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4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable pioneer of thin-shell brickwork, 14 Mar 2008
This review is from: Eladio Dieste (The engineer's contribution to contemporary architecture) (Paperback)
Eladio Dieste was one of the most remarkable structural engineers of the twentieth century. Working mainly within his native Uruguay, he developed humble brickwork into sophisticated structural art. His structures transposed the thin-shell forms of engineers like Candela and Torroja into the realm of reinforced and prestressed brick, highly innovative technically but also very striking visually.

Pedreschi's book doesn't claim to be comprehensive, but does feature many of Dieste's finest buildings. These include the magnificent church at Atlantida, astonishing brick vaults at Montevideo docks, and the frankly bizarre Montevideo shopping mall. Pedreschi goes into great detail on these structures, and explains well how it is that extremely thin curved brickwork shells can stand up.

The book is structured partly chronologically, and partly by building type, moving from free-standing and gaussian vaults through to Dieste's several silos, churches and towers. Although it's very well illustrated it's sadly all in black-and-white. This is a real shame, because colour photos do much better justice to these structures.

The only other book on Dieste that's readily available is by Stanford Anderson, which has larger photos and in colour too. But if you get the Pedreschi book, you'll definitely come away with a great understanding of Dieste's particular genius, and probably never think of brickwork in the same way again.
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