Architecture and climate have always been linked in a pattern of mutual influence. In its role as a provider of shelter, architecture intentionally modifies the climate of an immediate area – and traditionally, its design has been shaped by the stresses and opportunities inherent in the regional climate. In modern times, this cycle of influence has been obscured, because technology and cheap fuel have allowed architects the option of ignoring climatic cues. In the process, buildings and cities have produced unintentional modifications to climate at different scales, from the local to the global. In tandem with these trends, efforts have been made to better understand the dynamic interactions between the built and natural environments, and to pursue paths for bringing them into balance. This essay traces some of the milestones in these cross-disciplinary efforts, and examines the directions in which leading-edge research is headed. Finally, some thoughts are offered on sustainable architecture in an age of dwindling resources and questionable climatic stability.