Manchester Arena

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Manchester Arena
Manchester Arena exterior, (3) May19.jpg
Exterior of the arena, seen from the north
AddressVictoria Station
M3 1AR [1]
Location Manchester, England
Coordinates 53°29′17″N2°14′38″W / 53.48806°N 2.24389°W / 53.48806; -2.24389 Coordinates: 53°29′17″N2°14′38″W / 53.48806°N 2.24389°W / 53.48806; -2.24389
Public transit Metrolink generic.png National Rail logo.svg Manchester Victoria
Owner Mansford
Operator SMG Europe
Capacity 21,000
Broke groundMarch 1993 (1993-03)
Opened15 July 1995 (1995-07-15)
Closed22 May 2017 [nb 1]
Reopened9 September 2017 [2]
Construction cost £52 million
(£104 million in 2019 pounds [3] )
ArchitectDLA Design, Austin-Smith:Lord and Ellerbe Becket
Structural engineer Arup Group Limited
Manchester Giants (BBL) (1995–2001)
Manchester Storm (BISL, BJL) (1995–2002)
Manchester Phoenix (EIHL) (2003–04)
Venue Website

The Manchester Arena is an indoor arena in Manchester, England, immediately north of the city centre and partly above Manchester Victoria station in air rights space.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The Greater Manchester Built-up Area is the United Kingdom's second-most populous, with a population of 2.55 million. The city's metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom, after London, with a population of over 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council. Manchester is a major international centre of tourism, commerce and industrial heritage. Manchester is frequently referred to as the United Kingdom's second city.

Manchester city centre central business district of the City of Manchester, England

Manchester city centre is the central business district of Manchester, England, within the boundaries of Trinity Way, Great Ancoats Street and Whitworth Street. The City Centre ward had a population of 17,861 at the 2011 census.

Manchester Victoria station Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3

Manchester Victoria station in Manchester, England is a combined mainline railway station and Metrolink tram stop. Situated to the north of the city centre on Hunts Bank, close to Manchester Cathedral, it adjoins Manchester Arena which was constructed on part of the former station site in the 1990s. Opened in 1844 and part of the Manchester station group, Victoria is Manchester's busiest railway station after Piccadilly and Oxford Road and the busiest station managed by Northern after Oxford Road.


The arena has the highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom, and second largest in the European Union with a capacity of 21,000 and is one of the world's busiest indoor arenas, hosting music and sporting events such as boxing and swimming. [4] The arena was a key part of Manchester's bids to host the Olympic Games in 1996 and 2000 and was eventually used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Seating capacity number of people who can be seated in a specific space, in terms of both the physical space available, and limitations set by law

Seating capacity is the number of people who can be seated in a specific space, in terms of both the physical space available, and limitations set by law. Seating capacity can be used in the description of anything ranging from an automobile that seats two to a stadium that seats hundreds of thousands of people. The largest sporting venue in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has a permanent seating capacity for more than 235,000 people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000.

Olympic Games Major international sport event

The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart.

Manchester bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics

The Manchester bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics and Paralympics was an unsuccessful campaign, first presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 1 February 1993. Ultimately it lost, having made it to the third round of voting with Sydney, Australia, going on to win the right to host the 2000 Summer Olympics.

The arena was temporarily closed following a terrorist attack by a suicide bomber on 22 May 2017, in which a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured 500 more at the end of an Ariana Grande concert during her Dangerous Woman Tour. Shows that were scheduled to be at the arena were either moved to alternative venues, or cancelled completely. The arena reopened on 9 September for a special benefit concert headlined by Manchester-born singer Noel Gallagher.

Ariana Grande American singer, songwriter and actress

Ariana Grande-Butera is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. A multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning recording artist, she is known for her wide vocal range.

Dangerous Woman Tour 2017 concert tour by Ariana Grande

The Dangerous Woman Tour was the third concert tour by American singer and actress Ariana Grande to promote her third studio album, Dangerous Woman (2016). The tour began on February 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona, and ended on September 21, 2017 in Hong Kong. The tour was temporarily halted on May 22, 2017 by a terrorist bombing at the end of Grande's Manchester Arena show, which killed 22 concert-goers and injured 139. After organizing and performing at the One Love Manchester benefit concert, Grande resumed the tour on June 7, 2017.

Benefit concert type of musical benefit performance

A benefit concert or charity concert is a type of musical benefit performance featuring musicians, comedians, or other performers that is held for a charitable purpose, often directed at a specific and immediate humanitarian crisis.

Arena design

Steps leading to southern entrance from Hunts Bank MEN Arena, Manchester (7263927380).jpg
Steps leading to southern entrance from Hunts Bank

First proposed during the regeneration of Manchester city centre during the 1980s, the structure was designed by DLA Ellerbe Beckett, Ove Arup & Partners, and Austin-Smith:Lord. The arena is sited in air rights space over the Manchester Victoria railway station and was constructed without disrupting use of the station. The original plans included a glass tower which was not built. It originally hosted a seven-screen multiplex cinema, a multi-purpose arena and multi-storey parking. The former multiplex cinema, which opened in 1996, closed after just four years and is now a call centre. Following the bombing, the foyer has undergone renovation which still remains in progress during 2017, although it has been reopened to the public.

Austin-Smith:Lord is a British architectural firm, established in 1949.

Air rights

Air rights are the property interest in the "space" above the earth's surface. Generally speaking, owning, or renting, land or a building includes the right to use and develop the space above the land without interference by others.

Call centre Centralised office used for the purpose of receiving or transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone

A call centre or call center is a centralised office used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of enquiries by telephone. An inbound call center is operated by a company to administer incoming product or service support or information enquiries from consumers. Outbound call centers are operated for telemarketing, for solicitation of charitable or political donations, debt collection, market research, emergency notifications, and urgent/critical needs blood banks. A contact center, further extension to call centers administers centralized handling of individual communications, including letters, faxes, live support software, social media, instant message, and e-mail.

A large truss measuring 105 metres (344 ft) spans the roof. Reinforced concrete is used to increase sound insulation. The upper parts of the building are clad in purple-grey with green glass. [5] The arena was opened on 15 July 1995. [6]

Reinforced concrete composite building material

Reinforced concrete (RC) (also called reinforced cement concrete or RCC) is a composite material in which concrete's relatively low tensile strength and ductility are counteracted by the inclusion of reinforcement having higher tensile strength or ductility. The reinforcement is usually, though not necessarily, steel reinforcing bars (rebar) and is usually embedded passively in the concrete before the concrete sets. Reinforcing schemes are generally designed to resist tensile stresses in particular regions of the concrete that might cause unacceptable cracking and/or structural failure. Modern reinforced concrete can contain varied reinforcing materials made of steel, polymers or alternate composite material in conjunction with rebar or not. Reinforced concrete may also be permanently stressed, so as to improve the behaviour of the final structure under working loads. In the United States, the most common methods of doing this are known as pre-tensioning and post-tensioning.

The arena was one of the first indoor venues in Europe to be built following layout of 360-degree seating, [7] and is the only arena in the UK to have this feature (London's The O2, formerly the Millennium Dome, also has 360-degree seating, but only on its lower tier, whereas Manchester's arena features it on both tiers). Other European indoor venues built to the same concept include the Lanxess Arena (Cologne, Germany), Arena Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia), Spaladium Arena (Split, Croatia), Kombank Arena (Belgrade, Serbia), O2 Arena (Prague, Czech Republic), and the Barclaycard Arena (Hamburg, Germany).

The O<sub>2</sub> Arena Multi-purpose indoor arena located in The O2 in London

The O2 Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the centre of The O2 entertainment complex on the Greenwich Peninsula in southeast London. It opened in its present form in 2007. It has the second highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom, behind the Manchester Arena, and took the crown of the world's busiest music arena from New York City's Madison Square Garden in 2008.

Millennium Dome original name of a large dome-shaped building in South East London, England

The Millennium Dome, also referred to simply as The Dome, is the original name of a large dome-shaped building, originally used to house the Millennium Experience, a major exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millennium. It is the ninth largest building in the world by usable volume. Located on the Greenwich Peninsula in South East London, England, the exhibition was open to the public from 1 January to 31 December 2000. The project and exhibition was highly political and in spite of excellent customer feedback attracted barely half the 12 million customers its sponsors forecast, so was deemed a failure by the press. All the original exhibition elements were sold on or dismantled.

Lanxess Arena music venue and hockey stadium in Cologne, Germany

Lanxess Arena is an indoor arena, in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is known as the 18,500-capacity home of the Kölner Haie. The arena opened in 1998 and can accommodate 20,000 people for concerts. With its capacity of 18,500, it is the largest ice hockey arena outside North America.


The arena during sponsorship by Manchester Evening News MEN Arena, Manchester.JPG
The arena during sponsorship by Manchester Evening News
Phones 4u Arena logo used from 2013 to 2015 Phones4u Arena.png
Phones 4u Arena logo used from 2013 to 2015

The arena was constructed as part of the city's unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics. [8] Construction cost £52 million of which £35.5m was provided by government grants and £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund. Although built as an American style sports arena it has been more successful hosting large music events. [9]

The arena opened in July 1995, sponsored by NYNEX CableComms as NYNEX Arena. In July 1998 it was renamed the Manchester Evening News Arena, or just the MEN Arena, when it was sponsored by the Manchester Evening News newspaper. In December 2011, the paper ended its thirteen-year sponsorship, and the arena was renamed Manchester Arena in January 2012. [10] In July 2013 the arena was renamed Phones 4u Arena after the mobile phone company Phones 4u, [11] but this deal ended in January 2015 after Phones 4u went out of business, renaming the arena back to Manchester Arena. [12]

On the opening night, 15,000 spectators watched Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean perform; the crowd was a record for an ice event. [13] Attendance records were set in 1997 when 17,425 people watched Manchester Storm play Sheffield Steelers, a record for an ice hockey match in Europe at that time. When 14,151 people watched Manchester Giants play London Leopards, it set a British record for attendance at a basketball match. [13]

The venue attracts over a million customers each year for concerts and family shows, making it one of the world's busiest indoor arenas, and was named "International Venue Of The Year" in 2002 in the 'Pollstar' awards, and was nominated in the same category in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The arena was named "Busiest Arena Venue In The World", based on ticket sales for concerts in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 ahead of other indoor arenas including the Madison Square Garden and Wembley Arena. The arena was the 'World's Busiest Arena' from 2001 until 2007 based on ticket sales for concerts, attracting five and a half million customers. It was voted 'Europe's Favourite Arena' at the TPi Awards in 2008 by the touring companies that bring the shows to the venue.

On the evening of 27 May 1999, a reception was held at the arena to celebrate Manchester United's European Cup triumph in Barcelona 24 hours earlier, following the victorious side's parade around Manchester at the end of the season in which they became the first (and to date only) English team to win the treble of the league title, FA Cup and European Cup in the same season. [14]

In 2008, the arena was world's third busiest arena behind London's The O2 Arena and New York's Madison Square Garden. In 2009, it was the world's second busiest arena behind London's The O2 and ahead of Antwerp's Sportpaleis and Madison Square Garden. Although second to London's The O2, Manchester's arena had its busiest year with over 1,500,000 people attending concerts and family shows. The arena hosts over 250 events annually including comedy, live music and tours, sporting events, and occasionally musicals. [15]



Arena during a concert Manchester Arena concert, November 2012.jpg
Arena during a concert

As one of the largest venues in the UK, the arena has hosted music concerts since opening in 1995.

As of 2019, British pop group Take That, who were formed in Manchester, hold the record for the most performances, with 46. During the five-concert Manchester leg of their 2019 tour, the arena was temporarily renamed after the band to honour their 30-year career. [16] Irish pop group Westlife previously held the record with 33 performances. [17]

Spice Girls performed 4 sold-out shows during their Spiceworld Tour in April 1998, 4 sold-out shows in December 1999 on the Christmas in Spiceworld Tour, and 3 sold-out shows in January 2008 on The Return of the Spice Girls World Tour.

On 26 March 2000, English boy band Five performed at this venue as part of their Invincible Tour. The show was also filmed for a concert special called Five Live that was released on DVD and VHS later that same year. [18]

Janet Jackson performed here on 31 May 1998 as part of her The Velvet Rope Tour. Jackson was scheduled to perform during her All for You Tour on 5 December 2001, but the show was cancelled with the rest of her European tour because of possible terrorist threats. [19] Her 2016 Unbreakable World Tour was also cancelled, this time because of scheduling conflicts.

Britney Spears performed at the arena for the first time on 13 and 14 October 2000 during her Oops!...I Did It Again Tour. She has returned on 1 May 2004 during Onyx Hotel Tour, 17 June 2009 during her Circus Tour, in 2011 for the Femme Fatale Tour, and on 18 August 2018 as part of her Piece of Me Tour.

Kylie Minogue previously held the record for the most performances at the arena Kylie Minogue Cropped Sliver Spoon Awards 2012.jpg
Kylie Minogue previously held the record for the most performances at the arena

In 2002, Kylie Minogue performed on six days in May as part of her KylieFever2002 tour. She performed part of her Showgirl Tour on five days in April 2005. In 2007, she performed on seven days in January as the final part of her Homecoming Tour. In 2008, she performed on six days in July as part of her X world tour. Minogue performed on four days in April 2011 as part of her Aphrodite World Tour. Minogue performed again at the arena on 26 September 2014. The performance marked the 30th time Minogue has performed at the arena. [20] It is a record for Minogue as the venue she has played to most in the world; she has played to 400,000 fans in total in the Manchester Arena. [21]

Madonna performed twice on her Re-Invention World Tour in Summer 2004, returning in 2009, on the second leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour. Two shows were planned but one was cancelled due to unknown reasons. Madonna was late on stage in 2015 on the Rebel Heart Tour due to problems with the screen visuals resulting in a shortened set.

Pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston would hold her last concerts ever here, June 16 & 17, 2010 on her Nothing But Love World Tour. [22] [23] [24] [25] Houston died February 11, 2012 at age 48.

In July 2010, the arena celebrated its 15th birthday with a multi-artist gig, presented by Real Radio (North West). [26]

American entertainer Beyoncé performed three sold-out shows at the arena as part of her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour on 7, 8 and 9 May 2013. She returned on 25 and 26 February 2014 for two more sold-out shows. Both shows became the fastest concert to sell out the entire arena. This was the fifth tour Beyoncé has performed at the arena, following concerts for her Dangerously in Love Tour (2003), Destiny Fulfilled...and Lovin' It (2005), The Beyoncé Experience (2007) and the I Am... World Tour (2009).

Take That has performed at the Arena a record 38 times Take That & The Pet Shop Boys, Manchester 12 June 2011 4.jpg
Take That has performed at the Arena a record 38 times

In 2014, Katy Perry performed twice at the venue, on 20 and 24 May as part of her third concert tour, Prismatic World Tour.

Olly Murs performed at the arena on 17 and 18 March 2017, as part of the first leg for his new UK tour, Spring & Summer Tour 2017.

Ariana Grande performed at the arena on 22 May 2017 as part of the Dangerous Woman Tour. After this, a suicide bombing took place at the foyer of the arena. (see below)

The arena was reopened by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and a cohort of local stars such as The Courteeners, Blossoms, Rick Astley and comedian Peter Kay as part of the "We Are Manchester" event on 9 September 2017.

Metallica performed at the arena on 28 October 2017 in front of 19,423 people, as a part of their WorldWired Tour.

On 29 November 2017, Phil Collins performed one night here with his Not Dead Yet Tour.

On 1 December 2017, Gorillaz performed here with their Humanz Tour.

On 10 December 2017, Mariah Carey brought her All I Want for Christmas Is You, A Night of Joy and Festivity show here.

On 16 December 2017, Liam Gallagher performed here as part of his UK tour to celebrate the release of his debut album As You Were.

On 10 February 2018, Kendrick Lamar performed the 3rd date of the European leg of The Damn Tour. This was his first time performing in Manchester since 2013.

On 22 June 2018, Katy Perry performed the 90th show of her fourth concert tour Witness: The Tour.

South Korean girl group Blackpink will perform their first UK arena concert on 21 May 2019 as part of the Blackpink World Tour (In Your Area) schedule here.

Six time Grammy award winning artist Christina Aguilera will be performing here during her 14 date The X Tour on 12 November 2019.


The arena in ice skating configuration Manchester Arena skating.jpg
The arena in ice skating configuration

The arena has been the home of three sports teams: the Manchester Storm and Manchester Phoenix ice hockey teams, and the Manchester Giants basketball team with limited success, as it is no longer used by sports teams but is used for one-off sporting events such as boxing and football masters.

Many boxers have had bouts in the arena, such as Amir Khan, Jermaine Johnson, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe, Mike Tyson, and David Haye. Hatton, from Manchester, became a regular and favourite at the arena.

The arena hosted mixed martial arts events. UFC 70 on 21 April 2007, and UFC 105 on 14 November 2009 for which it set the European record attendance for the largest UFC event outside the US with 16,000 spectators. The arena also hosted UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Munoz on 26 October 2013 as well as UFC 204 on 8 October 2016, headlining was a middleweight championship match between Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. The World Taekwondo Qualification Event for the Beijing Olympic Games was held there on 28–30 September 2007 when 103 countries competed for 24 places at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. In April 2008, the arena hosted the FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships, the first time the event has been held in the UK. The arena was transformed with two 25 m swimming pools constructed in 18 days and seating provided for 17,250 spectators. [27]

Monster truck racing events have been staged but the floor space has to be extended and the front section of seating in the lower tier removed. [28]

Since 2008, it has played host to a week of the Premier League Darts.

On 26 February 2011, it played host to BAMMA 5.

In May 2011, the arena hosted a basketball contest between the Atlanta Dream (WNBA) and the Great Britain women's basketball team, billed as "WNBA Live", the first time a WNBA team had played in Europe. In July 2012, the arena hosted an international between Great Britain men's basketball team and the United States men's basketball team in the buildup to the 2012 Summer Olympics.

In early April 2018, the revamped Dancing on Ice tour performed at the venue.

On 13–15 April 2018, Universal's Fast & Furious: LIVE performed at the arena, as part of the tour's second UK leg.

On 25 August 2018, a white collar boxing match between famous YouTube personalities KSI and Logan Paul was held at the arena. The match was livestreamed via pay-per-view on YouTube.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) have regularly hosted both live events and TV tapings at the Arena, including the taping of both Raw and SmackDown! Live in November 2017 and November 2018, Mayhem in Manchester in 1998, the UK version of No Mercy in 1999, and Rebellion in 2001 and 2002.

On 15–19 May 2019, the arena hosted the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships. [29]


The first stand-up comedy performance was Peter Kay's final performance of his Mum wants a bungalow Tour in July 2003. He worked at the arena when it opened in 1995 and the performance was filmed for DVD release as Peter Kay at the Manchester Arena. [30] In 2005, Lee Evans set a world record for performing to the biggest audience in front of a crowd of 10,108. [31] Peter Kay's The Tour That Doesn't Tour Tour...Now On Tour ran for 20 consecutive nights and 20 nights at the end of the tour – a record for the venue. [32] Alan Carr filmed the DVD for Spexy Beast in Manchester.


On 19 July 2011, (with a final dress rehearsal in front of an audience on 16 July 2011) the arena hosted the world premiere of Batman Live, a touring stage show, including theatrical, circus and stage-magic elements, that focuses on the DC Comics superhero Batman. [33]

The arena also hosts the annual convention of Jehovah's Witnesses. In 2014, this was held on 22–24 August.

The arena also hosted Ant & Dec's Takeaway on Tour: Live on 15–16 August 2014. Over the two days, about more than 120,000 people attended both matinee and evening shows.

2017 bombing

Following the Dangerous Woman Tour concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande on 22 May 2017, a suicide bombing occurred in the arena's foyer area. Greater Manchester Police confirmed that twenty-two adults and children were killed, including the bomber, and 500 were injured. [34] [35]


On 14 June 2017, it was confirmed that the arena would remain closed until September, with scheduled concerts either cancelled or moved to other venues. [36] On 9 September 2017, the arena re-opened with a benefit concert featuring Noel Gallagher and other acts associated with the North West. [37] This was broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester, Key 103 and Radio X. [38]

Technical facts

Panorama of the arena, facing the main stage Manchester Arena panorama.jpg
Panorama of the arena, facing the main stage


The entrance to the foyer of the arena from Victoria station. Manchester Arena entrance from Victoria station.jpg
The entrance to the foyer of the arena from Victoria station.
Public transport access
Manchester Metrolink Metrolink generic.png Victoria
National Rail National Rail logo.svg

The arena adjoins Manchester Victoria station which is served by Northern, TransPennine Express, and Metrolink.

The arena car park is operated by National Car Parks, and has 958 standard and 65 disabled spaces.

See also


  1. Temporarily closed for forensic investigation and repair work due to the Manchester Arena bombing. Events scheduled to take place were either cancelled or moved to alternative venues.

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  5. Hartwell 2002 , p. 237
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  7. Taylor, Paul (13 July 2010). "The Arena put Manchester on top of the world". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  8. Parkinson-Bailey, John J. (25 May 2000). Manchester: An Architectural History (Hardcover ed.). Manchester University Press. p. 250. ISBN   0-7190-5606-3 . Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  9. Taylor, Paul (13 July 2010). "The Arena put Manchester on top of the world". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  10. "MEN Media ends naming rights at Manchester Evening News Arena". Manchester Evening News. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  11. Ferguson, James (31 July 2013). "Manchester Arena signs deal with Phones 4u". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  12. Evans, Denise (10 January 2015). "Manchester Arena to mark 20-year anniversary with name change". Manchester Evening News . Trinity Mirror . Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  13. 1 2 Inglis 2004 , p. 101
  14. "BBC News - Sport - Manchester plans huge victory party".
  15. Will Pavia (5 January 2008). "From unwanted empty shell to the world's busiest venue". Manchester Evening News . Retrieved on 31 August 2008.
  16. "Take That have played a record 38 dates at the Manchester Arena".
  17. "Record-breaking farewell for Westlife at Manchester Arena is a piece of cake". Manchester Evening News. 10 January 2013.
  18. "Five: Live". 5 December 2000 via Amazon.
  19. "Janet Jackson niet in Sportpaleis".
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  • Inglis, Simon (2004), Played in Manchester: The architectural heritage of a city at play, English Heritage and Manchester City Council, ISBN   1-873592-78-7
  • Hartwell, Clare (2002), Manchester, Pevsner Architectural Guides, Yale University Press, ISBN   978-0-300-09666-8