Johan Van Lengen is not just an Architect. He build a community, with her wife Rose in 1987, The Brazilian community of Centro de Technolgia Intutive e Bio- Architectura (TIBA) a school for teaching the integration of humans with the environment. That is why Mr Johan Van lengen is different from others. He puts humans at the centre of his discussion. The fact that each of us is well aware that we are responsible for our future.

Book review: The barefoot Architect by Johan van Lengen - Sheet1

If this destructive growth which we call the development of cities continued, the entire planet would be in trouble. Mr lengen’s work on his book implicitly taught the details of the construction. His methods are so simple yet detailed that anyone can easily understand them. A Layman language is the most significant thing that we can learn from this book. His book is one such example in which he explained every detail that we would be crystal clear after going through it.

 Book from beginning to end will hold us and will increase the urge for imbibing more and lead us to turn the pages. Mr lengen teaches us the essence of the building take us on the journey from scratch to the end. He covered every element of design and construction from the basics. Book is to seduce the readers with the way he had elaborated all the details in suave poetry giving a strong message in the end while building a house. A productive and healthy settlement of Human beings.

Book review: The barefoot Architect by Johan van Lengen - Sheet2
“The Barefoot Architect “ book cover page._©

“The Barefoot Architect” is for the audience who dreams of building a home and finding a good solution to build one. Mr Lengen facilitated the piece of information which connects the house and its environment through and through.

The information can be by any means, Graphical presentation along with descriptive writing was the Mr lengen has chosen to convey all of his techniques. It is the strongest part when it comes to building and constructing. Mr Lengen has wisely presented it and every page of the book has its supporting sketches which the readers will certainly enjoy while reading it.

He explained that the “Barefoot Architect ” was inspired by the first architects, living in the distant past, who mixed adobe by treading mud with their bare feet. Barefoot Architects produced the most incredible buildings of antiquity such as the Hanging Garden of Babylon. Interestingly this book does not promote vernacular architecture, according to the author, there are no suitable materials or the skills necessary for vernacular building. The world has changed a lot. This manual is meant to elaborate on the realistic challenges of present-day construction, and to suggest practical solutions by combining traditional and modern techniques.

How to use this Book

This book does not have any rules and regulations in terms of design, in other words, it shows many ways of building a house while using a wide range of materials, thus giving us a great variety of choices without any constraints in its construction. This book promotes deeper understanding and dialogues with the builder. We do not build ourselves. But we can develop the basics and the concepts through the manual to have a crystal clear comprehension while understanding our designs and development.

This book is a bit of everything. The chapters in it are the first glimpse of what is inside and after going through it we can easily decide what material to choose for our building construction.

The book started with the Old Chinese saying which certainly relates to the context of the book. It has 10 chapters in total including an Appendix at the end. Every topic has its essence and consists of a sequence from the initial stage that is designed to the end construction. Mr Lengen started with the base of construction which is design. He explained each necessary term that is required for a person for brushing up on the basics. At first, he started with Design, Climate (each type of Climate in detail), Materials, and Construction. He also covered all kinds of Building services Energy (heat), Water (filtres, Outlets and Inlets, Irrigation) and Sanitation. He split down the topics in a descriptive manner and explained all the technical parts in an organized yet very simplistic way.  

A page illustrative from the first chapter of a book (Language:- Portuguese)_©

A single page speaks on the behalf of an entire book. The title word Desenho means Drawings, which he initiated with the base of designing they are:-The Floor plan, The Section, and The Elevation. A classic book of bio- construction, with more than 700 pages with hundreds of explanatory drawings is a commendable effort to bring a change in the world.

The people who most inspired me to gather and share this building knowledge were those in rural areas “low rent” neighbourhoods in the big cities. Their faith in the possibility of improving their living conditions in spite of the difficulties of their daily lives became the inspiration of this book.


Johan Van Lengen (2008). The barefoot architect : a handbook for green building. Bolinas, California: Shelter Publications.

‌ (n.d.). The Barefoot Architect. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Sep. 2022].


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.