Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment

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University of Chicago Press, Dec 15, 1984 - Architecture - 319 pages
Reyner Banham was a pioneer in arguing that technology, human needs, and environmental concerns must be considered an integral part of architecture. No historian before him had so systematically explored the impact of environmental engineering on the design of buildings and on the minds of architects. In this revision of his classic work, Banham has added considerable new material on the use of energy, particularly solar energy, in human environments. Included in the new material are discussions of Indian pueblos and solar architecture, the Centre Pompidou and other high-tech buildings, and the environmental wisdom of many current architectural vernaculars.

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If you read only one book about environment and architecture, this is the one to read. Banham was an articulate architectural historian and critic who was fascinated with technology. He explores and explodes many myths to which most architects and architectural historians and critics tenaciously cling. The book is as entertaining as it is enlightening.
Banham tells us how modern ventilation was born to deal with the pollution created by mid-19th Century illumination devices -- all based on combustion. Brightly illuminated rooms became so polluted, there was a recognition of the need to remove the particles and gases. von Pettenkofer's contribution has been mistakenly identified as the root of modern ventilation theory and practice. von Pettenkofer was brilliant, and CO2 measurements, among others, were valuable contributions to what we know about human occupancy and ventilation. But the Yaglou and Fanger extensions of von Pettenkofer's work unfortunately focus on people as the source of pollutants and have distracted us from the non-human source pollutants.
Before ASHRAE's Std 62-1981, (and unfortunately, for some time afterward) ventilation was primarily regarded as a means of delivering thermally-conditioned and partially filtered air in mechanically-ventilated buildings. That is the heritage of mechanical engineers of today, and it is still driving ventilation system design. When we separate (or return to a separation of) thermal control and ventilation functions, we will begin to (or once again) address indoor air quality as the primary reason for ventilation.
Banham traces the events that led to the architectural profession's abdication of responsibility for the indoor environment. Specialized fields emerged to take over this responsibility, and today's mechanical engineers who design and build and operate HVAC systems in buildings large and small are isolated from the construct of the building as an integrated system require a comprehensive view of the building's functions, structure, operation and use.
If you are designing buildings or are an energy-conscious building occupant, read this book.


Unwarranted apology
Environmental management
A dark satanic century
The kit of parts heat and light
Environments of large buildings
The welltempered home
Environment of the machine aesthetic
Machines a habiter
Concealed power
Exposed power
A range of methods
A breath of intelligence
Readings in environmental technology
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Towards full control

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About the author (1984)

Elizabeth A. Kaye specializes in communications as part of her coaching and consulting practice. She has edited Requirements for Certification since the 2000-01 edition.

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