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This session has been postponed and will take place in the Spring of 2022 || Public Lecture & Masterclass w/ Daniel A. Barber organized by the Political Ecologies Research Group | Contact: Maithri Maithri:

Event details of Architecture in the Aftermath
Date 19 November 2021

How will architecture adjust to the unexpected conditions for life in the climate emergency? In this talk and discussion, I will outline a history of architecture as a device for climatic adaptability - a dynamic mediator between thermal interiors and global climates; architecture as an energetic system that, over time, has both monitored and managed flow. I will draw on a number of under-valued histories of shading devices, thermal materials, and solar energy design strategies, and contrast them to the all-glass sealed and conditioned towers being built in cities today.

The goal of 'carbon-neutral by 2050' suggests that we need to base architecture on a different carbon cycle: eliminating hydrocarbon fuels and their emissions, as well as cycling, storing, and pooling carbon in new ways through buildings. The focus of the presentation will be on buildings themselves – again, a history of architecture as a device for climatic adaptability -- and also on the interactions they solicit: how climatic adaptive buildings cultivate habits and patterns less reliant on carbon emissions.

Mapping the changing connection between carbon emissions, indoor comfort, and climate instability, I am also interested in establishing a break, a hinge, a historical recognition that the architecture of petroleum, of energy profligacy, is behind us. Architecturally, we live in the aftermath. As we change our practices and forms of knowledge, we draw on history, practices, and traditions in different ways. I hope to follow the presentation with a collective discussion considering architectural histories and the tools, systems and collective future of climate change mitigation. 


Daniel A. Barber is Associate Professor and Chair of the PhD Program in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. His research and teaching narrate eco-critical histories of architecture and seek pathways into the post-hydrocarbon future. His most recent book is Modern Architecture and Climate: Design before Air Conditioning (Princeton UP, 2020) following on A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War (Oxford UP, 2016); A recent article “After Comfort” has encouraged reflection on architecture’s role in the climate crisis. Daniel edits the accumulation series on e-flux architecture and is co-founder of Current: Collective on Environment and Architectural History. His presentation will draw on his current position as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Centre for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies at Universität Heidelberg

Primary Readings:

  1. Holly Jean Buck’s “After Geoengineering,” 1-50. As desired read the rest of the intro… (to pg 100)
  2. Nicolę Starosielski, “Thermal Violence”
  3. Daniel A. Barber, “After Comfort”

Secondary Readings: 

  1. Thomas Leslie, et. al., “Deep Space Thin Walls” for those less facile with some of the architectural issues
  2. Daniel A. Barber, “Architecture, Media and Climate” for those who want more details on my work. 
  3. Jennifer Wenzel, “Reading for the Planet'' for those more focused on the literary and conceptual dimensions of planetary crises. 

For registration and readings, contact