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Racecourse Architecture


Paul Roberts and Isabelle Taylor
11.2 X 9.4 inches, 272 pp.
Clothbound, dust jacket $65
180 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-926494-83-1
MARCH 2013

click on the cover to preview the book

Racecourse Architecture  is the first comprehensive survey of racecourse buildings across the world throughout the past four centuries. Written by Paul Roberts who has been involved in the planning and designing of racecourses for many years, and Isabelle Taylor, the new book charts the hitherto untold story of the grandstands, clubhouses, saddling sheds, totalisators and other associated structures that evoke in bricks and mortar the rich history of thoroughbred racing.

Racecourses are the stage upon which the drama of the thoroughbred is played out, and their buildings are crucial ingredients in creating the pageantry and theater that are integral to the popularity of the sport. While the best designed racecourse in the world would struggle to attract spectators if it failed to host good racing, physical setting can make or break a racegoer’s experience. Design is the key to creating the raceday experience that draws spectators, jockeys, owners, and trainers to the world’s best racecourses again and again. Yet the architecture of thoroughbred racecourses has not been extensively covered in the chronicles of sporting architecture or in the plentiful literature about racing.

Racecourse Architecture sets out to redress this neglect. In two sections, it recounts the history of thoroughbred racecourse architecture, firstly charting the dramatic shifts in the nature of racecourse environments over the sport’s lifetime, and secondly profiling eight individual tracks in a series of case studies. Formulated to complement the chronology, the case studies offer a deeper look at some of the most important eras and racecourses in the long and varied trajectory of racing architecture. Featured sites include the Hippodrome de Chantilly (France), the remarkably beautiful Club Hipico de Santiago (Chile), Gordon Kauffman’s Art Deco masterpiece, Santa Anita Park (California), and the glass-and-steel Singapore Turf Club complex in Kranji (Singapore).


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