The Great Builders

Overview

Celebrates the creations of forty architect-engineers who have been pioneers in aesthetic design and the application of materials.
Seven hundred years of architectural innovation make for an international survey of spectacular scope and depth, from the dome of St. Paul’s cathedral to the arresting angles of the Sydney Opera House, from the monumental Taj Mahal to Kengo Kuma’s attempts “to erase architecture,” to fortresses, bridges, and ...

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Overview

Celebrates the creations of forty architect-engineers who have been pioneers in aesthetic design and the application of materials.
Seven hundred years of architectural innovation make for an international survey of spectacular scope and depth, from the dome of St. Paul’s cathedral to the arresting angles of the Sydney Opera House, from the monumental Taj Mahal to Kengo Kuma’s attempts “to erase architecture,” to fortresses, bridges, and skyscrapers.
The contributors include practicing architects and leading academics, and their essays focus on the architects and engineers through history who have shaped and transformed the built environment. More than two hundred illustrations of structures famous, revolutionary, and surprising—including original drawings and prints and modern photography—bring the works to life.
Architectural structures both subtle and spectacular have always been designed with an audience in mind, an intent to influence the way we see, think, move, and interact; and the builders themselves can be as fascinating as their creations. Mathematician and visionary, philosopher and ecologist, nationalist, modernist, rationalist, deconstructivist: the characters behind the buildings are many and varied.
Featuring work by Filippo Brunelleschi, Shah Jahan, Christopher Wren, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, John Fowler, Gustave Eiffel, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, R. Buckminster Fuller, Louis Kahn, Oscar Niemeyer, Eero Saarinen, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava, and many more.

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Editorial Reviews

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Architect Julia Morgan contended that architecture is a visual art and buildings speak for themselves, but for most of us, mastering their vocabulary is an acquired skill. This masterfully built collection of profusely illustrated essays manages to lend visibility to seven centuries of architectural achievement from medieval cathedrals and fortresses to gravity-defying post-modern mega-structures. An almost random roster of architect subjects registers the range of these readable studies: Filippo Brunelleschi, Christopher Wren, Gustave Eiffel, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Buckminister Fuller, Louis Kahn, Eero Saarinen, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, and Santiago Calatrava. Adept, yet accessible.

Choice
“The writing . . . is uniformly accessible and intelligently distills major achievements.”
Architect Magazine
“The study fascinates most when detailing dreams deferred—for example, Schinkel’s unbuilt Crimean palace for Tsarina Alexandra and the 'Plan for Tokyo' by Kenzo Tange that’s hard to fathom.”
Library Journal
British architectural historian and critic Powell (New London Architecture) has compiled a collection that highlights the works of innovative structural engineers from the Middle Ages to the present. He commissioned 40 brief biographies of these master builders, which are presented chronologically and highlight, e.g., Brunelleschi's structural inventions in Renaissance Florence and the globe-spanning work of contemporary figures like Norman Foster and Santiago Calatrava. Visionaries like Christopher Wren, Thomas Telford, Gustave Eiffel, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier are more familiar to general readers. Others, like Sinan, the 16th-century "master architect of the Ottoman Empire," are worthy colleagues. Powell contends that with computer-aided design, more architects and engineers are discovering new innovations together. Almost 230 illustrations help readers visualize the various projects described. VERDICT This book contains much well-known information, but its historical architectural continuum could inspire architecture, engineering, and construction students.—David R. Conn, formerly with Surrey Libs., B.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500251799
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 11/7/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 939,802
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Powell is a British architecture critic, journalist, and writer. His many books include New London Architecture, City Reborn, Culture of Building, The Great Builders, and a multivolume monograph on Richard Rogers.

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