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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Symphony: Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry (Harry N. Abrams) From the stainless steel curves of its striking exterior to the state-of-the-art acoustics of the hardwood-paneled main auditorium, Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall, new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. Opening in fall 2003, the hall is destined to be a new architectural landmark, generating as much excitement as Gehry's Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which its design predates.

This book, which includes an introduction by Gehry, traces the history of the hall from its inception through the architect selection process, construction, and completion of the building, which is recorded in acclaimed architectural photographer Grant Mudford's stunning images. Esa-Pekka Salonen, music director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, recounts his first impressions of Gehry and the models for the new building in an essay that also defines what makes a great orchestra and a great concert hall.

Sure to make headlines and attract visitors from around the world, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the most important and innovative buildings of recent years. This book brings its story to all those interested in modern architecture.

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egyptian Architecture by Dieter Arnold (Princeton University Press) The definitive reference on the diverse monuments built by the ancient Egyptians across three millennia, this generously illustrated volume surveys the ancient world's most remarkable architecture.

Dieter Arnold--a leading expert on Egyptian building and design--includes more than 300 illustrations and 600 alphabetically arranged entries spanning every type of building and every aspect of construction and design. He provides separate entries for each of the major Egyptian sites, from Abu Simbel in the south to Cleopatra's palaces in Alexandria . These document ordinary towns and houses as well as monuments as varied as the Step Pyramid of Djoser (the world's first significant stone building), the tombs of the Valley of the Kings , Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahari, and the great temples that line the Upper Nile . Other entries cover materials (from reed and mud-brick to sandstone and granite) and construction techniques (including pyramid building and the erection of obelisks). The accessible text also addresses the symbolic meanings of various types of building, the importance of building orientation, and myriad architectural features, such as columns and false doors.

Destined to be the standard reference for years to come, this comprehensive encyclopedia offers a welcome overview of the magnificent structures that continue to lure pilgrims and tourists, impress architects, and inspire awe. It will be enjoyed by serious devotees of architecture and archaeology as well as by armchair travelers and all who have wondered how the great pyramids were built.  

 Dieter Arnold is Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and leads its excavations at Dahshur. His books include Temples of the Last Pharaohs, Temples of Ancient Egypt Building in Egypt, and with Adela Oppenheim The Pyramid Complex of Senwosret III at Dahshur which continues his well-known research so well displayed in Metropolitan Museum of Art’s publications: The Pyramid Complex of Senwosret I and The Pyramid of Senwosret I.

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