ROUND BUILDINGS, SQUARE BUILDINGS, AND BUILDINGS THAT WIGGLE LIKE A FISH by Philip M. Isaacson

ROUND BUILDINGS, SQUARE BUILDINGS, AND BUILDINGS THAT WIGGLE LIKE A FISH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Isaacson's wonderfully composed color photos, which make creative use of light and points of view, are the glory of this attractive introduction to some of the world's most beautiful architecture. There are enough strengths here to make the reader forgive its substantial weaknesses. Organized by such topics as walls (thick vs. thin, in appearance and actuality), ""Old Bones and New Bones"" (beams and inner structure), and ""Looking Up"" (""A roof may slip quietly into the sky as skyscrapers do, slice into it as Chartres does, or even seem to push the sky aside""), the book is thoroughly cross-referenced, so that each example serves several inspired comparisons; the wide format also makes it possible to juxtapose pictures from different pages. The author' conveys his genuine enthusiasm; his ideas are creative and poetic, even though his phrasing of them is sometimes clumsy (including his title), and he is given to categorical pronouncements (King's College Chapel has ""the finest Late Gothic vaulting in existence') and overstatements (even St. Peter's will not last ""forever""). The brief text is supplemented by appended notes, resulting in uncluttered format but necessitating a lot of flipping back and forth for basic information on dates, architects, and locations, And an index would have been helpful. Still, a beautiful, inspiring book.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1988
Page count: 121pp
Publisher: Knopf