In the latter half of the twentieth century, the port has undergone one of the greatest and largely uncharted transformations in its history. Since the 1960s and the onset of the dominance of the passenger jet and the container carrier, ports have rapidly changed in both appearance and operation. Once an integral element of many cities' commercial activity, they have become increasingly specialised, mechanised and remote. This is often literal as in the case of dedicated container ports, which are now located outside central urban areas. With geographical detachment has also come alienation. Many of the original inner city ports have become derelict, while others have been transformed into residential or leisure areas; where speculative enterprises have been involved, they have often attempted to capitalise on a synthetic or trivialised sense of 'the maritime' as a promotion tool for everything from pizza parlours to penthouses.By looking at a cross section of contemporary international ports - Hong Kong, London, Marghera (Venice), Miami, P&O New Port, Portsmouth, Rotterdam and Sydney - Peter Quartermaine not only accounts for the worldwide changes in the port's recent history but also redefines it as a modern built environment, recasting it in the reader's mind's eye. By using a combination of text and photographs, he establishes a pertinent, up-to-date visual narrative for the port and its commerce. This transcends the dislocation with the maritime that has become part of Western culture since the 1960s, as fewer people have first hand experience of working docks and shipping. It also means that Quartermaine's study encompasses structures that have been conventionally placed at the margins of architecture. These bring to light some of the most extraordinary constructions of the post-industrial age: breakwaters of tetrapods, mechanical devices for water and cargo control, straddle carriers for containers, specialised plants for bulk handling and rationally appointed space for rapid sorting and transhipment.
Engineering-Transportation, Engineering, Reference, Architecture,