Architecture
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A ground-breaking history of architecture told through the relationship between buildings and energy.

About the Author

Barnabas Calder is a historian of architecture and Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, specializing in the relationship between architecture and energy throughout human history. He also works on British architecture since 1945, and is the author of Raw Concrete- The Beauty of Brutalism. Twitter and Instagram- @BarnabasCalder #ArchitectureAndEnergy

Reviews

Provocative, enlightening... Calder is the perfect guide around some of mankind's most substantial achievements, but never swerves away from asking hard questions -- Best Books of 2021 * Herald *
[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 survey of construction and its entanglement with energy use... Superb * Financial Times *
An essential read: clarifying, alarming, but hopeful * Architects' Journal *
An insightful, often impassioned journey through the history of buildings -- Simon Ings * New Scientist *
[A] powerful, disturbing account of architecture and energy since ancient times -- Andrew Robinson * Nature *

Calder has written an energetic global history of architecture - energetic both in the vim he brings to a colossal subject, and in its particular focus... For the general reader, it's an entertaining and original introduction to the history of architecture. For the architect, it helpfully sets the daunting challenges of our day in lively and inspiring context

-- Will Wiles * RIBA *
A highly readable world history of architecture... This book will help to reinforce the crucial role of architecture in tackling the climate crisis -- Catherine Croft * RIBA Journal *
Calder's brilliant book [...arises from] a truly astonishing depth and breadth of research [...and] develops a new frame for architectural writing which frankly makes some of the previous architectural histories look at best parochial, or at worst irrelevant in the face of the global climate crisis -- Professor Jeremy Till * Buildings and Cities *
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
Arguably the most important new contribution to the field of architectural history in decades -- James Benedict Brown * Journal of Architecture *
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
Grand in scope... A splendid pause for thought -- Alistair Fitchett * International Times *
One of the most significant architectural publications in recent years... A fascinating history of architecture, a must-read for anyone interested in the relations between energy and architecture in history, and an important contribution to the discourse on energy in light of the climate emergency * The Drouth *
Detailed and insightful -- Nick Newman * RIBA Journal *

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