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"Why Buildings Stand Up"
by Mario Salvadori

Review by John Gabree

Most of us cross bridges and visit or inhabit sometimes extraordinary buildings without ever wondering what keeps the damn things up. In this fascinating exploration of "the strength of architecture," Mario Salvadori leads us to an understanding of how architecture works and of the sometimes astonishing confluence of structural engineering and esthetics that produces such masterpieces as the Brooklyn Bridge, Hagia Sophia and the Eiffel Tower.

Employing easily understood and often quite beautiful line drawings, Salvadori traces architecture from prehistory through the Pyramids and Gothic cathedrals to sports arenas and hanging- dish roofs. It is a commonplace that every structure, from home to church to school to jail, sends a message to the onlooker. Salvadori argues that "structure too has a message of its own: it can be a message of strength or elegance, of waste or economy, of ugliness or beauty." Luckily, these days in architecture the consumer is being consulted in the design stage of product development. By paying attention to the laws of structure, the active citizen-consumer can affect the development of cities, buildings, parks and monuments. (1982)

Buy Why Buildings Stand Up by Mario Salvadori



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