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Monday, August 30, 2004

Book Review: Great Buildings of the World

Great Buildings Of the World by Time Inc
Time, 2004
Paperback, 176 pages

Subtitled, "The World's Most Influential, Inspiring And Astonishing Structures," this special issue of Time capitalizes on the popularity of architecture since Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. In addition to featuring portfolios of Gehry and his contemporaries Santiago Calatrava and Norman Foster, the $11, 170-ad-free-page special is also a decent primer on architectural history, from the Pyramids to the present. Breaking buildings down into easily digestible categories - Where We Worship, Where We Live, Where We Work, etc. - each chapter traces the evolution of structures by building type by highlighting important buildings in different eras.The wide range of building styles is refreshing, with obvious pieces of architecture like the Taj Mahal, Sydney Opera House and the Getty Center included with less-obvious gems like Tibet's Potala Palace, the Victor Horta Museum, and Canada's The Ice Hotel. With plenty of color photographs and short texts that tends to focus on the stories behind the buildings over the formal aspects of the architecture, this special issue (on newsstands until November 8, 2004) makes a good coffee table book for every armchair architect.

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