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The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond    by Patrick Dillon & Stephen Biesty order for
Story of Buildings
by Patrick Dillon
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2014 (2014)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Featuring beautifully detailed spreads and flaps that showcase various magnificent structures which were constructed down through the ages, The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond celebrates man's ingenuity and discusses how some marvelous structures came together.

Over 25 individual buildings are showcased by the author and they range from ancient temples, the Parthenon, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Taj Mahal to London's Crystal Palace, New York City's Chrysler Building and the Pompidou Center in Paris.

Patrick Dillon begins the book by providing an overview of domestic structures. The reader learns how different materials (wood, stone and brick) were utilized to make homes. He also shows how various cultures built their homes out of ice (igloos), animal hides, mud, and other materials that were on hand.

Single family dwellings gave way to townhouses, apartments and high-rises and other structures that could accommodate more people. As cities appeared, other buildings, such as train stations, factories, churches and retail outlets, became as important as the places where people lived.

After giving the reader a sense of how buildings developed to accommodate various human needs, the author then focuses on specific types of structures and some of the iconic landmarks that exist to this day. This illustrated narrative history not only offers information about the buildings and their uses but also the remarkable people who were behind their construction.

Scattered throughout these chapters are sidebars that offer information on classical orders (various types of columns), arches and domes, cantilevers, reinforced concrete, and types of skyscrapers.

Stephen Biesty, the book's illustrator, writes, 'I wanted each cross-section to be a unique hand-drawn dissection that revealed and explained the structure of a famous building and showed how people live inside it in miniature detail.'

This combination of useful information and extra large illustrations will not only appeal to young readers who are interested in architecture but also adults. Every library (school and community) should have a copy of this reference book and it would be a valuable addition to any home collection as well.

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