Graz: Publishing Company of Graz University of Technology, 2014 German, 303 pages, hardcover ISBN 978-3-85125-317-7 EUR 38.00
The idea of architecture as a third human skin has influenced building from time immemorial. So it is no wonder that people still today speak of the “outer skin” of a building or a “main body.” In almost all languages of the world, the terms for windows and eyes or for door and mouth are similar, if not the same. For this reason it is not surprising that façades often resemble a face or are intentionally designed as such. In this publication, numerous examples from the four continents of Europe, Africa, Asia, and pre-Columbian America are shown and also discussed in relation to their respective cultural context. In a further step, the city—especially the historical walled city—is rendered as a fourth protective skin, as is evident on many city gates in the form of giant faces, but also in quite a few urban glyphs of protective nature.
Hasso Hohmann is an architect and ethnologist and teaches early American, Islamic, and European architecture in the Institute of Urban and Architectural History at Graz University of Technology.