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The Secret Lives of Buildings : From the Parthenon to the Wailing Wall in Thirteen Stories - Edward Hollis

The Secret Lives of Buildings : From the Parthenon to the Wailing Wall in Thirteen Stories

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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





ISBN: 9781846271274
ISBN-10: 1846271274
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 388
Published: 1st October 2009
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.0 x 15.9  x 3.7
Weight (kg): 0.744
Edition Number: 1