Yangon Architectural Guide

I am one of the authors of Yangon Architectural Guide, a book that came out with DOM publishers in late 2015. My personal journey began in 2013, and much of it has been documented on this blog.

The book has received some attention since its publication. This list will be updated as we go along:

  • “This sumptuous, evocative book captures the energies of a city in the midst of rapid change. At the same time it is suffused with traces of Yangon’s complex, often troubled, past. I enjoyed the mix of architectural commentary, urban geography, and excellent photography that the authors bring to the book. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in Yangon and Myanmar; it works equally well as a guide for first-time visitors, and as an invitation to those who know the city to see it through fresh eyes.”
    — Sunil Amrith, Professor of South Asian History at Harvard University
  • “This is an excellent book that has something for everyone. Those new to Yangon will appreciate the depth and background of sites and their histories, as well as the fact that the book extends to neighborhoods not usually covered in guidebooks. As someone who has lived in the city for long stretches of time, I loved learning new things about places I regularly passed but never thought twice about. The writing on architectural styles was also very accessible for a non-specialist, just enough to make you feel that you’d learned something meaningful, but not too dense and mostly focused on contextualizing buildings within the city’s rich and diverse history.”
    — Matthew Walton, Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University
  • “The book is refreshingly different – in its presentation of history, architecture, photography and current challenges. Its beauty lies in the fact that it is difficult to categorize it as any particular genre. It is poetic and lyrical, as well as gripping. It gives us an idea about the endless creative ways in which one can present a city and opens our hearts and minds into appreciating the latent stories embedded in colossal structures. The book inspires us in not only getting to know our cultural heritage but also involving ourselves in rejuvenating the same with sensibility and sensitivity.”
    — Reshmi Banerjee, Tea Circle Oxford: An Oxford Forum For New Perspectives on Burma/Myanmar (read the whole review here)
  • “Brilliant combination of photos and text… A remarkably well done description of significant buildings in Yangon/Rangoon along with delightful short takes on the historical context and the current atmosphere in this rapidly changing city.”
    — Lex Rieffel, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • German architectural magazine Bauwelt has reviewed the book here. A post with some translated passages is here.
  • Coconuts Yangon has also reviewed the book and interviewed Elliott here. “The city that emerges in the Architectural Guide is both living and changing.”
  • The UK Guardian mentions our book in an investigative piece on Yangon’s breakneck development amid Myanmar’s opening-up.
  • We had some book-related coverage in architectural publications such as Curbed and Uncube.
  • Elliott wrote an article for Quartz on the eve of Myanmar’s historic elections in 2015.

You can buy the guide on Amazon (US, UK, Germany, France, Japan), or directly from the publisher.

The back cover text reads:

Architectural Guide Yangon presents around one hundred memorable buildings from Myanmar’s historical capital. Following decades of international isolation, the city’s vast heritage remains largely, surprisingly and spectacularly intact. Rangoon – as it was known under the British – was a melting pot of British India. Vivid traces of this legacy are everywhere, especially in the city’s Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim houses of worship that often stand side by side, down town, in Yangon’s tightly-gridded streets. Since the country’s independence from the British in 1948, successive authoritarian regimes have also stamped the cityscape with their legacies. Today Yangon is a bustling and busy city in flux, at the frontier of Myanmar’s rapid opening to the wider world. Yangon’s urban fabric deserves a systematic guide that nourishes every visitor and resident’s shared fascination for the city and its history, offering countless anecdotes and notes on architectural detail.

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