Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made (Hardcover)
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award
We don't just look at buildings: their facades, beautiful or ugly, conceal the spaces where we live. We are born, work, love, and die in architecture. We buy and sell it, rent and squat it, create and destroy it. All of these aspects of buildings--economic, erotic, political, and psychological--are crucial if we are to understand architecture properly. And because architecture molds us just as much as we mold it, understanding architecture helps us to understand our lives and our world.
In this book, ten buildings from across the globe tell stories of architecture from the beginning of civilization to the present day. From the remains of the Tower of Babel to the Summer Palace in Beijing, built and destroyed by Europeans, to the Ford car plant where the production line was born, Tom Wilkinson unpicks these structures to reveal the lives of the people who built and used them. Architecture has always had a powerful and intimate relationship with society and the lives of those who build and live with it. It has often been used to try and improve society. But can architecture change our lives for the better?
The buildings are: the Tower of Babel, Babylon; Nero's Golden House, Rome; Djinguereber Mosque, Timbuktu; Palazzo Rucellai, Florence; the Garden of Perfect Brightness, Beijing; the Festival Theatre, Beyreuth; E.1027, Cap Martin; Highland Park Ford Plant, Detroit; and the Finsbury Health Centre, London.
About the Author
Raising a large family resulted in a 12-page resume of a wide variety of experiences and learning opportunities, mostly connected to the outdoors. Retirement provided Tom Wilkinson the time to write about converting organic waste to vermicompost. Researching the literature revealed that while much was written about small classroom-sized worm farms, and huge commercial vermiculture operations, there was very little written about the medium-sized system needed by most serious gardeners. After many attempts to build an ideal system the VermiChester system evolved that is inexpensive to build. An appendix includes instructions for building your own "worm farm." After a few years of telling his story, Tom was presented with the amazing story of BIOCHAR, which needs a source of microorganisms to function well, and of course, the worms filled that need with flying colors. Read about the birth of AbonoChar LLC and the blend of VermiCompost with Biochar that is known as "BioPreta." "Beyond Compost, PLUS!" is a guidebook based on hands-on experience, and written in a practical style that you will enjoy. Tom Wilkinson explains why we need to convert our organic wastes away from landfills and into our soil and convert carbon dioxide in our atmosphere into sequestered carbon that stays in the soil, where it stays forever, in a way that produces healthier, more disease resistant and insect repellant plants for increased production and more nutritious food and more luxurious flowers. His "VermiHarvester" separates worms and undigested compost from worm castings (vermicompost) in an easier way, and the guidebook includes illustrations for building your own from simple inexpensive materials. "BioPreta" is one of less than five similar products in the USA and is produced in Hastings, Michigan.