The Barefoot Architect

The Barefoot Architect


A Handbook for Green Building

A former UN worker and prominent architect, Johan van Lengen has seen firsthand the desperate need for a “greener” approach to housing in impoverished tropical climates. This comprehensive book clearly explains every aspect of this endeavor, including design (siting, orientation, climate consideration), materials (sisal, cactus, bamboo, earth), and implementation. The author emphasizes throughout the book what is inexpensive and sustainable.

Take a greener approach to building with this informative, easy-to-follow handbook—more than 200,000 copies sold internationally!

Whether you’re a DIY builder or simply want to understand construction to better communicate with your contractor, Johan van Lengen can help. As a former United Nations worker and prominent architect, Johan has seen, firsthand, the need for a green approach to housing. This comprehensive book clearly explains every aspect of this endeavor, including design, materials, and implementation.

Discover the many options and important decisions you can make—such as siting and climate considerations—that are inexpensive, sustainable, and could save you thousands of dollars while helping the environment. Included are sections about urban planning, small-scale energy production, cleaning and storing drinking water, dealing with septic waste, and more. Plus, all the information is applied to three distinct regions: humid areas, temperate areas, and desert climates. Hundreds of instructional drawings allow even novice builders to get started with ease.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Bio-architecture, basic design, and site planning for humid and dry climates
  • Material tips about adobe, rammed earth, bamboo, plaster, wood, concrete, and ferro-cement
  • Information on foundations, roofs, floors, walls, doors, windows, and eco-techniques
  • Introductions to solar heating, water-powered electricity, water purification, composting toilets, and more

The Barefoot Architect is a perfect book for these times of increased worldwide concern for the environment and for those who desire to build eco-conscious dwellings by utilizing natural resources.

Additional information

Dimensions 5.8 × 8.5 in

Johan van Lengen




The Shelter Library of Building Books

Page Count:


Publication Date

October 28, 2007


Shelter Publications


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