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Paperback | $21.00 Short | ISBN: 9780262581226 | 192 pp. | 6.2 x 9.1 in | May 1993
For sale only in North America, Central and South America only.

The Built, the Unbuilt, and the Unbuildable

In Pursuit of Architectural Meaning


Robert Harbison reads architecture as one would read poetry for meaning. Meaning, he finds, resides especially in those works of architecture that are unnecessary, having outlived their physical functions or never having been intended to have any. Gardens, monuments, historic fortifications, and ruins are among the examples he uses to reveal the secret meanings of this architecture "freed from function."

About the Author

Robert Harbison has lectured widely on architecture at the Museum of Modem Art in New York, the University of Toronto, Stanford University, Cornell University, and the Architectural Association, London. His previous books include Eccentric Spaces, Deliberate Regression, and Pharaoh's Dream.


"In this era of ubiquitous mass media, when today's catchword is tomorrow's cliche Robert Harbison has produced that rarity, a thoroughly personal and original book. The Built, the Unbuilt and the Unbuildable is a lucid, provocative meditation on architectural meaning, on 'some of the witting and unwitting means by which buildings evade functional necessities, or surpass them even while satisfying them.'"
Nancy Levinson, Architectural Record