Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Building for the environment

As Dwight Holmes (award-winning architect) said, " I am intrigued by the way that older homes in Florida responded to the environment while the later ones seem to show no awareness of it at all."

The above quote is from Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook (available from amazon.com: Amazon.com: Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook: Books: Joy V. Smith, B&N: Barnes & Noble.com - Books: Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook, by Joy V. Smith, Paperback, and elsewhere). 

We built for the climate--"hot and humid with possible hurricanes and subsequent loss of power."  As a matter of fact, after Hurricane Jeanne went through and we were without power for about five days (some people were without power for a lot longer than that), we were comfortable in our house, while other people went elsewhere or slept on their porches. 

Our house is an adaptation of early Cracker homes; one example of a Cracker house is Marjorie Rawlings' home.  I have an old article from The Tampa Times (September 17, 1980) by Steve Otto about Rawlings' home at Cross Creek, Florida.  He says, "The house is a typical cracker house of the late 19th century, ...  [It] was built to become a part of the environment, ..., unlike today's tightly constructed blocks that are designed to combat the elements instead of coexist.

It is actually three separate units separated by breezeways.  There are numerous windows and doors to offer cross ventilation, and the kitchen is a separate unit ... ."

 

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