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This forward-thinking survey considers the challenges of making buildings that withstand the vagaries of climate, economy, and limited resources. Although the tropics cover nearly forty percent of the world's surface, from rainforests to dry, desert regions, the architecture of this climatically extreme geographic area has gone largely unnoticed by the majority of architectural firms based in North America and Europe. With exploding populations and numerous ecological and economic concerns, the regions are looking increasingly towards sustainable solutions. In this unique study Wolfgang Lauber explores the ways traditional, pre-colonial structures were better adapted to the area's topography and climate than more modern structures built by European settlers. Numerous photographs, illustrations, and plans examine the continuum of tropical architecture - from the mud hut to the colonial mansion, from bamboo sheds to high-rises, from spontaneous building to urban planning. Studies of the works of modern and contemporary architects building in the tropics such as Rem Koolhaas, Oscar Niemeyer, and Renzo Piano show how modern theories can be adapted to the vernacular in Africa, the Americas and Asia to create buildings that are lasting and ecologically sound.