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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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