Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What We're Reading: The Secret Lives of Buildings

The Secret Lives of Buildings by Edward Hollis is a fascinating and dreamy tour of thirteen buildings. I say "dreamy" because it often takes on the structure of a fairy tale, with clever repetition of phrases and the occasional use of "Once upon a time..." The story of the iconic Parthenon weaves itself into the biographies of other buildings - structures that have had varied uses, whose architectural styles may have evolved in the course of their creation, and whose walls have sometimes brought about conflict among the people who fought to possess them. It is a truly unique book. My only wish would be for more illustrations or photographs; it's been about a decade since I studied art and architecture and some terms require a dictionary to remember. Even so, it is well worth the read.

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