Cover image for American building : the environmental forces that shape it
American building : the environmental forces that shape it
Fitch, James Marston.
Personal Author:
[Revised and updated edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 390 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA2543.S6 F54 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Few books have influenced the field of architecture more than American Building: The Environmental Forces That Shape It. Originally published in 1947, it has emerged as a classic work on the relationships among buildings, their inhabitants, and the environment. Now comes the first majorrevision in over twenty-five years, bringing this essential book completely up to date for a new, more environmentally aware generation of architects and designers. In this superb volume, James Marston Fitch provides a fundamental theory of buildings. "The ultimate task of architecture," he writes, "is to act in favor of human beings: to interpose itself between people and the natural environment in which they find themselves, in such a way as to removethe gross environmental load from their shoulders." Fitch systematically examines the various aspects of the environment which buildings control for human habitation--air, temperature, light, and sound, even space, time, and gravity. He draws on scientific research to probe deeply into theseproblems and he sets out the most practical solutions to these and other issues in clear, precise language. Moreover, his analysis runs to the external environment as well, as he explores the impact of buildings on the outside world. American Building: The Environmental Forces That Shape It broke new ground in the school of thought now known as "green architecture"--the philosophy of designing buildings that require a minimum amount of energy and resources to erect and operate. For this new edition, architect WilliamBobenhausen has included new information on sustainable design and the latest construction technology, up to date statistics, case studies, photographs, and illustrations. This revised edition promises to keep this work at the forefront of our thinking about design and the natural world.

Author Notes

James Marston Fitch is Professor Emeritus in the School of Architecture at Columbia University and Director Emeritus of its Graduate Program of Historic Preservation, the first of its kind in the United States, which he founded in 1964. He has served as the first curator of Central Park andwas an editor of Architectural Forum and House Beautiful. For the last twenty years, he has been Director of Historical Preservation for the New York City-based architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle, widely acknowledged for their restoration of Ellis Island and Grand Central Terminal. He lives inNew York City. William Bobenhausen is an architect and Adjunct Professor at the School of Architecture and Environmental Studies at the City College of New York and at the New jersey Institute of Technology. He is the author of Simplified Design of HVAC Systems in the Parker/Ambrose series. He isDirector of Sustainable Design with Steven Winter Associates in Norwalk, CT. He lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where he has served as chairman of the Planning Board and Village Trustee.