Alan C. Short, a professor of architecture at the University of Cambridge, has just released a book entitled “The Recovery of Natural Environments in Architecture: “Air, Comfort and Climate” in which he says that current building practices have become energy inefficient by sealing us off from the world around us. Instead of blocking out these natural forces and relying on mechanical systems to control our indoor environments, Short says that we should harness them to naturally heat, cool and promote airflow in our structures.
We got with professor Short as part of our One Big Question (OBQ) seriesand asked him: How could we better today’s buildings by looking to the past?
Here’s what he had to say.
Modern buildings are denatured compared to their predecessors designed before the era of universal air-conditioning, of “artificial weather.” There is now a fetish for super lightweight glass building envelopes with no resilience to the climate outside, incapable of sustaining a habitable environment inside without the gas-guzzling life-support infrastructure provided by air conditioning. And it really is gas-guzzling.
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