Seventy Wonders of the Modern World: 1500 Years of Extraordinary Feats of Engineering and Constructionby Neil Parkyn
How was the Empire State Building erected in the middle of the crowded city of New York? What machines
St. Peter's Basilica, the Taj Mahal, the Topkapi Palace, the Sydney Opera House, the Hoover Damthe world's greatest structures capture the imagination, whether they are places of worship, palaces of pleasure, skyscrapers, bridges, dams, or colossal statues.
How was the Empire State Building erected in the middle of the crowded city of New York? What machines were used to dig the Channel Tunnel? Why does the Leaning Tower of Pisa leanand why does it not fall over? How can the Akashi Kaikyo suspension bridge in Japan span 1.4 miles yet withstand earthquakes and typhoons? And what supports the soaring, lofty vaults of Chartres Cathedral? Such questions are answered by an international team of architects, engineers, and architectural historians who chart the progress of human ingenuity and creativity from AD 500 to the present day.
Many of these structures are the tallest, longest, or largest of their kind, but sheer size alone does not make a building impressive. Aesthetic power is combined with structural virtuosity in the small chapel at Ronchamp in France or the temple of Byodo-in near Kyoto, with its elegant wooden roof. The ability to harness or overcome the forces of nature is equally spectacular, as seen in China's Three Gorges Dam or the Jungfrau Rail System in Switzerland. While some buildings, including Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the Potala Palace in Lhasa, were erected using traditional methods and materials, others represent the latest in computer-aided design and space-age technologies, such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and Kansai Airport in Japan.
Diagrams, reconstructions, and spectacular photographs explain and celebrate these masterpieces of design and engineering. All the structures manage to transcend mere utilitythey have changed landscapes and can encapsulate the identity of a city or a nation, becoming iconic forms that are instantly recognizable and infinitely memorable. 352 photographs and illustrations, 267 in color.
Author Biography: Neil Parkyn, an architect and city planner, has worked in sixteen countries. He is also a prize-winning journalist and illustrator.
- W W Norton & Co Inc
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