Humans crave physical comfort just as much as the next species. Of course, no other species is so fully equipped to transform the environment. A quick walk around Columbus–or the MUW campus–confirms as much. Witness the stately antebellum homes with high ceilings, huge windows, and hardwood floors; think about the resources expended to make and maintain such buildings, from the first tree cut to the last servant, slave or free, used to keep up appearances. They’re marvels, these old buildings, and they’re remarkably inefficient.
Turn the corner and you’re likely to see a ranch-style building whose design depends largely on the availability of air conditioning. Without it, heat would get trapped inside those low ceilings and render the dwelling unusable. With it, of course, you’ve got considerably advanced efficiency over the old mansions–and considerably less curb appeal.
So, here’s the question of the week: how will architecture, engineering, environmentalism, and esthetics come together to shape our future homes? What will be the most important features? Where will we put those houses–in town, or on the never-ending edge of sprawl?