Once There Were Castles: Lost Mansions and Estates of the Twin Cities


Larry Millett - 2011
    Paul. Now, in Once There Were Castles, he offers a richly illustrated look at another world of ghosts in our midst: the lost mansions and estates of the Twin Cities.Nobody can say for sure how many lost mansions haunt the Twin Cities, but at least five hundred can be accounted for in public records and archives. In Minneapolis and St. Paul, entire neighborhoods of luxurious homes have disappeared, virtually without a trace. Many grand estates that once spread out over hundreds of acres along the shores of Lake Minnetonka are also gone. The greatest of these lost houses often had astonishingly short lives: the lavish Charles Gates mansion in Minneapolis survived only nineteen years, and Norman Kittson’s sprawling castle on the site of the St. Paul Cathedral stood for barely more than two decades. Railroad and freeway building, commercial and institutional expansion, fires, and financial disasters all claimed their share of mansions; others succumbed to their own extravagance, becoming too costly to maintain once their original owners died.The stories of these grand houses are, above all else, the stories of those who built and lived in them—from the fantastic saga of Marion Savage to the continent-spanning conquests of James J. Hill, to the all-but-forgotten tragedy of Olaf Searle, a poor immigrant turned millionaire who found and lost a dream in the middle of Lake Minnetonka. These and many other mansion builders poured all their dreams, desires, and obsessions into extravagant homes designed to display wealth and solidify social status in a culture of ever-fluctuating class distinctions.The first book to take an in-depth look at the history of the Twin Cities’ mansions, Once There Were Castles presents ninety lost mansions and estates, organized by neighborhood and illustrated with photographs and drawings. An absorbing read for Twin Cities residents and a crucial addition to the body of work on the region’s history, Once There Were Castles brings these “ghost mansions” back to life.

Vanderbilt's Biltmore


Robert Wernick - 2012
    But ambition quickly took wing. The house swelled to 225 rooms and became - until 2012 when it was topped by the home of a billionaire in Mumbai, India – the world’s largest residence ever built for a private citizen. Here’s the story of the house that Vanderbilt built - from the gardens by Frederick Law Olmsted to the John Singer Sargent portraits that adorn its walls.

Chicago Then and Now


Elizabeth McNulty - 2000
    Chicago's change and growth over the last century is captured in this photographic history. Modern color photos sit side by side with black and white archival photographs. Every important building, avenue, neighborhood, and point of interest is documented. It covers all of Chicago's landmarks from Navy Pier to the Stockyards and from the Southside all the way up the Magnificent Mile. Take in a game at Wrigley Field, then take it all in from the top of the Sear's Tower. The Water Tower and all the other architectural features that make Chicago great are also included.

Rice's Architectural Primer


Matthew Rice - 2009
    Its aim is to enable the reader to recognise, understand and date any British building.As Matthew Rice says, ‘Once you can speak any language, conversation can begin, but without it communications can only be brief and brutish. The same is the case with Architecture: an inability to describe the component parts of a building leaves one tongue-tied and unable to begin to discuss what is or is not exciting, dull or peculiar about it.' RICE'S ARCHITECTURAL PRIMER will explain the language of architecture. With it in your hand, pocket or car, buildings will break down beguilingly into their component parts, ready for inspection and discussion. There will be no more references to that curly bit on top of the thing with the square protrusions. Ungainly and inept descriptions will be a thing of the past and, fluent in the world of volutes, hood moulds, lobed architraves and bucrania, you will be able to leave a cathedral or country house with as much to talk about as a film or play.RICE'S ARCHITECTURAL PRIMER starts with an explanation of the basic ‘Grammar' of buildings: elevation, plan, roof, gable and eave. This will enable the reader to better make use of what is to follow. It will also cover the Orders of Architecture – Doric, Tuscan, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite – so that the vital basics of Classicism are covered. Following this is the ‘Vocabulary'. This will be a chronological reference section covering, period by period, the windows, doors and doorcases, columns, chimneys, arches, balustrades and pediments that make up the built environment.

Havana: A Subtropical Delirium


Mark Kurlansky - 2017
    Part cultural history, part travelogue, with recipes, historic engravings, photographs, and Kurlansky's own pen-and-ink drawings throughout, Havana celebrates the city's singular music, literature, baseball, and food; its five centuries of outstanding, neglected architecture; and its extraordinary blend of cultures.Like all great cities, Havana has a rich history that informs the vibrant place it is today--from the native Taino to Columbus's landing, from Cuba's status as a U.S. protectorate to Batista's dictatorship and Castro's revolution, from Soviet presence to the welcoming of capitalist tourism. Havana is a place of extremes: a beautifully restored colonial city whose cobblestone streets pass through areas that have not been painted or repaired since the revolution.Kurlansky shows Havana through the eyes of Cuban writers, such as Alejo Carpentier and José Martí, and foreigners, including Graham Greene and Hemingway. He introduces us to Cuban baseball and its highly opinionated fans; the city's music scene, alive with the rhythm of Son; its culinary legacy. Once the only country Americans couldn't visit, Cuba is now opening to us, as is Havana, not only by plane or boat but also through Mark Kurlansky's multilayered and electrifying portrait of the long-elusive city.

Boring Postcards


Martin Parr - 1999
    Stale, often dully composed images of corporate headquarters, roadways, bus-station parking lots, convalescent-home dayrooms, hospital cafeterias, and undistinguished motels. But look carefully, and the cards--culled from the collection of artist Martin Parr--are filled with fascinating little details. As a group, they offer readers the interesting opportunity to puzzle over the collective psyche of the people of the 1950s and '60s (the approximate vintage of the images) who were inclined to create, buy, and send these cards. What, one can't help but wonder, could be so scintillating about a room at the Fortes Excelsior Motor Lodge near Pontefract, Yorkshire? The singular force of the orange bedspreads, carpet, drapes, and walls punctuated by the inexplicably white leather upholstered panel attached to the wall unit behind each of the room's beds. The exterior of the Mirfield Modern School, shot at a distance and unimaginatively placed dead in the center of the gray sky and green playing field? The building's Bauhaus-like lines. The tarmac of Luton Airport in London? The pink jumbo jet being towed into the frame from the left. The uniformly shaped trailers parked at the Freshwater Caravan Camp? The handwritten X that presumably marks the sender's location. The Chalets at Llandanwg? Arguably, not much. The few hundred images here, unfettered by any explanatory text, offer a far from dull diversion for any readers interested in mid-century design or the mundane details of daily life. --Jordana Moskowitz

1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die: The World's Architectural Masterpieces


Mark Irving - 2007
    A fascinating mixture of familiar landmarks and little-known gems.

The Disney Mountains: Imagineering at Its Peak


Jason Surrell - 2007
    This text details the current Disney range of rides, and takes readers on a journey into the future, where bigger, higher, faster Mountain rides await!

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards (Messages from the Dead Book 1)


Tui Snider - 2017
    They also nurture the living. As strange as it sounds, America s garden cemeteries were our nation s first public parks! People used to visit graveyards not just to mourn the dead, but to have a fun day in nature. Yes, FUN! More and more of America's cemeteries are applying for arboretum status and being placed on the historical register. Many now offer tours, annual festivals and events which run the gamut from jazz picnics, birding, costumed reenactments, performances of Shakespeare, and more. Along with this renewed appreciation for historic cemeteries, comes the realization that we have forgotten the meaning behind many of the symbols and acronyms our ancestors left on their headstones. Tui Snider s book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols, describes the meaning behind the symbols and architecture found in the historic graveyards of America. History buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters and other curiosity seekers will gain a deeper appreciation for these "messages from the dead" with a copy of Tui Snider's book on their shelf, or better yet, in their hands, as they explore America's open-air museums for themselves!

Ara Güler's Istanbul


Ara Güler - 2009
    As the crossroads between Europe and Asia, Istanbul has lived through several empires and has a character that is as many layered as its history – something that Güler’s photographs convey with great sensitivity. In these remarkable black-and-white images, the city’s melancholy aesthetic oscillates between tradition and modernity. Both writer and photographer were born in Istanbul, and each in his youth held the ambition of becoming a painter. Here, each in his own way paints a picture of his home town and captures its very soul.

The World of Jane Austen


Nigel Nicolson - 1991
    An engaging mixture of biography and photographic study provides a glimpse into the houses and scenery that formed the "stage set" where her stories unfolded, from the author's own home and those of her friends to the countryside, seaside, castles, abbeys, and churches, and famed houses like Chatsworth and Chawton, considered the models for Pemberley and Rosings in Pride and Prejudice.

Biltmore Estate


Ellen Erwin Rickman - 2005
    Created in the 1890s by George Washington Vanderbilt, a member of one of America's wealthiest families, the estate combined a 250-room French Renaissance-style chateau with 125,000 acres of gardens, forests, and working farms. Biltmore House served as Vanderbilt's primary residence for almost 20 years. After Mr. Vanderbilt's death in 1914, life at Biltmore continued for his wife Edith and daughter Cornelia. In 1930, Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil and her husband, Hon. John Francis Amherst Cecil, opened Biltmore House--the largest private home in the United States--to the public, firmly establishing the Asheville area as a major tourist destination.

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record


Stanley Appelbaum - 1980
    More than 27 million visitors entered the grounds (now Jackson Park) to marvel at the exhibits and displays housed in some 200 buildings, including those of 79 foreign governments and 38 states. Although the Fair had its share of "firsts" (original Ferris wheel, first midway, Edison's kinetoscope, etc.), its chief marvel was its architecture. It is that aspect which is emphasized in this striking photographic record. Beginning with an overview of the fair's planning and conceptual stages, Stanley Appelbaum's well-researched text then proceeds to a fascinating discussion of the personalities, regional rivalries, and intense controversy surrounding the Beaux-Arts architecture (the "White City" style) of the fair, including its enormous impact on subsequent American architecture. The contributions of such outstanding architects and firms as R. M. Hunt; McKim, Mead and White; Frederick Law Olmsted; and Peabody and Stearns are described. The book then becomes a building-by-building walking tour of the fair — imaginatively reconstructed with the help of 128 sharply reproduced rare contemporary photographs, printed on fine coated stock, and a concise, fact-filled text. The placid basins, ponds, and Lagoon that graced the fairgrounds lend a serene aura to these priceless views of the great buildings and sights of the fair: the Beaux-Arts glories of the Administration and Agriculture Buildings; Daniel Chester French's statue of the Republic; the Columbian Fountain by Frederick MacMonnies; the Golden Door of Louis Sullivan's Transportation Building; the Peristyle; Mary Cassatt's mural in the Woman's Building; the pure classicism of the Palace of Fine Arts (now the Museum of Science and Industry); numerous state and foreign pavilions, and of course, the Midway — the first separate amusement area at a World's Fair, and the reputed location of Little Egypt's celebrated danse du ventre. In the concluding section, the author touches on other memorable aspects of the fair and its times: the Panic of 1893; the Pullman Strike; famous visitors (Archduke Ferdinand, the Spanish Infanta, etc.); cultural and social congresses, and finally, the disastrous fires that ultimately destroyed many of the buildings. For social and cultural historians, Chicagoans, and anyone interested in the special magic of a world's fair, this book is a loving and nostalgic look back — to a time bathed in the golden light of the fin-de-siècle years, when a colossal spectacle of human achievement in art, science, and industry captured the world's attention for one magic and unforgettable moment.

The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance: How Brunelleschi and Ghiberti Changed the Art World


Paul Robert Walker - 2002
    Its designer was Filippo Brunelleschi, a temperamental architect and inventor who rediscovered the techniques of mathematical perspective. Yet the completion of the dome was not Brunelleschi’s glory alone. He was forced to share the commission with his archrival, the canny and gifted sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti.In this lush, imaginative history—a fascinating true story of artistic genius and personal triumph—Paul Robert Walker breathes life into these two talented, passionate artists and the competitive drive that united and dived them. As it illuminates fascinating individuals from Donatello and Masaccio to Cosimo de’Medici and Leon Battista Alberti, The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance offers a glorious tour of 15th-century Florence, a bustling city on the verge of greatness in a time of flourishing creativity, rivalry, and genius.

The Perfect House: A Journey with Renaissance Master Andrea Palladio


Witold Rybczynski - 2002
    A journey along the Brenta River in northeastern Italy, just a short distance from Venice, reveals the origin of the architecture of the private house, an art first practiced by Andrea Palladio. Until Palladio began designing simple, gorgeous, perfectly proportioned villas, architectural genius was reserved for temples and palaces. Palladio not only designed and built, he wrote. His 1570 architectural treatise was read and studied by great thinkers as diverse as Thomas Jeffferson and Inigo Jones, and it proved to be critical to the design of Monticello and the White House. More than just a study of one of history's seminal architectural figures, THE PERFECT HOUSE reflects Rybczynski's intimacy with and enthusiasm for his subject. He not only reveals why the villas were so architecurally and culturally influential, he also imparts his enormous affection and admiration for the man who designed them. Embracing the elements of Rybczynski's most successful books on domestic architecture, HOME and THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOUSE IN THE WORLD this charming, revelatory meditation explores the dawn of domestic architecture, and provides a new way of looking at every building we inhabit or visit today.