Tomorrow’s House: Solar Housing in 1940s America

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In the years surrounding World War II, solar house heating was seen by many American architects, journal editors, and policymakers as a necessary component of the expansion into suburbia. As the technological and financial aspects of home ownership came to take on broad social implications, design strategies of architectural modernism--including the expansive use of glass, the open plan and façade, and the flexible roof line--were seen as a means to construct suburbs that were responsive to anticipated concerns over materials allocations, over energy-resource scarcity, and over the economic challenges to postwar growth. As this article demonstrates, experiments in passive solar house design were a prominent means for envisioning the suburbs as an opportunity for new kinds of building and new ways of living. The article documents these developments and places them in the context of related efforts to think about the future.

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... Around them there were windows, from the floor to the roof, on the twelve sides of the second and third floors. However, with an exposed glass facade, the house was unbearably hot in the summer, so Keck explored methods of shading (Barber D.A., 2014). ...
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Given the magnitude of the energy consumption of buildings, the construction sector is certainly a very important energy study area. Today, the concept of bioclimatic architecture is fundamental and is now an obligation of all engineers and architects. Thus lay the foundations for improving the energy behavior of buildings, minimizing the consumption of conventional energy and greenhouse gas emissions, while also respecting and protecting the environment while ensuring comfortable living conditions, quality and health in people"s lives. The purpose of this study is to investigate the level of knowledge and views of construction professionals regarding the application of the principles of bioclimatic architecture in the design, construction and renovation of buildings in Greece and the reasons for the lack of environmental awareness of Greeks until in recent years, resulting in a limited number of bioclimatic buildings in the Greek building stock of the country. The role played by the state and Greek citizens in the construction of non-bioclimatic buildings until recently is also under consideration.Finally, the present study aims to propose measures that could be taken to improve the energy efficiency of buildings by educating citizens and especially Greek engineers.
We live in unprecedented times - the Anthropocene - defined by far-reaching human impacts on the natural systems that underpin civilisation. Planetary Health explores the many environmental changes that threaten to undermine progress in human health, and explains how these changes affect health outcomes, from pandemics to infectious diseases to mental health, from chronic diseases to injuries. It shows how people can adapt to those changes that are now unavoidable, through actions that both improve health and safeguard the environment. But humanity must do more than just adapt: we need transformative changes across many sectors - energy, housing, transport, food, and health care. The book discusses specific policies, technologies, and interventions to achieve the change required, and explains how these can be implemented. It presents the evidence, builds hope in our common future, and aims to motivate action by everyone, from the general public to policymakers to health practitioners.
Oil is a curse, it is often said, that condemns the countries producing it to an existence defined by war, corruption and enormous inequality. Carbon Democracy tells a more complex story, arguing that no nation escapes the political consequences of our collective dependence on oil. It shapes the body politic both in regions such as the Middle East, which rely upon revenues from oil production, and in the places that have the greatest demand for energy. Timothy Mitchell begins with the history of coal power to tell a radical new story about the rise of democracy. Coal was a source of energy so open to disruption that oligarchies in the West became vulnerable for the first time to mass demands for democracy. In the mid-twentieth century, however, the development of cheap and abundant energy from oil, most notably from the Middle East, offered a means to reduce this vulnerability to democratic pressures. The abundance of oil made it possible for the first time in history to reorganize political life around the management of something now called "the economy" and the promise of its infinite growth. The politics of the West became dependent on an undemocratic Middle East. In the twenty-first century, the oil-based forms of modern democratic politics have become unsustainable. Foreign intervention and military rule are faltering in the Middle East, while governments everywhere appear incapable of addressing the crises that threaten to end the age of carbon democracy-- the disappearance of cheap energy and the carbon-fuelled collapse of the ecological order. -- Book jacket.
Harry Mallgrave’s comprehensive survey of architectural theory, primarily in Europe and the United States, contextualizes architectural discourse within its social and political atmosphere over three centuries of development. He explores the philosophical and conceptual evolution of its ideas, the relation of theory to the practice of building, and, most importantly, the words of the architects themselves as they contentiously shaped their particular niche of Western civilization over time. © Harry Francis Mallgrave 2005 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Edited by Michel Senellart ; translated by Graham Burchell. ISBN 978-1-403-98654-2
This article uses Fairfield Osborn's Our Plundered Planet and William Vogt's Road to Survival to examine the environmental history of two crucial developments in twentieth-century US history: the emergence of a new political economic order in the 1930s and America's emergence as a global superpower during and immediately after World War II. Revisiting the origins of Osborn and Vogt's bestsellers adds an international dimension to our understanding of the transition from the early conservation movement to the postwar environmental movement. It also helps us see how many of the big stories of the mid-twentieth century—the Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the postwar economy—had environmental components. During the 1930s and 1940s, two schools for understanding modernity emerged that would engage in a contentious dance for the remainder of the century: a school of consumption-driven growth most associated with John Maynard Keynes and a new brand of conservation focused on carrying capacity and limits most associated with Aldo Leopold. For the most part, Keynes's ideas of interconnected economies and Leopold's ideas of interconnected nature moved on parallel trajectories. Osborn's Our Plundered Planet and Vogt's Road to Survival struck a chord in 1948, however, because they brought together the two arenas. A consumption-driven world order, they warned, would yield not peace and prosperity, but more war. Linking national security with environmental issues, Osborn and Vogt focused attention on their new approach to an old issue—natural resource depletion—and exposed a growing divide among conservationists.
The struggle for solar energy is a case study of the political and organisational obstacles which society faces in developing a new sociotechnology. American energy policy has ignored the potential of solar energy over the last 30 years, while relying on nuclear energy as the only practical alternative to fossil fuels. It was not until 1979 that a significant shift in policy was made. The Reagan administration has, however, already abandoned the solar goals of President Carter, and has reverted to greater reliance on nuclear energy. -J.Sheail
One of the most difficult problems United States policymakers faced during the Marshall Plan years was balancing the national interest in European recovery with the private interests of U.S. companies with European markets. In this article, Dr. Painter describes how policymakers grappled with the often conflicting interests of the U.S. oil industry and war-ravaged Western Europe. In so doing, he provides a case study of the complex relationship of public policy and private power. © 1984, The President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.
The Prize is a large and ambitious book; it presents a chronicle of events in the oil industry from its beginning in the nineteenth century to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. It is a [open quotes]tour de force[close quotes] packed with characters and assessments of crises, of struggles for oil power and the impact of oil on twentieth century life. It surpasses previous overall oil industry survey books and succeeds in revealing three great themes that the author believes underlies the story of oil, namely, (1) that oil is the world's biggest and most pervasive business where risks and rewards are starkly revealed, (2) that oil is a commodity intertwined with national strategies, global politics, and power relationships, and (3) that the twentieth century is supremely a hydrocarbon society.
Energy policies influence the shape of emergent technological systems, and also condition our social, political, and economic lives. This book demonstrates the difficulties of deliberating such properties by providing a historical case study that analyzes U.S. renewable energy policy from the end of World War II through the energy crisis of the 1970s. It illuminates the ways beliefs and values come to dominate official problem frames and get entrenched in institutions.
Soaring commodity prices and an oil embargo in 1973-1974 alerted Americans to the twin dangers of resource exhaustion and dependence on unreliable foreign materials suppliers. This period seemed to mark a watershed in history as the United States shifted from the era of relative resource abundance to relative materials scarcity. Resource depletion and supply dislocations, however, are not concerns unique to the 1970s. Since 1914, the quest for secure and stable supplies of industrial materials has been an important underlying theme of international relations and American diplomacy. Although the United States has been blessed with a diversified materials base, it has pursued a minerals strategy designed to exploit low-cost, high-quality ores abroad. This policy has led to official protection for overseas private investments, involving a role for the Central Intelligence Agency. Modern historians have neglected the importance of resources in shaping diplomacy and history; this book helps to correct that imbalance. 614 references.
If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s in suburbia, you probably lived in a smallish ranch house that looked like this. That house probably had an "ultra modern" kitchen that probably looked like this. I grew up in such a house and it had such a kitchen. In fact, I think my mom, sister, and self were models for this ad. (Or may be not. My mom never baked, had a job, and generally dressed in what she called "slacks." Very modern indeed.) Anyway, we didn't know it, but our house, kitchen, and "life style" were fighting the Cold War. You can read all about it in Greg Castillo's fascinating new book Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design (Minnesota UP, 2009). The leaders of both the Capitalist and Communist worlds claimed to be able to afford their citizens a superior way of life and in the post-war world "superior way of life" meant more, better stuff. So these same leaders enlisted industrial designers in their struggle for supremacy. The West had ranch houses, avocado kitchens, and pink telephones; the East had neo-Classical apartment blocks, reading-corners, and built-in radios (pre-tuned, of course, to official stations). In the end, I suppose, the West "won," but as Greg points out it did so with a kind of domestic architecture and interior design that has now become so bloated that it is, economically at least, unsustainable. The average ranch house was about 1000 square feet; today the average new home in the U.S. is around 2500 square feet. Al Gore's house is 10,000 square feet (not counting the guest and pool houses). Inconvenient, but true.
Reyner Banham was a pioneer in arguing that technology, human needs, and environmental concerns must be considered an integral part of architecture. No historian before him had so systematically explored the impact of environmental engineering on the design of buildings and on the minds of architects. In this revision of his classic work, Banham has added considerable new material on the use of energy, particularly solar energy, in human environments. Included in the new material are discussions of Indian pueblos and solar architecture, the Centre Pompidou and other high-tech buildings, and the environmental wisdom of many current architectural vernaculars.
A Rapid Method for Predicting the Distribution of Daylight in Buildings
  • Waclaw Turner-Szymanowski
Turner-Szymanowski, Waclaw. "A Rapid Method for Predicting the Distribution of Daylight in Buildings." University of Michigan Engineering Research Bulletin 17 (January 1931).
The American House Today: 85 Notable Examples Selected and
  • Morrow Ford
  • Thomas H Katherine
  • Creighton
Morrow Ford, Katherine, and Thomas H. Creighton. The American House Today: 85 Notable Examples Selected and Evaluated by Katherine Morrow Ford and Thomas H. Creighton. New York: Reinhold, 1951.
Every Family's Right
_____. "Every Family's Right." Ladies' Home Journal 61, no. 9 (1944): 134-35.
Report on the Reaction of the Public to the Exhibition of Small Houses at the Museum of Modern Art
  • Roslyn Ittelson
Ittelson, Roslyn. Report on the Reaction of the Public to the Exhibition of Small Houses at the Museum of Modern Art. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1945.
Gregory Ain: The Modern House as Social Commentary Does Modern Architecture Pay?
  • Anthony Denzer
Denzer, Anthony. Gregory Ain: The Modern House as Social Commentary. New York: Rizzoli, 2008. " Does Modern Architecture Pay? " Architectural Forum 9 (September 1943): 69–76.
A House in the Sun, " 116; A. Lawrence Kocher's as " Most House for the Least Money, " 130; Frank Lloyd Wright's as " Opus 497
  • John Koch
John Koch's house was published as " A House in the Sun, " 116; A. Lawrence Kocher's as " Most House for the Least Money, " 130; Frank Lloyd Wright's as " Opus 497, " 138–39.
11 John Funk's " House in the Sun
FIG. 11 John Funk's " House in the Sun. " (Source: Ladies' Home Journal 62, no. 8 [August 1945]: 116. Reprinted with permission.)
The Modern American House: Spaciousness and Middle Class Identity
  • Sandy Isenstadt
Isenstadt, Sandy. The Modern American House: Spaciousness and Middle Class Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
To Keep Us from Being a Have-Not Nation
  • Henry Lodge
  • Cabot
Lodge, Henry Cabot. "To Keep Us from Being a Have-Not Nation." New York Times, 29 August 1943, A7.
Museum Presents Small House Show
  • Mary Roche
Roche, Mary. "Museum Presents Small House Show." New York Times, 29 May 1945, A7.
Preliminary Report of the Technical Oil Mission to the Middle East
  • Edward Degolyer
DeGolyer, Edward. "Preliminary Report of the Technical Oil Mission to the Middle East." Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 7 (July 1944): 919-23.
Tomorrow's House: How to Build Your Postwar House Now
  • George Nelson
  • Henry Wright
Nelson, George, and Henry Wright. Tomorrow's House: How to Build Your Postwar House Now. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1945. "The New House 194x." Architectural Forum 82, no. 9 (1942): 12-97.