Religious Architecture
The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East
The Transnational Mosque
Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 1469621169
Kishwar Rizvi, drawing on the multifaceted history of the Middle East, offers a richly illustrated analysis of the role of transnational mosques in the construction of contemporary Muslim identity. As Rizvi explains, transnational mosques are structures built through the support of both government sponsorship, whether in the home country or abroad, and diverse transnational networks. By concentrating on mosques--especially those built at the turn of the twenty-first century--as the epitome of Islamic architecture, Rizvi elucidates their significance as sites for both the validation of religious praxis and the construction of national and religious ideologies.

Rizvi delineates the transnational religious, political, economic, and architectural networks supporting mosques in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as in countries within their spheres of influence, such as Pakistan, Syria, and Turkmenistan. She discerns how the buildings feature architectural designs that traverse geographic and temporal distances, gesturing to far-flung places and times for inspiration. Digging deeper, however, Rizvi reveals significant diversity among the mosques--whether in a Wahabi-Sunni kingdom, a Shi&
8219;i theocratic government, or a republic balancing secularism and moderate Islam--that repudiates representations of Islam as a monolith. Mosques reveal alliances and contests for influence among multinational corporations, nations, and communities of belief, Rizvi shows, and her work demonstrates how the built environment is a critical resource for understanding culture and politics in the contemporary Middle East and the Islamic world.

Universe of Stone: Chartres Cathedral and the Invention of the Gothic
Universe of Stone
Chartres Cathedral and the Invention of the Gothic
Paperback      ISBN: 006115430x

Chartres Cathedral, south of Paris, is revered as one of the most beautiful and profound works of art in the Western canon. But what did it mean to those who constructed it in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries--and why was it built at such immense height and with such glorious play of light, in the soaring manner we now call Gothic?

In this eminently fascinating work, author Philip Ball makes sense of the visual and emotional power of Chartres and brilliantly explores how its construction--and the creation of other Gothic cathedrals--represented a profound and dramatic shift in the way medieval thinkers perceived their relationship with their world. Beautifully illustrated and written, filled with astonishing insight, Universe of Stone embeds the magnificent cathedral in the culture of the twelfth century--its schools of philosophy and science, its trades and technologies, its politics and religious debates--enabling us to view this ancient architectural marvel with fresh eyes.

The Vatican Heresy: Bernini and the Building of the Hermetic Temple of the Sun
The Vatican Heresy
Bernini and the Building of the Hermetic Temple of the Sun
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 1591431786

Reveals how the largest Sun Temple in the world, built according to Hermetic principles, is located at one of Christianity's holiest sites: the Vatican

- Shows how famous Renaissance philosophers and scientists called for a Hermetic reformation of Christianity by building a magical Temple of the Sun in Rome

- Explains how the Vatican architect Bernini designed St. Peter's Square to reflect heliocentric and Hermetic principles

- Reveals how the design was masterminded by Bernini, Jesuit scholars, the mystical Queen Christine of Sweden, and several popes

In 16th century Italy, in the midst of the Renaissance, two powerful movements took hold. The first, the Hermetic Movement, was inspired by an ancient set of books housed in the library of Cosimo de' Medici and written by the Egyptian sage Hermes Trismegistus. The movement expounded the return of the "true religion of the world" based on a form of natural magic that could draw down the powers of the heavens and incorporate them into statues and physical structures. The other movement, the Heliocentric Movement launched by Copernicus, was a direct challenge to the Vatican's biblical interpretation of a geocentric world system. Declared a heresy by the Pope, those who promoted it risked the full force of the Inquisition.

Exploring the meeting point of these two movements, authors Robert Bauval and Chiara Hohenzollern reveal how the most outspoken and famous philosophers, alchemists, and scientists of the Renaissance, such as Giordano Bruno and Marsilio Ficino, called for a Hermetic reformation of the Christian religion by building a magical utopic city, an architectural version of the heliocentric system. Using contemporary documents and the latest cutting-edge theses, the authors show that this Temple of the Sun was built in Rome, directly in front of the Vatican's Basilica of St. Peter. They explain how the Vatican architect Bernini designed St. Peter's Square to reflect the esoteric principles of the Hermetica and how the square is a detailed representation of the heliocentric system.

Revealing the magical architectural plan masterminded by the Renaissance's greatest minds, including Bernini, Jesuit scholars, Queen Christine of Sweden, and several popes, the authors expose the ultimate heresy of all time blessed by the Vatican itself.
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
Paperback      ISBN: 0674061977

Read the Bldg Blog interview with Mary Beard about the Wonders of the World series(Part I and Part II)

Westminster Abbey is the most complex church in existence. National cathedral, coronation church, royal mausoleum, burial place of poets, resting place of the great and of the Unknown Warrior, former home of parliament, backdrop to the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales--this rich and extraordinary building unites many functions.

Westminster Abbey is both an appreciation of an architectural masterpiece and an exploration of the building's shifting meanings. We hear the voices of those who have described its forms, moods, and ceremonies, from Shakespeare and Voltaire to Dickens and Henry James; we see how rulers have made use of it, from medieval kings to modern prime ministers. In a highly original book, classicist and cultural historian Richard Jenkyns teaches us to look at this microcosm of history with new eyes.

Wooden Church Architecture of the Russian North: Regional Schools and Traditions (14th - 19th Centuries)
Wooden Church Architecture of the Russian North
Regional Schools and Traditions (14th - 19th Centuries)
Hardcover      ISBN: 1138852902

The book presents a broad panoramic overview of church architecture in the Russian North between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries. While it is inevitably overshadowed by the imperial splendour of the country's capital cities, this unique phenomenon is regarded as the most distinctive national expression of traditional Russian artistic culture and at the same time as a significant part of humanity's worldwide architectural heritage.

The chief intention of the book is to present the regionally specific features of the wooden churches of the Russian North, which vary from area to area for local natural or historical reasons. This approach touches upon the very important questions of the typology and classification of the multiplicity of architectural forms. The "regional view" entails giving clear definitions of the ambiguous terms "architectural school" and "tradition", explaining the origins and shaping impulses for the different regional clusters of objects.

Structurally the book presents a history of the development of wooden church architecture in the Russian North and then follows the key points of the mediaeval Russian expansion along the waterways from Novgorod into the North - he Svir' River, Lake Onego, the town of Kargopol' and the River Onega, the White Sea, the Rivers Dvina, Pinega and Mezen' - those areas that still retain the most splendid pieces of Russian regional wooden church architecture. The study is based on field research and provides an up-to-date, multi-faceted view of Russian wooden architecture.