Unconventional Builders: “Why on Earth would anyone decide to build that”


“The story of a building is soon buried and forgotten, and eventually the building is too.”

Alan Van Dine uses colloquial language to let the reader into the fringes of architecture and narrate the history of how and why incredible building were created. Neolithic huts, E-Temen-Anki, igloos and the solid rock city of Petra are examined and explained, in order to track how these basic forms of shelter first came into being and why. And not just man-made, there is an entire chapter on peculiar bird nests.

The book incorporates photography, illustrations and woodcuts in an encyclopaedic method. My favourite chapter focuses on a 700-room mansion that widow Sarah Pardee Winchester built to appease ghosts. No mirrors, no moat, forty-seven fireplaces, dozens of clocks, watchtowers, a bell tower, a floor made of seven types of hardwood, and staircase with seven turns, staircases going into walls, and doors opening to walls.

Publication date: 1977.

Publisher: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co.

Details: Hardcover with dust jacket. 1st Edition. 184p.

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