Daniel A. Barber
architecture, climate change, energy systems, architectural history, environmental history, environmental humanities, climate history, design methods, anthropocene
Daniel A. Barber is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Chair of the PhD Program at the University of Pennsylvania. His research examines historical relationships between architecture and global environmental culture, reframing the means and ends of architectural expertise towards a more robust engagement with the climate crisis.
His book Modern Architecture and Climate: Design before Air Conditioning (Princeton UP, 2020) explores how images and diagrams produced by architects were essential to conceptualizing climate knowledge. Barber’s first book, A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War (Oxford UP, 2016) documents mid-century experiments in solar housing. Together the projects reassess the role of environmental factors in the history of architecture. He has published in Grey Room, Public Culture, and South Atlantic Quarterly, and elsewhere. Barber has held numerous fellowships.
He is co-founder of Current: a platform for environmental histories of architecture, launching fall 2020 and edits the Accumulation series on e-flux Architecture, an annual dossier of essays that explore how media provide access to processes of accumulation, material and symbolic, that are endemic to climate instabilities.
research project at dinâmia'cet-Iscte
Thermal Practices looks at both architecture firms and individual inhabitants as agents of transforming the thermal demands on the designed interior. The provision of comfort is an essential aspect of contemporary architecture: it is integral to our designed interiors, and to the connection between HVAC systems, the fuels that feed them, and the carbon emissions that result. Comfort, however, is in short supply. Not because the world is running out, but because we have to adjust to it going away. This involves a redesign of the built environment, reconsidering and renegotiating the terms of comfort and of productivity, equity, quality, and culture.
While in Lisbon, I plan to explore the dynamic climatic differences across the region, to interview designers and inhabitants of a number of different housing, office, and cultural spaces to understand their daily habits and how they might change as the climate destabilizes.
Daniel A. Barber, Modern Architecture and Climate: Design before Air Conditioning (Princeton University Press, 2020)
Daniel A. Barber, "After Comfort" in Log, no. 47 (November 2019): 45-50.
Daniel A. Barber, "Emergency Exit" on e-flux architecture, (September 26, 2019)
Daniel A. Barber, "The Nature of the Image" in Public Culture, vol. 29, no. 1 (2016): 129-164
Daniel A. Barber, A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press 2016).