WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A BUILDING by Forrest Wilson

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A BUILDING

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The interesting idea of ""translat[ing] the basic laws of building into physical feeling""--i.e. into bodily stresses and strains--is executed ingeniously but not always soundly. Among the weak points are walls: ""It feels like multiple SQUASH to be a wall, because being wider and longer than a column, walls carry more of the building's weight to the ground""--which is true only of bearing walls and therefore not of most modern construction. Further, the uneven settling of the Leaning Tower of Pisa isn't accounted for by the text or the pictures; neither were pyramids pyramidal simply because ""buildings must get stronger near the bottom."" Perhaps most dubious are the arches, the corbeled or false arch and the true arch--the former because it is useless for carrying purposes (as illustrated), being chiefly employed in vaulting; the latter because it is properly composed of keystone and voussoirs topped by horizontal rows of bricks or blocks, not of radiating segments as shown. A final cavil about the flying buttresses--which were not so much braces for the wall as designed to transmit the specific thrust of an interior arch or vault. Proof that architecture can be funny--too bad this doesn't shape up.

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday