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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Building Environment: A Brief Study of Architecture's Influences on Human Survival

  • Author(s): Piacentini, James
  • et al.

If we view the progression of human history through the lens of technology, certain institutions immediately emerge: fire, language, agriculture, the wheel, the internet, and so on. The ability of humans to define and divide physical and ritual space through architectural intervention, however, has been a critical yet under recognized element of nearly all of our species’ developments and engagements, including the creation and utilization of its major other technologies. Architecture, and the built environment at large, can be viewed as a developmental cocoon, within, and through which social, political, and cultural identities are expressed. Through an exploration of architectural activity within an historical and scientific framework, this paper examines the social, political, and cultural motivations which have defined the influence of environmental design, supporting the argument that the built environment has been not just a result of, but also a critical agent in the development and preservation of our species.

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