The Prodigious Builders

by Bernard Rudofsky.Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $14.95. Mr. Rudofsky is a learned, observant man with a suspicious cast of mind. Show him a generally accepted notion and he goes for it like a bull after a red cloak, and comes out a good deal better than the bull on such occasions. He is irked, this time, by the respect accorded architects for doing (badly, in Mr. Rudofsky’s view) what innumerable non-architects around the world do very well—that is, build a practical, livable, inexpensive house. He documents his case, and entertains the reader, with a gingery text and over 250 illustrations, many of which do exactly what the author hopes. They arouse a strong desire to take an ax to the nearest split-level.