Architecture: From Prehistory to Climate Emergency - Pelican Books (Hardback)
  • Architecture: From Prehistory to Climate Emergency - Pelican Books (Hardback)
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Architecture: From Prehistory to Climate Emergency - Pelican Books (Hardback)

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£20.00
Hardback 576 Pages / Published: 10/06/2021
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Waterstones Says

From the Parthenon to hyper-modern Chinese cities, Calder’s groundbreaking analysis of the history of architecture focuses on the interrelationship between buildings and the forms of energy that were available in specific eras.

A groundbreaking history of architecture told through the relationship between buildings and energy.

The story of architecture is the story of humanity. The buildings we live in, from the humblest pre-historic huts to today's skyscrapers, reveal our priorities and ambitions, our family structures and power structures. And to an extent never explored until now, architecture has been shaped in every era by our access to energy, from fire to farming to fossil fuels.

In this ground-breaking history of world architecture, Barnabas Calder takes us on a dazzling tour of some of the most astonishing buildings of the past fifteen thousand years, from Uruk, via Ancient Rome and Victorian Liverpool, to China's booming megacities. He reveals how every building - from the Parthenon to the Great Mosque of Damascus to a typical Georgian house - was influenced by the energy available to its architects, and why this matters.

Today architecture consumes so much energy that 40% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from the construction and running of buildings. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change then now, more than ever, we need beautiful but also intelligent architecture, and to retrofit - not demolish - the buildings we already have.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241396735
Number of pages: 576
Weight: 637 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 38 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'[An] engaging study... It has something of the appeal of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel - that of grounding historical mysteries in material facts... Partly a hymn or elegy to the world that fossil fuels made, partly a warning of the disasters they are bringing... Calder makes a simple and important point, often with engaging and unexpected detail: architecture is indeed made by energy, which makes crucial the next stage of its evolution' - Rowan Moore, Observer

'A brilliantly written and timely investigation into a fundamental truth that is often overlooked: energy, in particular the availability of certain types of fuel, is perhaps the single most important driver of architectural design' - Florian Urban, Professor of Architectural History, Glasgow School of Art

'Brave and brilliant, Barnabas Calder's Architecture is a global history and a call to arms' - William Whyte, Professor of Social and Architectural History, University of Oxford

'Fierce and elegantly written, this book tells the "energy story of architecture" from the agrarian millennia onwards, as we hurtle towards the pending cataclysm. Read here of fossil fuel dependency, sometimes hidden and surprising, and wander the City of London, or, virtually, Shenzhen and repent. Barnabas Calder has written a fine alternative architectural history, with a venomous sting in its tail' - Gillian Darley, author of Excellent Essex

'Finally a book to replace Pevsner's standard history of architecture. Calder retells the story of architecture for the climate change generation. A dazzling tour of the history of architecture told through the lens of energy use' - Dr. James W. P. Campbell, Head of Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge

'With this fascinating deep dive into the energy economies behind buildings, from bone huts to the Barbican, Calder reframes the entire history of architecture for the age of climate emergency. Through this prism, our time of crisis suddenly makes so much sense' - Joe Giddings, Architects Climate Action Network

'A century-spanning, globe-spinning treatise on the thorny relationship between energy and architecture. This book will quickly turn you into an archi-geek' - Bradley Garrett, author of Bunker

'[An] imaginative and ambitious new history of architecture... Engaging throughout... It really is a must-read' - Jeremy Williams, The Earthbound Report

'Calder's book presents architecture as an awe-inspiring history of technology, but is also a record of our exploitation of the earth's resources. In doing so it helps us form a new perspective on how we begin to produce a more regenerative approach to buildings and our planetary environment' - Peter Clegg, Professor of Architecture, University of Bath and founding partner, FCB Studios

'Barnabas Calder's excellent book makes the direct link between the evolution of architecture and society's access to energy. He shows that the ability to build, whether by grain fuelled humans, or fossil fuelled machinery, has determined the scale and nature of architecture across all cultures and all centuries. Within these insights into the past, lie the future solutions to building in a climate crisis. Architects designing for a zero carbon future should absorb these ideas' - Simon Sturgis, Founder, Targeting Zero

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