Durability in Construction

Tradition and Sustainability in 21st Century Architecture

Edited by Richard Economakis

Foreword by Léon Krier

This illuminating book gathers the thoughts, experiences and examples of finished work and projects under construction by contemporary traditional architects who promote time-honoured notions of durability in their buildings.

278 x 223 mm

224 pages


ISBN: 978-1-906506-55-1


Subjects: Architecture, Sustainability

For centuries the idea of durability was central to the practice of architecture. It went without saying that a building should be made to last as long as possible, with materials and techniques chosen toward this end. Assembled here are the thoughts, experiences and examples of finished work and projects under construction by architects who embrace the notion of durability in their buildings and promote it in their writings. The essays underscore the importance of the notion of an enduring architecture, and reveal the principles at stake; they highlight the many obstacles and difficulties encountered by traditional architects in their efforts to achieve permanence in construction; they review traditional techniques and approaches to building from which contemporary architects may yet learn; and they present new building methods and materials that complement and reinforce traditional building practices. Published in collaboration with the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame.

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Edited by Richard Economakis

Richard Economakis combines practice and teaching in architecture. He is Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame and currently serves as Director of Architecture and Urbanism in the School of Architecture’s Graduate Program. He joined the School in 1996 after years of working with prominent firms in London and New York. He is both a Greek and US citizen and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Cornell University. While in London he worked as an editor at Academy Editions. He is the author of books on the architecture of the Acropolis in Athens, and the towns and buildings of Nisyros, an island in the Aegean Sea. His most recent edited work is the book Durability in Construction, which showcases new buildings that employ traditional techniques, with essays by their authors. The publication was selected as the July 2015 ‘Book of the Month’ by the Royal Institute of British Architects. His design for a Civic Hall at Cayalá received a prestigious 2013 Palladio Award. In 2015 his work in the same town in collaboration with Leon Krier and Estudio Urbano was honored with an Acanthus Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art’s Chicago Midwest Chapter, and an urbanism award from the International Making Cities Livable organization.

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“For anyone who wants to know how the sustainability debate can lead to a world of better buildings and places, this is an essential read.”
Robert Adam

“In a culture where anything goes and nothing matters, entropy is king. We build things that reward us with punishment. These diminishing returns of our techno-narcissism have gone unreckoned, though cruelly visible in the immersive ugliness and anomie of our everyday world. That regime is now winding down in an epochal collapse of linked energy and financial systems. The future will compel us to live differently. This wonderful, richly and beautifully illustrated book is an indispensible guide to the design and assembly of places worth being human in.”
James Howard Kunstler

“This beautiful book offers conclusive proof that the true art of building not only lives on, but is rapidly becoming a conscious cause, among architects, their clients and the general public. It deserves to be studied by everyone who is seeking an architecture that lasts.”
Roger Scruton