The Sydney Opera House, with its vast cost overruns and its years of delay, is a glaring example of misbegotten notions of structural honesty. MIT's Kresge Auditorium was conceived for visual effect without regard for technological flaws that arose from the misapplied criteria of form-follows function and forced its closing for more than a year. And in the building of Boston's John Hancock Tower, structural imperatives, were literally thrown to the winds. These are just a few of the eases in which the role of technology in the design of a large scale building has been either neglected or confused. In this book Robert Mark shows how an understanding of the technology of historical architecture can illuminate, even help eliminate, such costly misconceptions. Mark focuses on three eras - ancient Rome, the era of structural experimentation in High Gothic architecture, and the time of the great Renaissance domes - that have had lasting impacts on architectural planning. He makes full use of sophisticated computer modeling to gain new insights into early design methods insights that allow him to reinterpret technological precedents that are often misunderstood in contemporary architecture. Mark's provocative findings provide a stronger technological focus for architectural history and a basis for more rational criticism of contemporary design. Robert Mark Professor of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Princeton University, is the author of "Experiments in Gothic Structure. "Much of the work covered in "Light, Wind, and Structure "served as the basis for the Nova/WGBH television program "The Mystery of the Master Builders." The book is included in the Sloan New Liberal Arts Series.
Arts-Photography, Architecture, Criticism,