- Published: 02/09/2010
- ISBN: 9781846271281
- 448 pages
The Secret Lives Of Buildings
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 reimagining 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 explores 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
Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times
[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
From the Same Author
The Memory Palace
The rooms we live in are always more than just four walls. As we decorate these spaces and fill them with objects and friends, they shape our lives and become the backdrop to our sense of self. One day, the houses will be gone, but even then, traces of the stories and the memories they contained will remain. In this dazzling work of imaginative re-construction, Edward Hollis takes us to the sites of five great spaces now lost to history and pieces together the fragments he finds there to re-create their vanished chambers. From Rome’s Palatine to the old Palace of Westminster and the Petit Trianon at Versailles, and from the sets of the MGM studios in Hollywood to the pavilions of the Crystal Palace and his own grandmother’s sitting room, The Memory Palace is a glittering treasure trove of luminous forgotten places and the people who, for a short time, made them their home.