Modes of Concealment: Architecture, Oil, and Historical Method

CAD 0.00

Modes of Concealment: Architecture, Oil, and Historical Method

CAD 0.00

Environmental Histories of Architecture presents the work of eight researchers who each analyze specific environmental relations, crises, and reforms and demonstrate how society and the environment have been co-constructed, represented, and lived in their respective geographies. While their essays are published independently as chapters, together they cover an expansive range of thinking about how the environment changed, and was changed by, architecture.


In Chapter 3, Daniel Barber renders oil (as used to heat and cool sealed interiors) visible in postwar North American architecture by drawing on analyses of petroculture, particularly the road novel as well as other literature, art, and film. Barber uses the Seagram Building in New York (1957) and the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (1958) to demonstrate how the International Style created buildings that as cultural object and technical systems explicitly relied—for their functionality and aesthetics—on cheap energy, concealed in their façades, floors, and ceilings. Relative to current claims for future energy transition, Barber argues, among others, that the solar alternatives propagated since the 1970s must be studied against the backdrop of scarcity and of today’s petroleum-centred society and economy.


Author: Daniel Barber

Editor: Kim Förster Managing

Editor: Claire Lubell

Copyeditor: Lucas Freeman

Other contributors: Aleksandr Bierig, Nerea Calvillo, Kiel Moe, Jiat-Hwee Chang, Hannah le Roux, Isabelle Doucet, Paulo Tavares, Kim Förster

Graphic Design: Tessier A

Programming: Rosen Tomov


Published by the CCA and distributed open access through Library Stack.

This open-access publication is made available according to the terms of the license CC BY-NC-ND.


Click here to download the PDF.

Add to cart to download the ePub.

You have successfully subscribed!
Our purchase system is limited for now to deliveries in Canada and the United States. We can still ship your order if you send us an email. Please send your book order and mailing address to, and we’ll get back to you within one business day. Thanks!