Architecture of the British Empire

Jan Morris, Other Vendome Press $35 (224p) ISBN 978-0-86565-062-6
Even though there was never a ""British Imperial Style'' of architecture, the colonizers created livable houses that mirrored their pretensions to aristocracy, serviceable buildings of authority and churches proclaiming the empire's providential nature. From the Governor's Palace in Queen Anne's style in Williamsburg, Virginia, to the ``Wild West Gothic'' of a post office in India, British colonial buildings exude great charm, character and durability. Local architectural traditions and building materials are in evidence, whether in a settler's house in Kenya, Australian corrugated iron roofs or a castle completed in Toronto in 1914. Public buildings were ``a remarkably mixed bag,'' as an essay here notes, but the ones still standing in Calcutta and Malaysia are spectacular. Ingenious in its conception, illustrated with some 140 color plates, this volume probes the ``existential'' style that reinforced a shaky claim to alien soil. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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