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For almost ten thousand years, unbaked earth has been used to build remarkable structures, from simple dwellings to palaces, temples, and fortresses both grand and durable. Jean Dethier spent fifty years researching this landmark global survey, which spans five continents and 250 sites. The Art of Earth Architecture demonstrates the wide-ranging applications and sustainability of this building material, while presenting a manifesto for its ecological significance. Featuring raw-earth masterpieces, monumental structures, and little known works, the book includes the temples and palaces of Mesopotamia, the Great Wall of China, large-scale urban developments in Tenochtitlan in Mexico, the medinas of Morocco, and housing in Marrakech and Bogota.
This definitive reference features many UNESCO World Heritage sites and contains essays on the historical, technical, and cultural aspects of raw-earth construction from twenty experts in the field, as well as hundreds of photographs, illustrations, and architectural drawings.
About the Author
Jean Dethier has dedicated his life to the research, safeguarding, and development of earth structures around the world. Dethier worked at the Centre Pompidou as a curator of influential architectural exhibits for thirty years. Winner of the prestigious Grand Prix national de l'architecture, he sat on the jury of the 2016 Terra Award, the first international prize for contemporary earthen structures.
"Jean Dethier, a curator and historian, has dedicated his 50-plus-year career to exploring architecture made from earthen materials. This book is both an informative global survey of buildings made from the technique-from ancient Egypt to today-and a call to action: Conventional construction is killing the planet, and we need to introduce more ecologically minded techniques into the fold."
"In The Art of Earth Architecture: Past, Present, Future, 20 experts analyze how buildings made of textured multihued dirt can offer "a comforting material with a strong emotional charge."...The book's 800 illustrations reveal similarities between sinuous walls along Japanese gardens and Libyan medina alleyways, and kindred-spirited caretakers at work on New Mexican pueblos and colorful earthen homes in Burkina Faso. Untold numbers of dirt buildings have been obliterated by wars or misguided modernizations, but earth remains relevant."
- The New York Times
"The Art of Earth Architecture demonstrates the wide-ranging applications and sustainability of this building material, while presenting a manifesto for its ecological significance. featuring raw-earth masterpieces and monumental structures, as well as other lesser known works, the 512 page-book includes the temples and palaces of mesopotamia, the Great Wall of China, large-scale urban developments in Tenochtitlan, the medinas of Morocco, and housing in Marrakesh and Bogota."
"With its stunning images, this book convincingly demonstrates that the renaissance of raw earth architecture is no longer merely a pipe dream but has become a tangible ecological reality. An intense passion comes across in this vision that spans centuries from Antiquity to the present time: it reveals an astonishing multitude of homes, architectural archetypes and cities, all built with the very earth that anchors them."
- Jean-Louis Cohen, historian of architecture, professor at New York University and at the Collège de France in Paris
"From simple dwellings to palaces, temples, and fortresses, The Art of Earth Architecture demonstrates the wide-ranging applications and sustainability of earth construction, while presenting a manifesto for its ecological significance."
- AIA New York
"Used for thousands of years, across many cultures, raw earth is one of the most sustainable building materials invented. Earth architecture is clearly a passion of former Centre Pompidou curator Jean Dethier, who ably mixes in diverse contributions and finds fascinating cases that span the millennia and continents. Raw earth building isn't just for ancient kingdoms; a whole chapter on "contemporary creativity" shows the potential of building technology as a critical climate change solution today. The book is part National Geographic-style photographic odyssey; part architectural call to action."
- The Dirt (ASLA)
"Unbaked earth has been used to create architectural structures for nearly 10,000 years, from simple dwellings to palaces and temples. Jean Dethier, a former curator at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, has sepnt decades researching and safeguarding these structures In The Art of Earth Architecture, [Jean Dethier] explores the use of raw earth as a building material, surveying 250 sites across five continents."
- The Wall Street Journal
"This informative tome speaks to a sustainable future, while "combat[ing] a deep-rooted cultural neglect..This is a perfect book for stimulating discussions about sustainable change and reevaluating city planning requirements."
"The book's seven chapters basically work chronologically, from archaeological evidence of earth construction and its vernacular heritage to modern and contemporary examples, with essays looking at the future of earth architecture closing the book. It is very much a large picture book, but it is also very smart, with essays by Jean Dethier, his scientific committee from CRAterre, and others interspersed amongst the many projects of earthen eco-architecture."
- A Daily Dose of Architecture Books