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Bizarre Buildings [Hardcover]

Paul Cattermole , Ian Westwell , Gwynne Headley
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 14, 2007 1554073081 978-1554073085 1St Edition

The most unusual and wonderful structures from around the world.

This intriguing book selects the world's most extreme and sometimes weird buildings and structures. Some illustrate the personal expression of an individual builder or patron who has a vision well beyond the norm, while others were built by architects pushing the conventional boundaries of design. Some of the buildings are masterpieces on a larger scale. Examples include Frank Gehry's iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, with its glistening, undulating walls.

Some are indeed "follies" -- buildings that have no purpose -- including the surreal shark sticking out of the roof of a house in Oxford, England.

Many of these strange buildings have a more obvious provenance, not as architectural follies, but as deliberate marketing ventures of the owner's product. In Flanders, New York, the Big Duck building is actually shaped like a duck in honor of the poultry once sold there.

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Editorial Reviews


You'll find it hard to believe your eyes as you browse through these full-color, large-format photos of unusual, eccentric and outright odd homes, churches, castles, museums, opera houses and other structures that defy the imagination. If you ever get bored of your four ordinary-looking walls, Bizarre Buildings brings dozens of the world's most unique architectural offerings to your coffee table. (Neil Pond American Profile 2008-01-28)

About the Author

Paul Cattermole is the former creative director of a specialist architectural picture library and an architectural writer based in London. His most recent work is Buildings for Tomorrow: Architecture That Changed Our World.

Gwyn Headley is the founder of the Folly Fellowship, a society dedicated to extreme buildings of architectural interest, and the author of Architectural Follies in America.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books; 1St Edition edition (September 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554073081
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554073085
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 10.7 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cocktail Table book November 29, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Simply terrific book to put on a cocktail table! Wonderful pictures, fascinating stories of truly outlandish building structures. This is not just for architect wannabes...this will stimulate almost anyone's imagination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bizarre Buildings, by Paul Cattermole and Ian Westwell, is a marvelous book to browse through, with page after page of stunningly beautiful photographs of the most truly imaginative architectural creations from all around the world. Some are well-known icons, like the Sydney Opera House in Australia and Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. But Cattermole and Westwell have included many others, less well-known but no less amazing in their originality and creativity.

I was particularly fascinated by the structure depicted on the dust jacket - Le Palais Ideal in Chateauneuf-de-Galaure, France - and was even more impressed when the book told the story behind it.

"This bizarre building is the work of a French postman, Ferdinand Cheval (1836 - Augst 19, 1924). Le Palais Ideal was started in April 1879: Cheval said that he tripped on a stone and was inspired by its shape. During his daily mail route and in retirement, Cheval carried stones at first in his pockets, then a basket and eventually a wheelbarrow. His self-inflicted task took him the next 33 years -- there is an inscription on Le Palais Ideal that identifies '10,000 days, 9,300 hours, 33 years of toil.' Cheval spent the first two decades building the outer walls -- 85 feet (26 meters) long, 45 feet (14 meters) wide and up to 33 feet (10 meters) high -- continuing after his retirement in 1896. He often worked at night in the light of an oil lamp. Locals regarded him as a village idiot, but before his death he began to receive some recognition from luminaries such as Pablo picasso. The building is covered with inscriptions of all sorts, figures of many animals and famous people. In 1969 Andre Malraux, French minister of culture, declared the site a cultural landmark and had it officially protected."

Highly recommended for anyone who delights in architecture as an expression of human creativity or who simply enjoys photographs of structures that truly seize the imagination.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Next Time... Handle with Care! December 15, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book itself is great and full of interesting information. I was very disappointed in how it arrived, however. This item was identified as "new" when I purchased it, but the proper care was not taken in preparing it for shipment. The outer cover of the book was torn and crinkled. This book is a gift for a friend who loves architecture. The cover was so tattered that I had to remove it completely from the book. I would never give something so unpresentable to someone as a gift. Other than that, the book was in tact. Shrink-wrap should be considered next time.
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