Kirkus Reviews QR Code


An Introduction to Skyscrapers and Their Architects

by Didier Cornille ; illustrated by Didier Cornille

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61689-270-8
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

This engaging, immediate and immersive book introduces the eight men behind eight towering, sky-scraping structures.

They range in age from Gustave Eiffel’s eponymous tower (1889) through William Van Alen’s Chrysler Building (1930) and Fazlur Rahman Khan’s John Hancock Center (1969) to Adrian Devaun Smith’s ingenious, wind-resistant Burj Khalifa (2010) in Dubai—now the world’s tallest building. The text in this French import is pared down to informative essentials, and it reflects a sophisticated, seamless, accessible design sensibility. Each architect (all men) is briefly introduced, and then his iconographic building is explored over successive pages. Cornille favors simple line drawings with just hints of color and plenty of white space. The book’s distinctive look echoes the effects achieved by AutoCAD—today’s computer-assisted architectural design tool of choice. The trim size also telegraphs and quickly signifies the subject. One of a two-book suite, it is taller than it is wide. Its companion, Who Built That? Modern Houses: An Introduction to Modern Houses and Their Architects, enjoys a landscape format. Happily, Houses also employs a similar approach to its taller cousin: 10 architecturally significant houses by 10 notable architects (Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Courbusier, Rem Koolhaas, etc.).

With its companion, this handsome, accessible book is particularly welcome, enhancing subject diversity with its refreshing treatment, and all the more notable for its clean simplicity.

(footnotes) (Informational picture book. 8-14)