Buildings are more like us than we realize. They can be born into wealth or poverty, enjoying every privilege or struggling to make ends meet. They have parents—gods, kings and emperors, governments, visionaries and madmen—as well as friends and enemies. They have duties and responsibilities. They can endure crises of faith and purpose. They can succeed or fail. They can live. And, sooner or later, they die.
In Fallen Glory, James Crawford uncovers the biographies of some of the world’s most fascinating lost and ruined buildings, from the dawn of civilization to the cyber era. The lives of these iconic structures are packed with drama and intrigue. Soap operas on the grandest scale, they feature war and religion, politics and art, love and betrayal, catastrophe and hope. Frequently their afterlives have been no less dramatic—their memories used and abused down the millennia for purposes both sacred and profane. They provide the stage for a startling array of characters, including Gilgamesh, the Cretan Minotaur, Agamemnon, Nefertiti, Genghis Khan, Henry VIII, Catherine the Great, Adolf Hitler, and even Bruce Springsteen.
The twenty-one structures Crawford focuses on include The Tower of Babel, The Temple of Jerusalem, The Library of Alexandria, The Bastille, Kowloon Walled City, the Berlin Wall, and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Ranging from the deserts of Iraq, the banks of the Nile and the cloud forests of Peru, to the great cities of Jerusalem, Istanbul, Paris, Rome, London and New York, Fallen Glory is a unique guide to a world of vanished architecture. And, by picking through the fragments of our past, it asks what history’s scattered ruins can tell us about our own future.
Concrete, marble, steel, brick: little else made by human hands seems as stable, as immutable, as a building. Yet the life of any structure is neither fixed nor timeless. Outliving their original contexts and purposes, buildings are forced to adapt to each succeeding age. To survive, they must become shape-shifters.
In an inspired refashioning of architectural history, Edward Hollis recounts more than a dozen stories of such metamorphosis, highlighting the way in which even the most familiar structures all change over time into "something rich and strange." The Parthenon, that epitome of a ruined temple, was for centuries a working church and then a mosque; the cathedral of Notre Dame was "restored" to a design that none of its original makers would have recognized. Remains of the Berlin Wall, meanwhile, which was once gleefully smashed and bulldozed, are now treated as precious relics.
With The Secret Lives of Buildings, Edward Hollis recounts the most enthralling of these metamorphoses and shows how buildings have come to embody the history of Western culture.
The research draws on a multiplicity of sources within the fields of history, history of religion, philosophy, anthropology, historical geography, historical biographies, the Jungian analytical psychology and alchemy, archaeology and history of art and architecture, and ancient Greek literature. It relies on observation from visits to archaeological sites and of the arts and artifacts of the period under study which provide the link that reveals the poetic dimension of Mycenaean architecture.
Wendy Lesser’s You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn is a major exploration of the architect’s life and work. Kahn, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century American architect, was a “public” architect. Rather than focusing on corporate commissions, he devoted himself to designing research facilities, government centers, museums, libraries, and other structures that would serve the public good. But this warm, captivating person, beloved by students and admired by colleagues, was also a secretive man hiding under a series of masks.
Kahn himself, however, is not the only complex subject that comes vividly to life in these pages. His signature achievements—like the Salk Institute in La Jolla, the National Assembly Building of Bangladesh, and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad—can at first seem as enigmatic and beguiling as the man who designed them. In attempts to describe these structures, we are often forced to speak in contradictions and paradoxes: structures that seem at once unmistakably modern and ancient; enormous built spaces that offer a sense of intimate containment; designs in which light itself seems tangible, a raw material as tactile as travertine or Kahn’s beloved concrete. This is where Lesser’s talents as one of our most original and gifted cultural critics come into play. Interspersed throughout her account of Kahn’s life and career are exhilarating “in situ” descriptions of what it feels like to move through his built structures.
Drawing on extensive original research, lengthy interviews with his children, his colleagues, and his students, and travel to the far-flung sites of his career-defining buildings, Lesser has written a landmark biography of this elusive genius, revealing the mind behind some of the twentieth century’s most celebrated architecture.
Twelve of Scotland’s most famous crime authors evoke the sinister side of the country’s architecture in stories that are by turns calculating, chilling, and redemptive.
Scotland has often been depicted as a land of haunting, misty moors and literary genius. But Scotland has also been a place of brutal crime, terrifying murder, child abuse, and bank robbery. Crime can strike anywhere. From the southern border to the Northern Isles, suspicion and suspense are never far away. Edinburgh, with its reputation for civility and elegance, has often been the scene of savagery; the dark streets of industrial Glasgow and Dundee have protected thieves and muggers, while the villages of coast and countryside hide murderous men and wild women.
Stellar contributors to Bloody Scotland include Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Peter May, Ann Cleeves, Louise Welsh, Lin Anderson, Doug Johnstone, Craig Robertson, E. S. Thomson, Sara Sheridan and Stuart MacBride explore the thrilling potential of Scotland’s iconic sites and structures. From murder in a Hebridean blackhouse and a macabre tale of revenge among the furious clamour of an eighteenth century mill, to a dark psychological thriller set within the tourist throng of Edinburgh Castle and an ‘urbex’ rivalry turning fatal in the concrete galleries of an abandoned modernist ruin, this collection uncovers the intimate—and deadly—connections between people and places.
Prepare for a dangerous journey into the dark shadows of our nation’s architecture—where passion, fury, desire, and death collide.