This scholarly and radical book effectively challenges established cultural and architectural histories. It expands the conventional worldview by placing human development alongside ecological development: the history of cultural evolution and the production of cities are set in the context of processes and forms of the natural world. The emergence of the human species and the evolution of culture are shown to be closely coupled to the changes in climate and ecology, while it is described how humans have extensively modified the surface of the earth, the ecological systems that exist upon it, and the climate.
As expansive in its thinking as its reach, The Architecture of Emergence draws from the life sciences, the complex systems of the physical world, anthropology, archaeology and the evolution of human culture. The first half of the book is focused on the complex systems of the physical world - the forms and processes of the climate, the land surface of the earth, the emergence and evolution of all living species and of genetics, followed by the dynamics of individual and collective metabolisms from which intelligence, social and spatial orders emerge – while the second half of the book is focused on the evolution of human culture in relation to climate and ecology and the episodic collapse and reorganisation of cultural and ecological systems. Weinstock’s grand synthesis proceeds from the recognition that to study form is to study change, and that all forms of the world are energy and material systems that have a lifespan, exist as part of the environment of other active systems, and are one iteration of an endless series that proceeds by evolutionary development. Energy, Information and Material flow through all the forms of the world, and human forms and culture have coevolved and developed within those flows.