Architecture In 1975 Focused Mainly On Environmentally

Friendly Homes Essay, Research Paper

Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home! There’s no place like home, the quote written by Payne shows how dear a home is to a person. Whereas a house is referred to as a place of dwelling, a home is more than that. A home is what a person makes of it; a home is given life by the dweller, making the home part of him or her. A home is more than just shelter or a place to eat and relax, it offers security and comfort to the dweller, it allows the dweller to personalize it, to customize, making it his or hers.

The bulk of architecture evident in 1975 centered on one major theme, the environment. Although there were other topics that surfaced throughout the year, they were minor ones compared to how often issues dealing with the environment showed up. More specifically, two particular themes were evident, recycling and the use of natural energy.

Some may ask why the sudden interest in the environment? The answer is simple; looking back a couple of years an energy crisis crippled the nation in October of 1973. People not only did this to aid nature, moreover people wanted to be more independent in case future energy crises should arise.

In addition to just reusing old building materials, recycling was executed on a large scale by renovating old buildings instead of knocking them down and building from scratch. Besides recycling, steps were taken in the creative and high-tech arenas to permit the use of natural energy. As mentioned before, these two issues were not the only ones that were covered during the year, but they were by far given the most exposure.

There were of course different styles of housing employed that year. But what most people focused on were barns, and ingeniously designed vertical houses that provided large amounts of living space on small plots of land. Other than that, a few horizontal houses were built to allow more area for solar energy panels.

While most of the projects dealing with barns were renovations, the first project presented that year in House and Garden dealt with an easy to construct pre-fabricated barn house. Barn houses were popular back then because they provided a vast open living space. This allowed its dwellers to organize the room in a variety of ways to suit their tastes. This particular barn house however offered more, it was economically viable, allowed for easy expansion, and allowed the owner to easily position it in anyway desired on the property. (January 46)

Later on in the year, a barn built with recycled materials was featured. The new barn was built on a plot of land that was long left abandoned. It used old wood from other old barns for its walls, roof and siding. Other barns that year did not go to that extreme of building an entirely new barn from old materials. Rather, most of them were just renovated. In various articles in the same year four barns were renovated into a house, a studio, a guest cottage, and a dance studio.

Barns were not the only buildings renovated, in addition the same owners who transformed one of the barns into a dance studio renovated a gardener s cottage into an art studio. (July 50) One couple went as far as to totally renovate an old inn into a weekend house by themselves with help from a local contractor for major jobs. However, in that particular project, it was not really a renovation at all, they merely transformed the building into the original state it was in almost 200 years ago. (July 46)

Renovating existing structures and recycling materials is one way to help the environment; there is however another option that was employed by architects that year. That option was to use alternate forms of energy and new ways of constructing a house. Instead of artificial lighting, natural lighting was vastly employed in many buildings this year. Natural lighting not only saves electricity, it also provides a host of other benefits. Allowing light to penetrate the ceiling and light up white walls allows a space to appear bigger than it really is. People not only concentrated on lighting through the use of regular openings in the wall, some went as far as to creatively redesign the openings themselves for maximum lighting. For example, in Mike Jansens solar house, he used Plexiglas skylight bubbles as windows because they catch sunlight from greater angles than windowpanes. This allowed more heat to be captured and directed into heat-storage tanks. (October 130)

In an earlier article, a house built by Thomas Johnston uses sun and wind to power itself with a little outside help from kerosene and propane. A single 200-watt wind generator is mounted on the roof to provide electricity for the house. The roof also serves another purpose by collecting rainwater and depositing it into storage cisterns. A single solar panel is also used to heat water for the house. Many openings along the walls and roof provide light, circulation and even breezes to blow away insects. (April 111)

This was also the year the Decade 80 Solar House was constructed. Using the newest technology from a multitude of companies, the house was a model home for energy efficiency. The horizontal layout of the house with the pitched roofs at 27 degrees allowed maximum area for catching the suns rays. Brass famed window walls with PPG Solar bronze glass were also employed to prevent heat loss while cutting down glare. Everything in the house including the security system is powered by energy collected by the solar panels. (August 70)

Not all options employed that year were as radical as the ones mentioned above. Points such as using better insulation and weather-stripping in the roof areas, basement walls, ducts and other openings were stressed. Shading windows to cut heat loss while providing cover from the sun during the summer months were also mentioned. (May 48)

The ideal home that year was one that employed creative ideas and technology to make the most of what was present. The ideal home was not wasteful; rather it strived to be as efficient as possible. It maximized in all areas including living space on small plots of land, light in shady areas, heat in cold areas, cooling in hot areas and more. They were not flashy; the houses of that year were quite ordinary on the outside, but very unique on the inside. The ideal home of that year centered upon vacation homes, a weekend or summer getaway from the owner s busy lives. The houses were used as a place to relax and in some cases to work creatively. The ideals were pretty well followed back then, but as the years have gone by, and the energy crisis forgotten, people now have grown away from alternative energy. Although electronics and homes these days make more efficient use of electricity, people now tend to waste even more energy by using more electrical products and leaving them on when not in use.


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