>"architecture for retards" type of book for someone with almost zero knowledge?
A tough question, i read a ton back in the day but never an introductory text as i didn't find it necessary for my case.
I heard a lot about a famous one, A History of Architecture
by Banister Fletcher Sr. and Jr., supposedly it was the best you could get for pre-modern architecture in the old days, i think there's two versions with the latter ones being the resumed student's ones.
It doesn't touch upon the modernist movements, which were and still are a whole 'nother story in terms of theory, so it's good for that but it does lack some stuff like a bunch of pre-hispanic architecture because back then there wasn't a lot of evidence surrounding it, the comprehensive studies happened until the 50's and eberryone who wanted to know about the ruins had to go there personally. This book is from the berry late 1890's with a revision around the mid-20's.
Beware, it's a big book with around 1300+ pages, so if you want a shorter one then i don't know what to say, i can check and/or ask and get you some names but in terms of zero2hero lectures i think the massive acclaim that book has is probably justified.
An obligatory writer for scrub-level students is the famous Francis Ching, or Frank Chink like eberrybody says, he wrote tons of introductory texts regarding the craft so probably he has one for history. And yes he has, it seems it's called A Global History of Architecture
, that one is 800+ pages which is abnormally large for him but he's a relaxed read, i wood say he's probably your best bet and if you somehow want more he has other reads, the conceptual Form, Space, and Order
is a modern classic for which he's known for so maybe that could be a second read, although also long-winded.
Architecture is a highly mischievous field due to its denizens and performers but the art & craft itself is greatly rewarding, i woodn't take it too seriously and if i knew back then i woodn't even touch it professionally, it sucks the soul out of you which isn't comfy at all. A happy architect is as rare as a sober construction worker.