Synopses & Reviews
Why this shape and not that? Why steel instead of concrete or stone? Why put it here and not over there? These are the kinds of questions that David Macaulay asks himself when he observes an architectural wonder. These questions take him back to the basic process of design from which all structures begin, from the realization of a need for the structure to the struggles of the engineers and designers to map out and create the final construction.
As only he can, David Macaulay engages readersand#8217; imaginations and gets them thinking about structures they see and use every day and#8212; bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, domes, and dams. In Building Big he focuses on the connections between the planning and design problems and the solutions that are finally reached. Whether a structure is imposing or inspiring, he shows us that common sense and logic play just as important a part in architecture as imagination and technology do. As always, Macaulay inspires readers of all ages to look at their world in a new way.
"If ever a book were destined to inspire a future generation of engineers and designers, it would be this volume, a companion to the PBS series of the same name. From Istanbul to New York City, San Francisco to the Firth of Forth, Macaulay circles the globe and spans the centuries to provide a fascinating peek at the inner workings of bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, domes and dams, each arranged by section with a brief overview. As he delves into the history as well as the mechanics of each project an all-star lineup of engineering icons that includes the Pantheon, Hoover Dam, the Channel Tunnel and the Chrysler Building Macaulay is in his element, nimbly deploying his gift for making the arcane accessible. For instance, he describes Brunel's shield, a tedious but successful tunnel-boring aid used under the Thames in the early 19th century, as 'a bit like a platoon of creaking Star Wars robots leaning against each other for support as they inch their way nervously through the muck.' Macaulay constructs the volume as thoughtfully as an engineer, explaining in his opening note on bridges, 'They are in a sense three-dimensional diagrams of the work they do, and this makes them ideal subjects with which to begin.' Each section connects to the next with intelligence and humor (e.g., his opening to the tunnels section: 'While bridges, skyscrapers, domes and even a few dams enjoy varying amounts of popularity, I think it's fairly safe to say that only an engineer could love a tunnel'). His trademark cutaway views and diagrams also illuminate and instruct as they illustrate. Readers will not only enjoy an intimate look at specific structures, but ultimately come away with a broad overview of how modern engineering evolved. Macaulay fosters in readers a keen appreciation for the role of logic, imagination and perseverance in vaulting over impediments and bringing a project to completion. All ages. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Now available in paperback--Macaulay's companion book to the 2000 PBS series that encourages readers to look at their world in a new way. Full color.
About the Author
David Macaulay is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books have sold millions of copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Macaulay has garnered numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.