The Secret Lives of Buildings: From the Parthenon to the Vegas Strip in Thirteen Stories
The plans are drawn up, a site is chosen, foundations are dug: a building comes into being with the expectation that it will stay put and stay for ever. But a building is a capricious thing: it is inhabited and changed, and its existence is a tale of constant and curious transformation. In this radical re-imagination of architectural history, Edward Hollis tells the stories of thirteen buildings, beginning with the 'once upon a time' when they first appeared, through the years of appropriation, ruin and renovation, and ending with a temporary 'ever after'. In spell-binding prose, Hollis follows his buildings through time and space to reveal the hidden histories of the Parthenon and the Alhambra, Gloucester Cathedral and Haghia Sofia, Sans Souci and Notre Dame de Paris, Malatesta's Tempio and Loreto, and exploring landmarks of our own time, from Hulme's legendary crescents to the Berlin Wall and the fibre-glass theme parks of Las Vegas.
'Hollis is magical on the layers of myth and history in the classical world - this is an engaging, erudite and readable book.' Financial Times 'A beautifully wrought book: a kind of illuminated manuscript with words taking the place of pictures - Here are wondrous stories writ in stone, and Edward Hollis has written about them very well indeed.' Guardian '[A] tremendous book - Hollis recounts the stories of 13 structures with passion and panache - His book [is] a rare thing: non-fiction you can reread.' Scotland on Sunday 'Accessible and ambitious - Hollis has the gift of making these buildings seem real and alive.' The Times