Skyscrapers: Structure and Design

Matthew Wells, Author
Matthew Wells, Author Yale University Press $48 (192p) ISBN 978-0-300-10679-4
Hardcover - 191 pages - 978-1-85669-403-2
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At first, the title seems broad. And, well, it is; there are plenty of skyscrapers out there. But only 30, some of which are still under construction, receive detailed treatments by Wells, a practicing structural engineer. Wells dedicates most of his text to construction principles, which architecture and engineering buffs will appreciate. The text is supplemented by lively photos as well as architectural plans and blueprints. Behind the visual comprehensiveness, though, is a downside: the language is often stilted. For instance, in the write-up of the Swiss Re building in London, Wells writes, ""The striking silhouette records how a design process that draws together the ideas of disparate thinkers and inventors, identifying their essences and then reconciling these with tested methods to make a new whole, can create a radical-looking building while remaining within an essentially conservative remit."" Such roundabout language, unfortunately, is used throughout the book. Still, even without the verbal finesse, the book's worth a look for its technically sound and well-presented information. 75 b/w and 175 color illustrations.
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