Anything slip-cased, bound in simulated leather, weighing nine pounds, and made up mostly of pictures can only evoke skepticism; but this fullest-of-all pictorial records is an empyrean journey for architecture buffs. Kidder Smith, well remembered for Sweden Builds and Switzerland Builds, took the 800 photographs and made the notes on which the editors based the informative, interesting captions; they also supply brief introductions to the various regional sections. ""Over the years this country has probably produced more different styles of buildings than any other nation in the same span of time,"" they observe; and the examples support them. Not only single structures are involved. Stretching across double-page spreads are the 19th-century Amoskeag Manufacturing Complex along the Merrimack River at Manchester, N.H.; the white-fenced horse farms of Lexington, Ky.; the hulking grain elevators of Topeka; placid Kailua Village along the palm-fringed shore of Hawaii Island; The Strip at Las Vegas. Section by section, too, groups of photos emphasize e.g., the sculptured profiles of 17th-century New England dwellings; diverse expressions of the local stone vernacular in the Mid-Atlantic states; the extravagant 19th-century courthouses of Indiana; the imaginative new theaters in the Southwest. Along with myriad celebrated and curious buildings, all resourcefully and seductively pictured. This is architecture to experience rather than to study, with examples from every neck of the woods.