Friday, May 9, 2008

Smart Design

Architect Michelle Kaufmann recently designed a sustainable, modern pre-fab home that is on display at Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry. Architects have learned a lot in recent years about how to build homes that work much more efficiently with their environment, showing us how we do not need to continue building houses like we did 200 years ago. Most houses built today are still built from an ancient model with little thought given to true spatial and environmental design. They are designed to maximize profit for the mega-developer company who is overseeing the project. The mega-developer cares little for how much money you will spend on energy over the life of the home, or how well your home interacts with the neighborhood. It doesn't care about conserving water or emphasizing passive solar heating and cross-ventilation cooling because most Americans are not yet clamoring for these features. But we will be.

Eventually sustainable, modern design will become the norm simply because it is far superior to the ancient model. Virtually every other industry has seen dramatic changes in the past several decades, so why not the home? I see a day not too far off where power lines are rendered virtually obsolete because each home will be able to generate all the power it needs.

Open your mind and check out some modern pre-fab. And if you're visiting Chicago this summer, tour the SmartHome at the Museum of Science & Industry. Tour the WWII German U-boat, too.

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