The Future of Our Homes


Show Notes:


When I was doing some research for this episode I was struggling to really find what I was looking for.

I think what I was searching for was some kind of trend or something to point me in the direction of where architecture is going. How is it progressing and where are the current design thoughts taking us.

If you were to pick up some of the leading magazines in the architecture field you would find almost every article is on some cutting edge modern design.

I ran a cross this article from Forbes. First off I have to say this is one of the most disappointing websites I have ever visited. It has constant popup advertising. You can’t even make it through an article without constantly having to minimize a new popup. Its awful. Why are they interrupting their user experience with ads?

Back to the article I found really the article was very minimal but it was discussing the future of architecture as it relates to residential design. They had 10 ground breaking projects that were supposed to reflect where the housing industry was going.

I can’t remember all of them but the first was
* tornado house – goes underground
* flying house
* house over water shaped like a bunch of circles
* house build over the road because I guess we are running out of land

They were all pretty ridiculous and trying to solve problems that don’t exist. Probably the most realistic one was the tornado house, just simply because it solves a problem, it’s not just some cool form or just visually interesting.

So if you look at all of these houses I start to get the feeling like the architects are just trying to make a design statement. Trying to be shocking right. And we think that this is new. Actually it is not new at all. We can go way back centuries to find architecture that was breaking out of convention to create some grandeur.

Before the mid century most of those buildings were either religious or civic in nature. From the early 1900’s we start to see more unique ideas being expressed in the residential market.

If you look at all the famous structures and architects, all of these guys and gals were making statements. Take for example Frank Lloyd Wright. His creation of the prairie style, the thought that we needed less rooms, but larger rooms with circulation that flowed was a large driving factor in his designs.

So what kind of problems are we solving with this constant evolving and changing architecture? Were the homes before Wright that bad. Was it something that could not have been endured for another century?

As more becomes available to us as a people. People seek out the things in their life that make life easier. Ways of doing things that save time, save energy (at least their own energy).

At the same time we are adding all these complex systems to our lives, we are seeking more simple environments. Spaces that appear to be simple but with convenience. Most of the new architecture has some form of automation to it. Something that adjust and transforms to the situation.

One of the houses mentioned earlier, it had skylights that would tint and open and close with the intensity of the sun. So you could minimize it when the sun is strong and maximize it later in the day and early morning.

This concept is nothing new. Institut du Monde Arabe Paris by Jean Nouvel has a mechanical aperture system that adjust with the sun. The entire facade is a series of various sized circles like the lens of a camera. Just like when you adjust the aperture on the lens of a camera the area of the lens open to light reduces. The facade can actually close the light out by a mechanical system very similar to that.

The way that this is changing is that it is becoming less mechanical. there is less involvement from us on a daily basis. In this futuristic house, you think the home owner is going to be mechanically adjusting windows to reduce light throughout the day. No. Everything is automated. It is set on a computer schedule and there is goes. Of course there would be some kind of override that would be allowed but it would be at the press of a button.

So much home automation is being built into homes. Things that were never possible before. Several episodes ago I was talking about solar. About batteries and storage etc… Well I recently ran across an interesting article by Huffington post. The article is about Tesla. The car company. They have made such innovations with their battery technologies that they are starting to expand past the electric cars and bring the technology to your house. They have batteries now that are made for your home. They mount to the wall and you can run these in series, up to 9 of them. They store your solar energy and make it available to you later. The advantage they argue is space, storage capacity, maintenance, and costs over the traditional battery banks. Plus they look much cooler.

Not only do they store solar but they will also go onto the grid during not peak hours and recharge then during peak hours you can run your house off the batteries so you never pay for peak hour electrical prices. Wow. So I will link up to the article in the show notes.

Tesla Story

Our need for space seems to be getting less and less. At least in some of these larger cities you see people living in tiny apartments with very little room. As we declutter and organize many people are realizing that they don’t need as much space as much as they need quality space. Now I definitely am not completely naive to think that everyone is going to smaller spaces and everyone is starting to appreciate quality over quantity, but some are. The some that are, are the ones that are innovating the most.

Not just technological innovations but more interest is put into the use of materials. Creating unique spaces rather than large expansive spaces. Using materials that have not been traditionally used in the same way. New materials. It seems like every week I have reps showing my some cool new product. The market for interesting new materials is exploding right now. It’s like a second industrial revolution.

The AIA national convention is in Atlanta in the next week or so. I am going to be there going to as many of the talks as possible and visiting the expo. I am sure they will have some interesting products to showcase. I hope to take my mic to the show and get a couple of interviews for the podcast here. I will try and take some video for the site as well.

It might seem like all these innovations are slowly hitting mainstream but they are coming faster than you think. It might seem slow but things are changing radically. It is not being adopted by everyone but it is changing.

Let’s just look at the iwatch. People all over are dogging the new iwatch. Any article you read says, pretty cool but not sure you need it…

We don’t need any of this stuff. Who needs a laptop, we have a desktop. Who needs email on our phone, we have a laptop. I mean I don’t need email on my phone. Who needs an iwatch. I mean I have a smart phone in my pocket, I can just check it.

This is a major shift and it is coming. All these revolutionary devices change how we interact with our environment. If you don’t think that the iwatch will be able to control every aspect of your home your crazy. In less than 10 years everyone will be wearing some kind of device that controls their environment.

Forgot to set the alarm, oh i’ll set it now on my watch. Better yet it knows your not home, as soon as you walk out and out of range it sets itself.

We are just in the beginning stages of home automation. Innovations will be coming that we can’t even imagine.

I hope that you are having great success with the planning and construction of your home. If you want to get in touch with me please reach out to me on twitter or google plus.

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