EU shipping is temporarily suspended


Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet

Sandra Piesik

Out of stock


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

See Inside


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.

Read More


'Hefty, handsome … works best as evidence and inspiration, as the laying out the amazingly multifarious forms that human dwellings can take'

'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'

'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

'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

'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

'A big book with a big theme … With stunning photography and elaborate maps, it’s an impressive tome'
BBC Culture

'Handsome … striking – sometimes improbable – structures executed with consummate skill'

'An impressive five-years-in-the-making tome'

Read More

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 36.0 x 28.0 cm

Extent: 600 pp

Illustrations: 1000

Publication date: 5 October 2017

ISBN: 9780500343241

Contents List

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

About the Author

Dr Sandra Piesik is an award-winning architect, author and scientist specialising in a diverse range of subjects from art and design to the implementation of global sustainable legislation, nature-based solutions, innovation, technology transfer and contemporary adaptation of traditional knowledge. She is the founder of 3 ideas, an Amsterdam-based consultancy, a member of the New European Bauhaus EU initiative, an advisor to UNFCCC, and a former senior consultant to UNFCCC, UNCCD, and UN-HABITAT Global Solutions Division on territorial integration. Her diverse global engagements range from art and design projects, leading research & development initiatives, international lectures, judging competitions, the nomination of awards, and collaboration with the European Union entities.

List of Contributors

Sandra Piesik

Related Topics