The Great Builders


A unique survey of 40 architect-engineers who have been pioneers in both aesthetic design and technological innovation, written by leading architectural historians and practising architects


ISBN: 9780500251799 Category:


The buildings around us have always been designed to influence the way we see, think and move.

The Great Builders celebrates the careers of 40 great figures whose engineering skills have been crucial to their success. Illustrated with over 200 photographs, plans and drawings, the book brings these remarkable characters and their work to life, revealing the technical ingenuity and aesthetic flair that define some of the world’s most iconic structures.

Here is Brunelleschi, who built the ‘unbuildable’ dome of Florence Cathedral; Sinan, a Christian engineer who became chief architect to the Ottoman court; Joseph Paxton, scribbling down a design for the Crystal Palace, London, on a piece of blotting paper; and James Bogardus, an early American evangelist of the opportunities offered by cast-iron architecture.

Rapid advances in industrial production inspired experiments with new materials and techniques, gradually allowing a whole new architecture to emerge: reinforced concrete, plate glass and steel were central to the creations of Le Corbusier, Auguste Perret and Mies van der Rohe, for instance; and, in the High-Tech architecture of the present day – represented by Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava, among others – computer-aided design has seemingly tested the boundaries of the possible.

Additional information

Weight 1186 g
Dimensions 19.3 x 25 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 16 September 2011
Number of pages 304
Format Hardback
Dimensions 19.3 x 25 cm
Weight 1186 g
Kenneth Powell is an architectural historian, critic and consultant. He has written extensively on 20th-century and contemporary British architecture, and is the author of books on the work of Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and other major British architects. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and has served on the Council of the Architectural Association.