Habitat: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet Hardcover


  • By Sandra Piesik (Author)
  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (31 October 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781419728808
  • ISBN-13: 9781419728808
  • Product Dimensions: 29.2 x 5.1 x 36.8 cm

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Vernacular architecture is architecture without architects; designed based on local needs, these buildings make use of natural resources and demonstrate diverse architectural forms, design elements unique to their culture, and ingenious construction techniques. From bamboo garden pavilions in China to homes made from reeds in southern Iraq, and mud dwellings in Mali to pine huts in Siberia, Habitat showcases the diverse and indigenous materials that can be used to build innovative, sustainable structures.

The core of Habitat is arranged by climate zone, from desert to tropical, temperate to arctic. Within each section, buildings are presented regionally, showing how local climatic conditions and vegetation affect the evolution of building styles. Complete with a range of essays exploring the economic and anthropological aspects, as well as a reference section with information on materials science and engineering, Habitat offers real-world insights into sustainable buildings and stresses the importance of preserving disappearing craftsmanship and local knowledge.



‘An impressive five-years-in-the-making tome’ – Geographical ‘Handsome … striking – sometimes improbable – structures executed with consummate skill’ – Crafts ‘A big book with a big theme … With stunning photography and elaborate maps, it’s an impressive tome’ – BBC Culture ‘Carries the flag for vernacular architecture, and considers how local resources can be used sustainably to protect our plant and its fragile ecosystems’ – Design Boom ‘Traces the changing face of locally influenced architecture across the globe and considers how it can contribute to a sustainable future … beautifully produced’ – World Architecture News ‘An inspiring study of design, use of natural materials and sense of place’ – Self Build magazine ‘Amazing … fabulous photographs, authoritative essays and elaborate diagrams and maps’ – Irish Times ‘A landmark publication … a timely and urgent story of humanity’s capacity to create architecture without jeopardizing the equilibrium of the ecosystems upon which human life depends’ – Aesthetica ‘Hefty, handsome … works best as evidence and inspiration, as the laying out the amazingly multifarious forms that human dwellings can take’ – Observer

About the Author

Dr Sandra Piesik is an architect and a researcher specializing in technology development and transfer. She has worked extensively in the Middle East on projects that reconnect traditional knowledge systems with modern applications, and has led successful research, development and deployment studies on the adaptation of date palm leaf architecture for modern use, which resulted in an award-winning project endorsed by the UNCCD and the book Arish: Palm-Leaf Architecture, also published by Thames & Hudson. As the founder of several multidisciplinary research groups and consortia, she is actively engaged in addressing global climate change. She was co-creator of the Urban and Rural Resilience Programme for desert regions and participated in the COP22 UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech.