The plans are drawn up, a site is chosen, and foundations are dug: a building comes into being with the expectation that it will stay put and stay for ever. But a building is a capricious thing: it is inhabited and changed, and its existence is a tale of constant and curious transformation.
In this radical re-imagination of architectural history, Edward Hollis tells the stories of thirteen buildings, beginning with the 'once upon a time' when they first appeared, through the years of appropriation, ruin and renovation, and ending with a temporary 'ever after'.
In spell-binding prose, Hollis follows his buildings through time and space to reveal the hidden histories of the Parthenon and the Alhambra, visiting churches that have been carried through the air by angels and ancient palaces recreated by vainglorious dictators, and exploring the monuments of our own day, from souvenir chunks of the Berlin Wall to the fibre-glass theme parks of Las Vegas.
About the Author
Born in London in 1971, Edward Hollis studied Architecture at the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh before joining a practice, working first on ruins and follies in the lagoons of Sri Lanka and then on Victorian villas, old breweries and town halls in Scotland. He now teaches at Edinburgh College of Art and this is his first book.
"Scintillating? Every so often, works on the building art capture the public imagination. Now Tracy Kidder and Witold Rybczynski are joined by Edward Hollis, whose new book, "The Secret Lives of Buildings," offers an advanced seminar for graduates of Rybczynski's introductory courses? Provides the ground for a reinvigorated public discourse on the role of architecture in contemporary society? Worthy of wide consideration."
- Martin Filler, "The New York Review of Books" "What a happy tingle of discovery to come across a book that differs sharply from all the others in its field!? Hollis thinks with such originality and writes with such flair that he is a pleasure to read."
-Stanley Abercrombie, "The American Scholar""" "A fantasia from the real and the imagined? An unusual sort of speculative history, almost a work of experimental fiction. The buildings, which are its nominal subjects, are onl
Table of Contents
The Architect’s Dream
The Parthenon, Athens
In Which a Virgin Is Ruined The Basilica of San Marco, Venice
In Which a Prince Steals Four Horses and an Empire Ayasofya, Istanbul
In Which a Sultan Casts a Spell and Moves the Center of the World The Santa Casa of Loreto
The Wondrous Flitting of the Holy House Gloucester Cathedral
In Which a Dead Body Brings a Building to Life The Alhambra, Granada
In Which Two Cousins Marry Each Other The Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini
In Which a Scholar Translates a Temple Sans Souci, Potsdam
In Which Nothing Happens at All Notre Dame de Paris
In Which the Temple of Reason Is Restored The Hulme Crescents, Manchester
In Which the Prophecies of the Future Are Fulfilled The Berlin Wall
In Which History Comes to an End The Venetian, Las Vegas
In Which History Is So, Like, Over The Western Wall, Jerusalem
In Which Nothing, and Everything, Has Changed
Number Of Pages: 388
Published: 1st October 2009
Publisher: Granta Books
Dimensions (cm): 24.0 x 15.9 x 3.7
Weight (kg): 0.744