Review of "Architecture: From Prehistory to Climate Emergency" by Barnabas Calder – an energetic global history of architecture -26 July 2021
When the great pyramid of Khufu was built, it was faced with pale, smooth limestone, covering up the massive, rough stones that can still be visited today. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, writing 2,000 years after the pyramid was built and 2,500 years before our own age, the limestone bore inscriptions recording some of the stupendous effort that went into the project. Forty tonnes of silver was used to buy ‘prodigious quantities’ of radishes, onions and leeks to augment the diet of the workforce. This was the immense tomb’s energy component: Egyptian sunlight, captured as chemical energy in root vegetables, being used to fuel thousands of sweating labourers.