Revolving Architecture: A History of Buildings That Rotate, Swivel, and Pivot

Overview

Alternately lauded as the future of architecture or dismissed as pure folly, revolving buildings are a fascinating missing chapter in architectural history with surprising relevance to issues in contemporary architectural design. Rotating structures have been employed to solve problems and create effects that stationary buildings can't achieve. Rotating buildings offeredever-changing vistas and made interior spaces more flexible and adaptable. They were used to impress visitors, treatpatients, and improve the ...

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Overview

Alternately lauded as the future of architecture or dismissed as pure folly, revolving buildings are a fascinating missing chapter in architectural history with surprising relevance to issues in contemporary architectural design. Rotating structures have been employed to solve problems and create effects that stationary buildings can't achieve. Rotating buildings offeredever-changing vistas and made interior spaces more flexible and adaptable. They were used to impress visitors, treatpatients, and improve the green qualities of a structure by keeping particular rooms in or out of the sun.

The follow-up to his critically acclaimed book A-frame, Chad Randl's Revolving Architecture: A History of Buildings that Rotate, Swivel, and Pivot explores the history of this unique building type, investigating the cultural forces that have driven people to design and inhabit them. Revolving Architecture is packed with a variety of fantastic revolving structures such as a jail that kept inmates under a wardens constant surveillance, glamorous revolving restaurants, tuberculosis treatment wards, houses, theaters, and even a contemporary residential building whose full-floor apartments circle independently of each other. International examples from the late 1800s though the present demonstrate the variety and innovation of these dynamic structures.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Architecture in motion challenges archetypal notions of buildings as being safe, secure, and static (in point of fact, introductory building engineering courses for first-year architecture students are typically titled "Static Structures"). The initial chapter of Randl's (A-frame) latest book is especially informative in its outline of mechanical innovations that first made buildings and their spaces kinetic, from stages that rotated to a rotary penitentiary with wedge-shaped cells for observing inmates efficiently and for preventing sawing through bars. Rotating houses in the early 20th century-playwright George Bernard Shaw had a rotating writing shed-allowed occupants to enjoy sunlight and breezes from all directions. The author explores the idea exhaustively, and it is not surprising that he settles on the Lazy Susan cupboard as the metaphor for the efficiency and mobility sought in postwar design. Randl omits no example; he seems to have identified every revolving restaurant, spinning bedroom, and rotating kitchen across the planet. The illustrations are equally numerous, with clear plans, axonometric projections, and photographs as explanations of the mechanisms. This work acknowledges Le Corbusier's machine à habiter while redefining it. For all architecture and design collections.
—Paul Glassman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568986814
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Chad Randl is an architectural history PhD student at Cornell University. He is the author of A-frame and has written for Old House Journal, Adirondack Life, and other publications.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7

Introduction 9

Ch. 1 Early History of Rotating Buildings 15

Ch. 2 Rotating Architecture 1900-1945 51

Ch. 3 Postwar Rotating Designs 95

Ch. 4 The Postwar Revolving Residence 141

Notes 197

Image Credits 208

Index 205

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