The book

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Download free chapter [Germany Maintains]


[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture merges the wisdom of place with the best contemporary worldwide design principles, all mindful of our aspirations but based on the logics of the surrounding cultural and natural environment.

It is a way to allow a building to find itself, wherever it is.

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What lesson does the largest sustainable office building in the Southern Hemisphere, the smallest of houses in Tokyo, and an underground shopping mall in Mexico City share? They are in fact a perfect response to their conditions. They provide pronounced insights into the challenges and opportunities of contemporary environmental architecture throughout the world. An authentic architecture has emerged– from Melbourne’s kinetically charged buildings, Tokyo’s tiny homes, Cascadia’s large wood, Germany’s energy efficiency, Copenhagen’s bike culture, and Spain’s elegant day lit commercial buildings. These are new architecture archetypes which boldly anticipates the needs of the future by using place as the catalyst.

[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture explores the possibilities and promise of deep sustainable building design through the lens of some of the most provocative projects and esteemed architects of our time. Michler explores and documents the work first hand, and with extensive commentaries from the architects, readers gain a unique insight into how these buildings function in the context of their culture, environment, and utility.

Hyperlocalization is the synthesis of these conditions, challenging the conventions of what a building can be. Hyperlocal architecture captures concepts such as resilience, zero carbon, and regenerative, terms Michler calls aspirational architecture, and turns them into grounded and provocative fully realized forms._DSC9056

[Japan Condenses] While micro home design is a fashionable subject and often given credit as a sustainable typology, the elements of building cost, services and transportation access, as well as temporal use and daylighting are just as critical for these homes to work as intended. In Japan the fusion of culture and inventiveness merge in manifestation of some of the most provocative small living spaces in the world, demonstrating how we can live better with less.


[Spain Wraps] Daylight is a core asset in larger scale Spanish architecture and has been mastered by the use of second skins, which both eliminate artificial light in the daytime but also allows the building to stay cool, dramatically reducing it need for energy. These buildings go well beyond beauty and function though by embedding a human value into what is often a difficult scale to design for.

Pixel Building / Studio 505 / Melbourne

[Australia Unfolds] Australia provides the most comprehensive group of environmental building designs. While striking in their distinctive and deep use of natural resources to provide quality living and working environments they also share a kinetic spirit. The design vocabulary is emulated in personal ways but these projects use the gesture of motion to engage with the place they are in.

Kunstmuseum Ravensburg / Lederer + Ragnarsdóttir + Oei / Ravensburg

Other chapters include [Germany Condenses] and the world’s first Passive House museum which is shortlisted final five for the Mies Van der Rohe award for 2015, [Cascadia Harvest] featuring the timber framed Bullitt Center, considered the world’s most sustainable office building, [Mexico Embeds] where subsurface architecture is taking root, and [Denmark Plays] which embraces a culture of inventiveness epitomized by 8 Tallet in Copenhagen.

The book opens with conversations with visionaries including Edward Mazria’s analysis of the significant impact of buildings in climate change, Dr. Wolfgang Feist on the extraordinary low energy Passive house movement, and William McDonough on how to create a design ecosystem that not only solves many of the ills of building design but how we approach design as a healing agent. Featuring a foreword by Lloyd Alter and a unique online index for each project directly accessible from the book via smartphone.

Foreword by Lloyd Alter

Interviews and Projects by:

studio 505, PHOOEY Architects | William McDonough + Partners | KUD Architects | Berta Barrio Arquitectos | Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp. | Unemori Architects | Andrew Maynard Architects | Hassell Studios | Kavellaris Urban Design | Lederer + Ragnarsdottir + Oei | Casey Brown Architecture | Edward Mazria | Peter Busby Perkins+Will | Sean Godsell | Canvas Arquitectos | Dr. Wolfgang Feist | DesignInc | A.L.X. | BIG | Yasuhiro Yamashita | Miller Hull Partnership | KMD Architects | MHN Design Union | Schemata Architecture | Coll-Barreu Arquitectos | Voluar Arquitecture | Durbach Block Jagger | Ramón Fernández-Alonso Arquitect

Praise for Hyperlocalization of Architecture


“the book ‘[ours] hyperlocalization of architecture’ can be seen as a contemporary experimental guide for future designers and produces different approaches to ‘ordinary architecture’ with regional sources or materials.”

“The book is a richly textured exploration of how design responds differently and very much regionally in achieving sustainability.

The architects speak at length about the process of thinking out the design and the context and influences that shaped it, and very much appear in their own authentic voices.”


“In his forthcoming book, Hyperlocalization of Architecture, author and Passive House consultant Andrew Michler turns his lens to contemporary architecture, but his focus is on a very timeless concept.”


“Hyperlocalization of Architecture is a new, fresh and uber-contextual book.”

“Cactus won’t thrive in Minnesota, and mangroves don’t flourish in Arizona. But the same damned building dominates the cityscape everywhere. As Andrew Michler makes clear in this wonderful book, that is spherically senseless. Buildings designed for their particular site can be ultra-efficient, beautiful, wondrously varied, and deeply resilient. It is long past time for the built environment to learn a few basic lessons from the natural environment.”

– Denis Hayes
President Bullitt Foundation
Founder of Earth Day
“This gorgeous book is an impressive collection of the greenest and most beautiful buildings in the world. Michler’s keen analysis provides a new insight into each design in a way that illuminates the design lessons hidden within. By pulling together these incredible projects and renowned architects, this book provides the inspiration you’ll need to pursue deep sustainability in your own projects.”
– Eric Corey Freed
Architect & Author of 11 books
Vice President, International Living Future Institute & the Cascadia Green Building Council

“[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture brilliantly delves into contexts and operations which is what an architecture of sustainability is made up of. Reflecting on design, not flair, Michler perfectly inhabits design -if we redefine the word to indicate logic engaging with the environment. In so doing, he generates new powerful classifications of ‘locale’.”

– Mitchell Joachim
Professor NYU and Co-Founder, Terreform ONE

“How do we come to terms with the fact that Sustainable Architecture can encompass everything from Japanese microhousing to Mexican shopping malls? The new book Hyperlocalization of Architecture: Contemporary Sustainable Archetypes by Andrew Michler gives us some new tools to understand this vast, disorganized movement. I recommend it to anyone who wants a richer understanding of what’s going on, globally, in architecture.

“Michler traveled to several destinations around the globe and found (for the most part) unfamiliar architects working out new ideas about sustainable architecture. The format, which juxtaposes interviews with the architects and well-illustrated projects, is outstanding, because the reader can toggle back and forth to assemble meaning out of words and images. The effect is one of discovery. What does Sean Godsell mean when he talks about “playing with childhood memory”? I turn the pages and begin to locate what this means in the building images. Michler also offers some interpretive passages, and rather than being intrusive they tend to offer more clues.

Michler’s book is full of wonderful revelations. The real strength of the book is in its curatorial sense of adventure. Who knew, for example, about the wonderful Spanish architect Berta Barrio and her projects such as Biblioteca de Can Llaurador? Now I do! I love her notion that “We are not comfortable if we are just looking for shape when we design.” (This theme of anti-formalism seems to run through the book.)

Like me, Michler loves Japan and seeks to understand its peculiar customs. His observant essay “Japan Condenses” begins with this paradox: “A new house may have practically no insulation but the toilet seat is always heated.” What does this mean for Sustainable Architecture? His answer cleverly touches on everything from building science to urbanism to Japanese shopping habits. Michler’s ability to deftly connect the dots across disciplines results in insights which are both smart and fun.

Of course Sustainable is a slippery word and it’s a common criticism that Sustainable Architecture is interpreted differently in different places. But I think Michler wants to celebrate that Sustainable Architecture will look different in one place than another. And his term Hyperlocalization even suggests, I think, that sustainability goals will be achieved differently in one place than another. In other words, Michler is arguing For a Contingent Architecture, one produced as people respond to the peculiar physical and cultural needs and opportunities of their place.

What Michler’s book finally shows us is that the world of architecture is pluralistic and dispersed, and it’s at the beginning of a profound revolution; this is really exciting stuff.”

– Anthony Denzer
Author of The Solar House
Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at the University of Wyoming

“If we had trees that made zero emissions we are all dead. Why wouldn’t you want buildings like trees? When you think of it like that then it’s rather obvious. This is all based on human creativity, and the ability for us to advance and continuously improve with freedom from the remote tyranny of bad design. Why should I be tyrannized about yesterday’s bad decision? It’s much more fun to improvise, constantly. That’s why the cultural question becomes interesting because at that point the culture can express itself in a creative way. It still has integrity because you’re expressing yourself creatively within a context. You’re solving for rich, local problems. All sustainability, like politics is local. It has to be.” – William McDonough in [ours]


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[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture (LARGE)

Groundbreaking architecture theory
Extensive interviews
264 Pages
350 photographs
Online project index with multimedia

ORDER from eVolo

The Institute for the Built Environment assisted in site selection and research.

About eVolo Press: eVolo is host of the annual Skyscraper Competition, one of the world’s most prestigious awards for conceptual architecture. eVolo Magazine focuses on the world’s most innovative architecture ideas and projects with an emphasis on parametric design. eVolo Publishing produces art quality books on contemporary architecture theory and design.




Andrew Michler

Certified Passive House Consultant and Building Designer


View Andrew Michler’s profile
Born and raised in Oakland, California Andrew found his way to a pine forest in the Colorado Rockies where he has lived off grid for 20 years. He is a building designer and Certified Passive House consultant. Blending his long time experience in design/construction, art, and sustainable building research into the written word he began exploring contemporary buildings for the environmental design website Inhabitat, eVolo Magazine and many other publications. His work has also led him to investigate Passive House to explore the deeper meaning of low impact architecture and completed the first certified Passive House in Colorado which was the 2018 Grand Overall Winner for Green Home of the Year Award. His wide ranging exploration of design and environmental impact has led him all over the world, stepping to the edges of contemporary environmental architecture, and to come to terms with the enormous effect we have with our built environment. He lives with his wife and artist Jennie Kiessling.