cover image From Bauhaus to Ecohouse: A History of Ecological Design

From Bauhaus to Ecohouse: A History of Ecological Design

Peder Anker. Louisiana State University Press, $34.95 (188pp) ISBN 978-0-8071-3551-8

The growing public profile of climate change concerns have brought ecologically-minded programs like LEED to the forefront of today's building design industry, but New York University science historian Anker claims, in this 50-year survey, that design has long been linked to ecology and science. The Bauhaus school began this interchange in the 1930s, ""a period in which many biologists turned their attention to avant-garde modernist architecture... as a way of improving social health and the environment"" while designers looked to biology: ""true functionalism to them was a matter of designing according to the laws of nature."" Anker profiles designers including Gropius, Bayer, and Fuller, and discusses attempts to integrate design and nature in projects like the London Zoo, Fuller's ""4D Tower House,"" Biosphere 2, and spacecraft. Disappointingly, Anker's history ends in the 1980s, appended with some generalizations about the present (as well as a glossary and thorough references). A lack of illustration will also limit this detailed (though didactic) volume's appeal to students and professionals.