Travels in the History of Architecture

From the publisher:

The twentieth-century architect Mies van der Rohe once declared that ‘Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together.’ In Travels in the History of Architecture renowned architectural writer Robert Harbison looks closely at such bricks, taking us on a journey through the great themes and movements of architecture, from antiquity to the present day. Using his own experience of the physical fabric of buildings, Harbison interprets the conceptions of the original architects and makers, pointing out carefully crafted detail and inspiring form along the way. Beginning with the great temples and tombs of the Egyptians, and the monuments and shrines of Greek and Roman architecture, and concluding with the museums of the twenty-first century, each chapter of Harbison’s Travels focuses on a moment in architectural history, with chapters devoted to, among others, Byzantine, Baroque, Mannerism, Historicism and Functionalism. His free-ranging approach draws in references from history, literature and art to illuminate his theme: from a poem praising marble decoration to help us understand how its makers saw Hagia Sophia, to a French Rococo painting to probe the meaning of an English landscape garden. Approachable, idiosyncratic yet authoritative, Harbison’s account works equally well as an enlivening introduction to the history of architecture, or as a refreshingly different take on familiar territory for those who are ready to see old buildings in energizing new ways.

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