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Great Buildings Hardcover – August 20, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Spanning 2500 BC from the Great Pyramid to the 2010 Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum, you will marvel at the exterior and interior color photos, cutaway drawings, and closeup photos. Most pages have 4 large photos but in several examples it takes 2 pages to show 1 photo. Most of every page is photos or drawings but the text boxes contain lots of specific information. Other books just tell the name of the room, its construction date, and the materials used. This is far more comprehensive.
The book is divided into these time periods: 2500 BCE-1100 AD, 1100-1500, 1500-1700, 1700-1900, and 1900-2010. While Europe provides the majority of examples, the other continents are also represented in the 53 magnificent buildings shown. DK lives up to their legacy of superb graphics and photos although the cover doesn't even hint at the satisfaction to be gained by looking inside. You will get a lot of comments from visitors if you leave this masterpiece out as a "coffee table book".
The result is impressive in many ways:
* The buildings discussed include not only the most famous (the Great Pyramid, the Cathedral in Chartres, the Sydney Opera, etc.) but also many that are less known or unexpected: Borobudur, the Borgund Stave Church, Himeji Castle, etc.
* Photographs often include interiors that are usually omitted from such works but that are certainly interesting both for large buildings such as the Brasilia Cathedral and for small ones such as Fallingwater or the Villa Savoye;
* The lay-out is systematic and well structured but includes enough variety to avoid monotony.
Unfortunately, the editors have not succeeded in avoiding numerous mistakes and misstatements that include the following:
* It is not true that `Many later rulers also lived at Versailles' (page 147); in fact, the Palace was so closely associated with pre-Revolutionary times that none ever did.
* The caption to the photograph of the `Cabinet de la pendule' describes it as the King's bedchamber (page 150).
* The gardens in Versailles may not `be appreciated best from the royal bedchamber' as they lie to the West of the palace and the windows in the king's bedroom all face the rising sun to the East (page 149).
* In Blenheim Palace, the Long Library is wrongly said to run along the entire west front of the building whereas it lies on the east side (page 163);
* Thomas Jefferson is identified as `one of our founding fathers ` whilst the author is British and the book is published in London and Delhi (page 168).
* The height of the Jin Mao Tower is given as `1380 feet or 4205 meters' (page 231)!
Though it may consequently not be trusted as a reference work, this book does provide a beautiful overview of the world's architecture and may thus be recommended as an introduction to the topic, especially for a younger public.
than a 3 credit class I had on architectural history. The pictures and notes are well done.
The cover does not do this book justice.