Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Building to the weather - what is Original Green?

"Original Green, passive solar, building to the weather."

These are all ways to describe the same thing - how people all over the world have traditionally built to work with their specific climate.

People who look at architecture often see buildings as aesthetic symbols, or evidence of a society's aspirations. Sometimes they see buildings in terms of structure and technology. Often they focus on monuments, places intended for ceremony. Europe's Gothic cathedrals are excellent examples of all those ideas. But buildings are foremost shelter, a place to be inside - protected from the weather, whatever it may be - spaces for living. Even cathedrals had spaces where people lived - cloisters - and often served as informal gathering places.

But our ancestors spent much of their lives outside. They lived without electricity, central heat or air conditioning, so they had to understand their surroundings. They learned how to adapt their buildings to their weather, making their daily lives more comfortable by how they fashioned those buildings. And they did this with no modern technology. Instead, they understood the basic forces: sun, rain, wind - the macro-climate - and their building sites, where topography and geography create specific micro-climates. Their solutions are wonderful, inventive, brilliant. So what I'm saying, is, " Hey, pay attention! This is great stuff! It's all around us, in its marvelous variety. Maybe you are lucky enough to already live in it!"

Read my  7 part series about 'building to the weather' at the Park-McCullough Barn and House


Part 1 - http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2008/04/building-to-weather.html

Part 2 - How does the carriage house work with the sun to minimize wind chill?
              http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2008/04/building-to-weather-2.html

Part 3 - Why bother with a cupola?
             http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2008/05/thats-pretty-amazing-cupola-with-all.html

Part 4 - Eaves? they're important?
             http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2008/05/eaves-for-work-and-play.html

Part 5 - How a floor plan makes a difference:
             http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2008/06/no-tech-warmth-with-low-tech-aid.html

Part 6 -  A look at how these concepts were used at the Big House:
             http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2008/09/big-house-is-green-too.html

Part 7 - Shutters:          
             http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2008/03/shutters-ok-i-know-that-they-were-for.ht

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