Encyclopedia of Architectural and Engineering Feats

by Donald Langmead and Christine Garnaut


From the majesty of the Parthenon to the mystery of Easter Island to the mastery of the German Autobahn, man has put an indelible footprint on our planet. For millennia, people have altered the landscape to create awe-inspiring architectural and engineering wonders that rival the most impressive structures created by nature.

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December 2001


Pages 388
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Technology/General
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Encyclopedia of Architectural and Engineering Feats presents more than 200 achievements in architecture and structural engineering in all the inhabited continents, from prehistory to the present.

An architect once described the built environment as "the manifestation of the human spirit in stone, wood, and steel." In this new volume, readers can explore the most innovative and magnificent architectural expressions of the human spirit, from pre-history to the present, from all parts of the world.

Readers can visit the Acropolis and Chartres cathedral, along with less familiar places like the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, once the greatest city in sub-Saharan Africa, and China's 71 meter high, 1,200 year old Grand Buddha, carved from stone. They'll learn the secrets behind audacious engineering feats like the Panama Canal, the U.S. interstate highway system, and the Deltaworks in the Netherlands. They will discover that many of these awe-inspiring projects were not the work of trained architects and engineers, but of "underdeveloped" communities, where unified will, tight social organization, and shared commitment to a spiritual ideal were more important than the inventions of the Industrial Age.


  • 200+ A–Z, fully cross-referenced entries on fascinating structures such as Angkor Wat, a Cambodian temple complex that remains the largest religious monument ever constructed
  • A wealth of illustrations covering diverse topics such as dams, agrarian terracing, cathedrals, temples, bridges, monuments, palaces, skyscrapers, aqueducts, and highway systems
  • Numerous photographs of world famous structures such as the Taj Mahal and the Pont du Gard, and lesser known wonders such as Nazca Lines in Peru depicting a 300 foot long monkey
  • A glossary of explanations for many architectural and engineering terms used around the globe


  • Each entry includes cross references and further reading to help explore structures from multiple perspectives
  • Entries discuss both the engineering and aesthetic aspects of the structures covered, helping build a more rounded understanding of how architecture and design intersect
Author Info

Donald Langmead is professor of architectural history at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

Christine Garnaut is research associate in the Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.



"[T]his encyclopedia is international in coverage and chronologically vast, and many of the topical essays will not be found in other architectural encyclopedias . . . overall the essays are extremely informative and well written, providing not just architectural details but also social and cultural information to help explain why the building, site, material, or group is important . . . Recommended for most public and academic libararies."Library Journal

"This work is highly recommended for general and academic collections."American Reference Books Annual

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