November 27, 2016


Who Built That?: Bridges is the latest in Didier Cornille's Who Built That? series, published by Princeton Architectural Press. If you haven't had a chance to check out the series, I highly recommend it--they combine engineering and architectural information--bridges, skyscrapers, houses--with impeccable design work to create a cohesive encyclopedia on these great architectural feats.

In Bridges, we learn about the ten most important bridges in the world, from cast iron to concrete, from footbridges to tall bridges. Each "chapter" of the book introduces a new bridge by listing out the architects and how they came to innovatively engineer the bridges we use on a daily basis today. Readers essentially get step-by-step instructions on how the bridges were constructed and what made them modern marvels of their time.

We've talked about trim size before, and Cornille's books are perfect examples of how an illustrator/designer can consciously design a book to match the interior content. His other books fit the same format: his skyscrapers book is narrow and tall, and his houses book, while still horizontal, opens horizontally rather than vertically. Of course, this design feature is perfect for a book about bridges--we don't have to worry about gutters (where the pages of the book meet) disrupting the images, but rather the bridges depicted can easily stretch from one side of the book to the other.

Bridges acts as almost a primer/concept book that introduces readers not just to the bridges themselves, but the people behind the bridges. It's a thoughtful book that makes itself accessible to children and adults alike, and it's a book to keep in your library for years to come.