Whole Earth Review


Structures. – book reviews

J. Baldwin

When critics refer to the “built environment,” they rarely mean the monuments to vision, hubris and folly celebrated in this fascinating book. The selection is eclectic and purposefully ordered: Socialist Realism sculpture is constrasted with the Statue of Liberty; the world’s largest solar collector. Marvel at the Panama Canal, the Great Wall of China, tombs, pyramids, towers, bridges, fortresses, ancient and ultramodern palaces — even the gigantic underground factory where Hitler produced V2 rockets. The promise of the book’s subtitle — “The Way Things Are Built” — is kept, but in a brief, cursory way marred by careless editing and the author’s occasionally snide asides. Nonetheless, it’s hard to put down. The terrific photographs and diagrams keep you turning the pages, each new spread sure to be something you didn’t know or have never seen before.

COPYRIGHT 1991 Point Foundation

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group