Friday, January 04, 2013

Great Buildings: The World's Architectural Masterpieces Explored and Explained by Philip Wilkinson

When I noticed this book on display I was attracted to it immediately. In just 30 minutes of perusing through its pages I discovered some interesting facts previously unknown to me about the Colosseum and Pantheon. And not only that, but I also learned about the existence of several fascinating buildings of which I had absolutely no knowledge, such as the 9th century Borobudur Temple in Indonesia.

Great Buildings beautifully illustrates the architecture of 53 buildings spanning antiquity to the 21st Century, ranging in style from simple to grand, and representing an assortment of countries and cultures. Each example features a large color photograph of the building with a brief background on its history and construction. On the pages that follow, the reader is treated to a “visual tour” inside and out that consists of an image of the floor plan, brief explanations of significant features, and additional notes on unique characteristics.

After exploring the architecture exhibited throughout this work, I have a much greater appreciation for the architects and craftsmen who had a hand in the design and creation of such truly remarkable structures. Although I admired all the buildings represented, my favorite would have to be St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. I was quite taken with its captivating style, vibrant colors and awesome brickwork. Imagine how wonderful it would be to experience this place in person! Maybe you, too, will find a favorite building that strikes a particular chord with you.

Look for Great Buildings by Philip Wilkinson on the VBPL Catalog. Many outstanding books on architecture can be found in the library but I would like to point out a few in particular. The Vision of Frank Lloyd Wright provides extensive coverage of his designs, attesting to Wright’s brilliance and creativity as an architect. Because there is generally more written on architecture of the Western world I’d like to suggest several excellent books that survey Eastern architecture. Try browsing through Architecture of Thailand by Nithi Sthapitanonda, Chinese Architecture by Xinian Fu, and Ottoman Architecture by Dogan Kuban and see if you are not thoroughly amazed.

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