Thursday, June 30, 2011

Feedback from slideshow presentation

I presented a slideshow at work of my case studies and one comment was that there is nothing new here. This is not surprising as what I am looking for was not new techniques, but ways of using old techniques that meet modern demands. My argument is that the way to deal with climate change is using simple passive techniques and good design from the outset before technology is necessary to overcome climate problems. By using vernacular technologies or designs you are not only reinforcing local cultures but giving people a home they can operate without a huge user manual. One thing that my case studies all have in common is that they all use tried and tested traditional technologies using local or easily available materials; one thing in which they differ is the cultures that they represent and the designs reflect this.

Another key comment to come from the feedback was that, these technologies are all out there, the problem is persuading people to use them. This is particularly true of the Bolivia case study where building in brick is seen as a status symbol and in Papua New Guinea where a tin roof = a rich man's roof. The Australian case study represents a different problem - only architects really want to live in architect designed houses. The architect Lindsay Johnston himself said that people often say 'they don't want to live in a chook shed'.

As a colleague pointed out ' Is the solution a Barratt home with hidden eco technologies?' I would argue that so long as this home does not require hours pouring over a manual to understand when it is allowed to open windows then, yes, perhaps this is the answer, however depressing that may be to architects.

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