Non-Extractive Architecture: On Designing without Depletion Vol. 1 is an illustrated reference handbook that sets out to find a new approach to architecture, one based on long-term thinking, material resources and their subsequent landscapes, and the integration of community values into the construction industry. As the true urgency of the environmental crises becomes clear, architecture requires fundamental reinvention. The assumption that the building industry can only fulfill humanity’s needs with the irreversible exploitation of the environment, of people, and of the future needs to be reconsidered.
Through a series of essays by architects, geographers, historians, economists, urbanists, and philosophers, Non-Extractive Architecture: On Designing without Depletion Vol.1 explores whether an alternative paradigm in design is possible, and what values it might be founded on. Could architecture be understood as the practice of guardianship of the environment, both physical and social, rather than an agent of depletion? Could the role of the architect deal less with form and more with integration, circularity, reuse, material research, and community-building? Could supply chains be made shorter and could buildings be more closely tied to the economies they exist within? What are the models and metrics that such a paradigm could adopt?
The book draws on a multiplicity of voices and perspectives to examine architecture as an expanded field that connects people and places well beyond the conventional definition of site. Including texts by philosopher Emanuele Coccia on architecture and its connection with all living beings, architect and mapmaker Elsa Hoover on Indigenous communities and rituals of land stewardship, photographer Armin Linke documenting materials and their connected extractive landscapes, and critic Elisa Iturbe on how carbon modernity has been a foundational force in the development of the modern world.
Non-Extractive Architecture: On Designing without Depletion Vol.1 sets out to question some of the assumptions underlying contemporary architectural production from a material and social perspective, and to rethink the construction industry in the belief that better alternatives exist.