A History of Architecture in 100 Buildings

Dan Cruickshank. Firefly, $39.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-77085-599-1
Cruickshank (Around the World in Eighty Treasures), an art historian, author, and BBC presenter, has produced a beautifully illustrated history of architecture that's both representative and expansive in scope. Cruickshank takes a historical perspective, beginning with the pyramids, and moves through to the present. His exploration is a "personal and intimate affair," and he examines world architecture under differing rubrics, exploring functions and purposes of the buildings. He makes a distinction between buildings and architecture and looks at what makes a building exceptional. He asks how buildings are expressive, and to what purpose; the significance of the tension between conservative and progressive tendencies; and the role of the sacred and of aesthetics. He also zooms out to consider social spaces and urban environments, and the implications of different architectural schools of thought. Cruickshank considers the historical contexts and individual inspiration that brought each building into being. This fascinating book is a visual feast. It does, however, presuppose some knowledge of architecture, including some jargon. Being somewhat cursory in its approach, it may leave the uninitiated stranded at times, and the seasoned will be somewhat unsatisfied. But for the many readers in between those two ends of the spectrum, it is a great read. Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-00-757558-9
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