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The Edifice Complex: How the Rich and Powerful--and Their Architects--Shape the World
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The Edifice Complex: How the Rich and Powerful--and Their Architects--Shape the World

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  185 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
A provocative look at architecture-"exceptionally intelligent and original" (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World)

Deyan Sudjic-"probably the most influential figure in architecture you've never heard of" - argues that architecture, far from being auteur art, must be understood as a naked expression of power. From the grandiose projects of Stalin and Hitler to
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 2005)
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Jul 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is part architectural history, and part gossip column. I'm about half way through it, and so far it has proven interesting. There's some very good information about architecture in Fascist regimes, and some juicy dish on the starchitects.
Lars Williams
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a well-written book on a fascinating subject. I came to it after reading Zola's 'The Kill', which is set against the backdrop of the Haussmannisation of Paris, Napoleon III's use of architecture as an expression (and possibly instrument) of political power. Tyrants like to build big. This book looks at the relationship between architecture and power, mostly 20th century, from Hitler's plans for Berlin, via Stalin's Russia, through to modern-day China. There is also an unexpectedly intere ...more
Todd Jenkins
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the interconnections between political power and the use of architecture to reflect and enhance that power. Beginning with Saddam Hussein's Mother of All Battles Mosque and then reaching back to Albert Speer's work for the Nazi regime, Sudjic deftly analyzes the use of architecture to reflect the goals, personalities and attitudes of those in power. Normally I don't care whether books are illustrated, but this one would have benefited greatly from the inclusion of photograp ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is not a flawless book. Given its subject matter, it was ironic that I could discern no coherent structure, in terms of an argument or even just an approach to dealing with the subject that began in one place and progressed through a discernable route to a climax. The book reads more like a collection of loosely connected magazine features, which perhaps shouldn't be a surprise given Sudjic's history as the Editor of architecture magazine Domus.

But it just didn't matter. I found the topic
Extremely interesting premise - architecture as expression of and means of demonstrating power. Analyzes a wide range of colorful, megalomaniacal figures. I had to refer to google to find pictures of some of the relevant buildings, but aside from that, a very well-done book.
Liza P.
May 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Interesting, well researched book, however the author tends to make grand sweeping judgements about the intent of mentioned Architects and Nations, and this can be somewhat off-putting.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. I don't often feel so strongly about non-fiction books, but this really fascinated me and was well written and put together. I got everything I wanted out of it and a lot more. It's expanded my interest in architecture, history and politics, as well as helping with my pursuit of philosophy, ethics & aesthetics. I recommend to anyone who has even the vaguest interest in any of those areas. Although it's very fact-driven, the style of writing has a quality that makes it easy ...more
Nikolas Kourtis
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very informative and thought provoking about the nature of power and architecture. Why we build, how regimes and politics influence how, what, where, and when we build, at the end of the day what kind of influence architecture has if any in a person's, society's nation's ideas.

(Sometimes too detailed in its descriptions though that can be a drag if not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to specific buildings or regimes)
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ciekawa gawęda na temat architektury i tego co ją kształtuje.
Auriza Salim
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sungguh buku yang sangat menarik. Buku ini merubah pandangan saya terhadap urban desain. Urban desain dapat menjadi perangkat untuk memberi citra kepada pemerintah. Deyan Sudjic dengan apik menjelaskan studi kasus dengan disertai dengan latar belakang sejarah politik yang melatar belakangi pendirian sebuah kota. Sebuah rujukan yang berharga bagi urban designer untuk mengerti bagaimana kekuatan sesungguhnya dari urban desain dalam mempengaruhi perkembangan kota dan pikiran rakyat didalamnya.
Mar 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, architecture
Very very interesting in some parts, but also very very boring in others. You have to have a little architecture background knowledge to read this one, as names like Kahn, Philip Johnson, and others are thrown around, so if you don't know who they are it might be harder to understand. I like his thesis, but sometimes he goes into a little too much detail about the design of each building (and that's coming from someone who studied architecture in school).
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Love this book. Each chapter reads like a magazine article and features delightfully scathing insight into the lives and ambitions of architects through history. The fact that it doesn"t have pictures is really frustrating though, and i found myself having to look up pictures on google for every page.
Jessica Zu
only read the assigned chapters. Not so crazy about it. it's about the balance between need to generalize and the imperative to pay attention to details. I'm not convinced that the evidence is enough to support the statement--edifice complex==architecture.
i mean you can say the same thing about writing, fashion, or any other art form.
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art-architecture
This book is full of fascinating anecdotes, but is pretty much that. Sudjic becomes repetitive towards the end, and I forced myself to finish the book. That said, the topic itself is fascinating.
Dec 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved it.
Back stories are always the best.
How people with money and power influence the buildings and images around them.
Dr. M. Zain Koraishy
A very nice read. Very informative. Changed the way I've been looking at architecture and buildings my whole life. Its an all new dimension for me.
Dec 22, 2009 rated it liked it people with money and power influence the buildings and city. I agree with Sir Norman Foster: As Compelling a read as popular novel
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The perfect book for a social studies nerd.
Liliana Amundaraín
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent for naive architecture lovers! Easy to read.
Adele Lim
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Really well written and informative. I wish all history books were narrated like this. Will definitely re-read.
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Dec 28, 2015
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Nov 27, 2012
Matt Dumich
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Dec 28, 2013
Phillip Reckhaus
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May 11, 2013
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Aug 28, 2012
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Jan 28, 2009
Federico García
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Sep 01, 2016
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May 13, 2012
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Sep 10, 2015
Javier Montoya
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Mar 31, 2014
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Deyan Sudjic is Director of the Design Museum. He was born in London, and studied architecture in Edinburgh. He has worked as a critic for the Observer and The Sunday Times, as the editor of Domus in Milan, as the director of the Venice Architecture Biennale, and as a curator in Glasgow, Istanbul and Copenhagen. He is the author of B is for Bauhaus, The Language of Things and The Edifice Complex.
More about Deyan Sudjic

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