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The Barefoot Architect Paperback – October 28, 2007
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TBA starts off with a thoughtful design overview which shows how to situate your house, say, to take advantage of the prevailing winds, solar orientation, terrain, and vegetation on your building site. Subsequent chapters cover considerations and methods for building in deserts, jungles, and temperate zones. Granted, not many Norte Americanos will want to build their homes with bamboo, thatch or handmade adobe bricks, but there are plenty of examples of materials and construction techniques that I wouldn't hesitate to use where I live in Northwest Wyoming.
The use of modern insulating, siding, and roofing materials that would be familiar and available to Americans is little discussed. Remember that the primary audience for this handbook resides not in North America/First World, but in the southern hemisphere, where most citizens don't have our economic wherewithal. I would not use a lot of TBA's suggestions in the building of my primary residence, but for outbuildings, walls, gardens, get-away cabins, etc., I would use this book in a heartbeat for my construction bible. Thoreau would have loved it.Read more ›
Stunning piece of work which is accessible to all those in and out of the field of the built environment.
Although all the principals derive from vernacular architecture, they are still as relevant today as when they were first conceived. The illustrations on each and every page make the brick sized book very easy to flip through. This is a real encyclopaedia of timeless knowledge for all those who care about healthy and appropriate building.
You won't be disappointed.
To give you an idea of how clear and good is the book, from 10 people interested in constructing by themselves or with a company, 9 wanted to get a copy of the book, after looking at it (in spanish ran out few years ago).
However, the settings are underdeveloped areas of the world. After reading this book you could embrace any the study of sophisticated "ecological" systems. You can later keep going with modern ecological proposals, but without losing ground, because you will already know what is the purpose behind that "great material" or "new" technique.
A massive paperback of about 700 pages, The Barefoot Architect could almost be considered a complete compendium of indigenous building techniques from Latin America. Van Lengen's approach to explaining the concepts presented is extremely graphic, so the book is full of thousands of hand-drawn images, and these images really help convey the subtleties of designs and ideas.
At the outset the reader is given the basics of how to design a house, along with the fundamentals of drawing plans. The constant objective is to provide the tools for people to come up with their own plans based on the guidelines outlined in the book.
In designing a house, the local climate will determine many aspect of what is appropriate. To help emphasize this van Lengen divides climate zones into "humid tropical," "dry tropical" and "temperate" zones. Most of the strategies presented for "temperate" zones are applicable to building in North America and Europe, although these regions could benefit from a greater emphasis on insulation.
Guidelines are given for choosing a site based on environmental considerations in order to provide sufficient ventilation, light, heat, drainage, etc. The recommendations go beyond single residential development, with public or commercial buildings and whole communities embraced; this is also a book about urban or village planning to some extent.
Each climate zone is examined in detail according to what house shapes and design elements are appropriate.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very interesting book.
It appears to have been written for Peace Corps volunteers or their ilk. Read more
Highly readable with excellent information regarding sustainable building techniques for tropical climates.Published 8 months ago by Look4wrd