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Habitat Book - Vernacular Achitecture for the Changing Planet

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Edited By Sandra Piesik

Vernacular Architecture for the Changing Planet

A landmark publication that celebrates humanity’s age-old ability to create buildings that are ingeniously adapted to their cultural and environmental conditions, providing enduring lessons for living today.

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Book Description

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our planet. There has never been a more important time to understand how to make the best use of local natural resources and to produce buildings that do not rely on stripping the environment or transporting materials across the globe.

The culmination of years of specialist research, this once-in-a-generation publication gathers together an international team of over one hundred leading experts across a diverse range of disciplines to examine what the traditions of vernacular architecture and its regional craftspeople around the world can teach us about creating a more sustainable future. Organized by the five major climate zones, covering polar, temperate, tropical, desert and continental, and more than 80 countries worldwide, it reveals how people and cultures have adapted to their environment to make the best use of indigenous materials and construction techniques, and stresses the importance of preserving disappearing craftsmanship and local knowledge before it is too late.

Including contextual essays on issues ranging from climatology, to anthropology and economics; detailed reference section; specially commissioned maps and infographics; and a wealth of illustrations, this landmark publication is a celebration of humankind's resilience and ingenuity in a rapidly changing world, and an invaluable resource document for the future generation who will shape our built environment.


  • Foreword by Tomas Chruszczow
  • Introduction by Sandra Piesik
  • General Essays: Climatology - Catherine Souch; Geology - Graham Lott; Botany - William Miliken; Anthropologist - André Singer; Economic -, Jim Coleman and Henry Fletcher
  • Tropical Day
  • Temperate
  • Continental
  • Polar
  • Appendix 1: Contemporary Vernacular
  • Appendix 2: Natural Disasters
  • Appendix 3: Material Science


''Hefty, handsome … compelling images of mostly everyday dwellings, supported by informative text and impressively complicated maps and diagrams … it works best as evidence and inspiration, as the laying out the amazingly multifarious forms that human dwellings can take'    --   Observer

'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

'Amazing … fabulous photographs, authoritative essays and elaborate diagrams and maps'   --   Irish Times

'An inspiring study of design, use of natural materials and sense of place'   --   Self Build magazine.

About the Author

Sandra Piesik is the founder of 3 Ideas Limited, an architectural consultancy specializing in architecture, design and cultural research. She has worked extensively in the United Arab Emirates, and has focused in particular on Arish. She is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was recently invited to become a Nominator for the Aga Khan Award in Architecture projects.


36 x 28cm

600 pages

1000 Colour Images

First publication date: 5th October 2017

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