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Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance [Hardcover]

By Karal Ann Marling (Editor)
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Item description for Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance by Karal Ann Marling...

From the day it opened in July 1955, in an event given live TV coverage, Disneyland has been a key symbol of contemporary American culture. It has been both celebrated and attacked as the ultimate embodiment of consumer society, a harbinger of shopping-mall culture, a symbol of American hegemony in entertainment, the epitome of fantasy, simulation, pastiche, and the blurring of distinctions between reality and mass-media imagery. Yet for all the power of Disneyland as metaphor, almost no one has discussed the making of this unique place, with its far-flung colonies in Florida, Japan, and France. Written to accompany an exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance is the first book to look beyond the multiple myths of Disneyland.

Uniting a roster of authors chosen from wide-ranging disciplines, this study is the first to examine the influence of Disneyland on both our built environment and our architectural imagination. Tracing the relationship of the Disney parks to their historical forbears, it charts Disneyland's evolution from one man's personal dream to a multinational enterprise, a process in which the Disney "magic" has moved ever closer to the real world. Editor Karal Ann Marling, Professor of Art History and American Studies at the University of Minnesota, draws upon her pioneering work in the Disney archives to reconstruct and analyze the intentions and strategies behind the parks. She is joined by Marty Sklar, Vice Chairman and Principal Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, historian Neil Harris, art historian Erika Doss, geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, critic Greil Marcus, and architect Frank Gehry to provide a unique perspective on one of the great post-war American icons.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   223
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 10.25" Height: 11.75"
Weight:   3.45 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 15, 1998
Publisher   Flammarion
ISBN  2080136399  
ISBN13  9782080136398  

Availability  0 units.

More About Karal Ann Marling

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Karal Ann Marling is Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota.

Karal Ann Marling currently resides in the state of Minnesota. Karal Ann Marling has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Minnesota.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Performing Arts
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
3Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Building Types & Styles > General
4Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Criticism
5Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Drawing & Modelling > General
6Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > General
7Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Reference
8Books > Subjects > Sports > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance?

Could have been better,...  Aug 8, 2008
Hungry for more Disney info...I would get the other books first, although this makes for fine reading it lacks something??? It also is a bit wordy and esoterical, perhaps a bit judgmental and highbrow, if your looking for detailed architecture and Disney's point of view, look elswhere, lots of critical observations, it misses by trying to do Disney one better, and you just can't do Disney better than Disney can, John Hench, and Ward Kimbal fans would be upset purchasing this book. Also reads a bit like Scrooge, but with out the change of enlightenment at the end, some people just can't be saved, leave the theme parks to those who truly appreciate the work that went into desingning them, leave these wine tastings and trying to outdoo each can tell they just didn't get it...When I travel to W.E.D. properties I watch the childrens faces and adults too, that's all the proof I need to place this tome on the back of the shelf, because they just can't enjoy the simple things in life...deconstruction has its place, but overanylzing is just wrong...
Disneyland Revisited: The Reassurance of Scholarly Research  Apr 23, 2007
This book is a must have for enthusiasts and interested scholars. The book is filled with many pictures, illustrations and original renderings of Disneyland, and the subsequent other parks. The conceptual development of the original Disneyland is the focus of the book that admirably discusses the many details involved in the process. The amazing part for me was the scholarly research and the well written quality of the text. The subject is well examined for the volume of information it covers. It is the first book I have come across that credit's Walt Disney's innovative process of applying stage set design to 3D proportionality using an over-ridding narrative to connect it all. The scholarly research by art historians and architects for the Canadian exhibition is impressive, which is done without the control of the Disney Corporation. The scholarly nature of the book lends a new dimensionality to the understanding of Disneyland as an innovative artistic development, and a new architectural expression.
Unlike other texts I have read about Disney architecture, this one takes on the subject from the art historical perspective examining the process that creates a new architectural form. Other books seem to veer away from this in favor of the new, celebrated corporate architecture at Disney company headquarters, or on these applications at newer Disney parks. By concentrating on the original development of Disneyland as a concept of Walt Disney's, and his special team of designers, the idea is well established as creating the foundation for everything else that comes after. This difference is insightful, and makes the understanding of the original conceptual design clearer.
I highly recommend this book for the wealth of information it provides and the good read it is. Even for a seasoned Walt Disney enthusiast, like me, it provides a new awareness of the multi-dimensional qualities of the form created, and it makes a rich addition to the information previously unknown.

Fabulous Book on Disney  Mar 16, 2004
This book is great! I also want to be a Disney Imagieer. I already designed some cool, new rides. I hope I become an Imagineer! See Ya!
Designers, Disney-fans, Architects, Dreamers...listen up!  Dec 29, 2001
This book is amazing. It immediately captured me. It gives valuable insight on the vison of disneys world and on how this vision becomes tangible.

Not only it talks abou the history of the themeparks but it shows the sketches, maps, plans of different parts and attractions of the disney world. An amazing resource full of phantasy and a joy to watch. The photographs and illustrations are very well chosen and it is a plasure to flip through this pages every once in a while. A very inspiring book, showing that often it is enough to dream it and then it becomes reality.The most peculiar shapes and interior spaces are built to be reality.

I highly recommend it.

Engaging Thoughts about Disney  Jan 26, 2001
Many books on Disney's art and achitecture try to convey its appeal primarily through the visual. Other books, particularly those that whole-heartedly criticize Disney, try to ignore the appeal of Disney altogether. This book attempts to integrate the visual evidence (photos, concept art) with academic writing on Disney (Karal Ann Marling, Erika Doss, Greil Marcus, etc.). Together, these aspects make for a solid inquiry as to the appeal of Disney's architecture.

The book was written to supplement an art exhibit of the same name and, in many ways, feels a bit incomplete without its exhibition, partly because the book tries to cover a lot of territory in its two hundred or so pages. And a lot of the book's pages are used for the essays. But the essays also provide the readers with another "way of seeing" the imagineers' works, something that other books of this type tend to forgoe for more pictures. The essays are irreplaceable for this book--and many are useful for re-examining other books' materials as well (Try it!).

Particularly useful for the Disney enthusiast is the criticism of Disney criticism by Greil Marcus. He astutely summarizes much of the current criticism of Disney: "All [the works mentioned earlier in the essay] have their moments of interest and all devolve quickly into a kind of critical voice that can perhaps best be called spite. This is not a good posture from which to practice criticism--an angry defensiveness, a fear that somehow one's faculties or tools of analysis are not up to the job disguised as contempt for the job itself...." What Marcus calls for is a real attempt to understand Disney for what it is and for how it affects people/American culture, something too few critics have done without falling into an either all-good or all-evil knee-jerk reaction. Worse, many critics make no attempt to experience Disney before making up their minds. This essay is an excellent reminder to those critics and a call to action.

The other essays are interesting and useful, as well. The interview with Frank Gehry seems a bit brief, and perhaps Karal Ann Marling takes too much center stage in the interview (as with the entire book). Still, this book opens the door for an appreciative examination of Disney and one that embraces Disney by attempting a "thick description" of its materiality and appeal. This book will not provide an exhaustive look at Disney's theme parks but it will offer the interested reader materials with which to look at Disney's parks in a new way.


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