, wrote that the preface should have contained some reference to whom the book was written for. The reader should have been warned so that he would avoid being disappointed and annoyed when he discovered how elementary the book actually was. Therefore I now hasten to state that I have endeavored to write the present volume in such a way that even an interested teenager might understand it. Not because I expect to find many readers belonging to that age-group. But if it can be understood by a fourteen-year-old then certainly it will be understood by those who are older. Furthermore, there is also some hope that the author himself has understood what he has written--which the reader is by no means always convinced of when reading books on art.
In writing this volume I naturally hope that my architect colleagues will read it and that they will find something of interest in the thoughts and ideas I have gathered during many years. But the book has a further aim. I believe that it is important to tell people outside our profession what it is that we are engaged in. In olden days the entire community took part in forming the dwellings and implements they used. The individual was in fruitful contact with these things; the anonymous houses were built with a natural feeling for place, materials and use and the result was a remarkably suitable comeliness. Today, in our highly civilized society the houses which ordinary people are doomed to live in and gaze upon are on the whole without quality. We cannot, however, go back to the old method of personally supervised handicrafts. We must strive to advance by arousing interest in and understanding of the work the architect does. The basis of competent professionalism is a sympathetic . . .