Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet

Joana Lazarova | Sandra Piesik

Text: Joana Lazarova
Photography: KeystoneUSA-ZUM/REX/Shutterstock, Wolfgang Kaehler, Sandra Piesik, Anna Heringer, Bernd Bieder, imageBROKER

Dr. Sandra Piesik is an architect, curator, and writer specialising in technology development and transfer of natural materials, and the implementation of global sustainable legislation. Her new book, Habitat: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet, published last month by Thames & Hudson, is “a collective contribution towards shifting sustainable development paradigms including the role of cities and the built environment on the changing planet. It includes contributions by over 140 scholars from 50 countries.” The immense threat of climate change has given rise to a whole spectrum of ethical and political concerns within the realm of architecture. This book sheds light on vernacular architecture that includes a critical understanding of a building’s history, providing a framework for what we can learn from ecologically coherent habitats and how we might confront contemporary realities. A collection of projects, essays, and imagery, the book presents unexplored views on architecture and creates a set of alliances which are drawn between people and places in the five major climate zones, covering tropical, desert, continental, temperate, and polar regions. “I hope that it will serve as a starting point for a new conversation about and engagement with placemaking,” the author commented.

In a recent interview for UrbanNext, she provided us with more insight into her work.

Miyako City, Japan in 2011. Motion between the rocky plates that form the Earth’s surface is not smooth. The accumulated pressure between plates can result in sudden ruptures when the two sides move, causing an earthquake.


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HABITAT: Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet, edited by Sandra Piesik.
Published by Thames & Hudson: 5 October 2017, Price: £98.00 hardback.
HABITAT is also published in the USA by Abrams, in France by Flammarion, in Germany by Edition DETAIL and in Spain by Blume.
Dr Sandra Piesik is a panellist during the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn Side Event Endogenous Technologies and the Natural Capital. Cross-Sectorial Capacities for Adaptation”, 13th November 2017, Mali Pavilion