Before becoming a city, St. Petersburg was a utopian vision in the mind of its founder, Peter the Great. Conceived by him as Russia's "window to the West," it evolved into a remarkably harmonious assemblage of baroque, rococo, neoclassical, and art nouveau buildings that reflect his taste and that of his successors, including Anna I, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, and Paul I.Crisscrossed by rivers and canals, this "Venice of the North," as Goethe dubbed it, is of unique beauty. Never before has that beauty been captured as eloquently as on the pages of this sumptuous volume. From the stately mansions lining the fabled Nevsky Prospekt to the magnificent palaces of the tsars on the outskirts of the city, including Peterhof, Tsarskoe Selo, Oranienbaum, Gatchina, and Pavlovsk, photographer Alexander Orloff's portrait of St. Petersburg does full justice to the vision of its founder and namesake. The text, by art historian Dmitri Shvidkovsky, chronicles the history of the city's planning and construction from Peter the Great's time to the reign of the last tsar, Nicholas II. Anyone who has ever visited--or dreamed of visiting--the city of "white nights" will find St. Petersburg irresistible.
In this compelling work, Brian Ladd examines the ongoing conflicts radiating from the remarkable fusion of architecture, history, and national identity in Berlin. Ladd surveys the urban landscape, excavating its ruins, contemplating its buildings and memorials, and carefully deconstructing the public debates and political controversies emerging from its past."Written in a clear and elegant style, The Ghosts of Berlin is not just another colorless architectural history of the German capital. . . . Mr. Ladd's book is a superb guide to this process of urban self-definition, both past and present."--Katharina Thote, Wall Street Journal "If a book can have the power to change a public debate, then The Ghosts of Berlin is such a book. Among the many new books about Berlin that I have read, Brian Ladd's is certainly the most impressive. . . . Ladd's approach also owes its success to the fact that he is a good storyteller. His history of Berlin's architectural successes and failures reads entertainingly like a detective novel."--Peter Schneider, New Republic " Ladd's] well-written and well-illustrated book amounts to a brief history of the city as well as a guide to its landscape."--Anthony Grafton, New York Review of Books
Casablanca is a city of international renown, not least because of its urban structures and features. Celebrated by colonial writers, filmed by Hollywood, magnet for Europeans and Moroccans, Casablanca is above all an exceptional collection of urban spaces, houses, and gardens. While it is true that Casablanca developed as a port city well before the introduction of the French in 1907, it unquestionably ranks among the most significant urban creations of the twentieth century, attracting remarkable teams of architects and planners. Their commissions came from clients who were interested in innovation and modernization, thereby fostering the emergence of Casablanca as a laboratory for legislative, technological, and visual experimentation.
Having studied the city for ten years, Jean-Louis Cohen and Monique Eleb trace, from the late nineteenth century to the early 1960s, the rebirth of a once-forgotten port and its metamorphosis into a teeming metropolis that is an amalgam of Mediterranean culture from Tunisia, Algeria, Spain, and Italy. The extensive presentation of the significant buildings of this hybrid city -- where, alongside the French, Muslim and Jewish Moroccan patrons commissioned provocative buildings -- is drawn from French and Moroccan archives, including hundreds of previously unpublished photographs. Cohen and Eleb focus as much on Casablanca's diverse social fabric as its urban spaces, chronicling the clients, inhabitants, and inventive architects who comprise the human component of an essential yet overlooked episode of modernism.
The rivalry between the brilliant seventeenth-century Italian architects Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini is the stuff of legend. Possessed of enormous talent and ambition, these two artists -- one trained as a sculptor, the other as a stonecutter -- met as contemporaries in the building yards of St. Peter's in Rome and ended their lives as bitter enemies. Over the course of their careers they became the most celebrated architects of their era, designing some of the most beautiful buildings in the world and transforming the city of Rome.
The Genius in the Design is an extraordinary tale of how these two men plotted, schemed, and intrigued to get the better of each other. Full of dramatic tension and great insight into personalities, acclaimed writer Jake Morrissey's engrossing and impeccably researched account also shows that this legendary rivalry defined the Baroque style that immediately succeeded the Renaissance and created the spectacular Roman cityscape of today.
Almost exactly the same age -- Bernini was born at the end of 1598, Borromini nine months later -- they were as alike and as different as any two men could be, each a potent combination of passion and enterprise, energy and imperfection. Bernini was a precocious talent who as a youth caught the attention of Pope Paul V and became Rome's most celebrated artist, whose patrons included the wealthiest families in Europe. The city's greatest sculptor -- the creator of such masterpieces as Apollo and Daphne and the Ecstasy of St. Teresa -- Bernini would also have been Rome's preeminent architect had it not been for Francesco Borromini, the one man whose talent and virtuosity rivaled his own. In contrast to Bernini's easy grace, Borromini was an introvert with a fiery temper who bristled when anyone interfered with his vision; his temperament alienated him from prospective patrons and precipitated his tragic end.
Like Mozart and Salieri, these two masters were inextricably linked, their dazzling work prodding the other to greater achievement while taking merciless advantage of each other's missteps. The Genius in the Design is their story, a fascinating narrative of beauty and tragedy marked at turns by personal animosity and astonishing artistic achievement.
This collaboration between two distinguished architects and former colleagues is a celebration of admired places and a thoughtful consideration of the role that design has played in giving these places their memorable qualities. It is also an invitation to readers to inhabit the chambers of the book with their own imaginations, to join in the making of the Memory Palace proposed. The authors' informal and anecdotal style extends to the illustrations - the freehand travel sketches, line drawings, and water-colours of places they have remembered and enjoyed.
Throughout the early Victorian period, American domestic architecture was dominated by the ideas and designs of Andrew Jackson Downing (1815‒52). Downing, who was America's first important landscape architect, was instrumental in establishing a well-styled, efficient, yet low-priced house that offered many features that previously only mansions could provide. His designs were widely spread both by his books and by periodical republication.
Downing's most important work was his Architecture of Country Houses (1850), which passed through nine editions by 1866 and served as the stylebook for tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of homes throughout the Eastern United States. It contains 34 designs for model homes (country house in this context simply meaning a separate house, as opposed to a town house), with elevations, floor plans, and discussion of design, construction, and function. The English country house of the period is the ground style, upon which other styles are overlaid; designs showing Gothic, French, Italian, and Elizabethan styles allow the user considerable choice. In many ways these designs form one of the first steps toward the modern house, with avowed emphasis on function and convenience, expression of personality, Catholicism of taste, and concord with environment. Decoration, of course, was not frowned upon.
Most valuable today is the author's full, thorough discussion of many other aspects of the early Victorian house: aesthetic concerns of architecture, adjustment to locality, materials, construction, costs, floor plan, roofing, shingling, painting, chimneys, and fireplaces, interior woodwork, wallpapering, decoration, furnishing, ventilation, sanitation, central heating, and landscaping. Since most of the houses concerned have been destroyed or altered, and practically no living situations have been preserved, this book is indispensable to everyone interested in early American culture, interior decoration, restoration, or Victorian architecture. It is far and away the richest source for the period.
A strikingly original, beautifully narrated history of Western architecture and the cultural transformations that it represents Concrete, marble, steel, brick: little else made by human hands seems as stable, as immutable, as a building. Yet the life of any structure is neither fixed nor timeless. Outliving their original contexts and purposes, buildings are forced to adapt to each succeeding age. To survive, they must become shape-shifters. In an inspired refashioning of architectural history, Edward Hollis recounts more than a dozen stories of such metamorphosis, highlighting the way in which even the most familiar structures all change over time into "something rich and strange." The Parthenon, that epitome of a ruined temple, was for centuries a working church and then a mosque; the cathedral of Notre Dame was "restored" to a design that none of its original makers would have recognized. Remains of the Berlin Wall, meanwhile, which was once gleefully smashed and bulldozed, are now treated as precious relics. Altered layer by layer with each generation, buildings become eloquent chroniclers of the civilizations they've witnessed. Their stories, as beguiling and captivating as folktales, span the gulf of history.
Today, there are more than twenty complete zodiacs in Washington, D.C., each one pointing to an extraordinary mystery. David Ovason, who has studied these astrological devices for ten years, now reveals why they have been placed in such abundance in the center of our nation's capital and explains their interconnections. His richly illustrated text tells the story of how Washington, from its foundation in 1791, was linked with the zodiac, with the meaning of certain stars, and with a hidden cosmological symbolism that he uncovers here for the first time.
Fascinating and thoroughly researched, The Secret Architecture of Our Nation 's Capital is an engrossing book that raises provocative questions and otters complex insights into the meanings behind the mysterious symbols in Washington.