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Jackie Craven



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Old House, Energy Hog?

Monday April 14, 2014

Why do the front doors in many older homes open into a vestibule hallway with stairs? Preserve energy-efficient original designs, like this entrance foyer Could be to save energy.

We took a look at the U.S. National Park Service's Preservation Brief 3, Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings, and summarized the results in our article, Make Your Home More Energy Efficient. The authors of this Brief give us a lot of pointers and suggest many actions that may improve energy consumption. They also tell us to look at the architecture of old buildings and try to determine the reasoning behind the designs.

Breezy porches in the south and thick adobe walls in the southwest helped deflect the heat. It could be that entryways like the one shown here compartmentalized cold air in the winter and transferred cooling breezes to upper floors in the summer. Everyone who has an older house knows that they rarely come with instructions, so improving energy efficiency requires analysis, thought, and patience.

So, I really want to hear from you. This past winter was terrible. How did you save energy at your house? What do you plan to do to prepare for the summer heat and next winter's unpredictabilities? Let us know.

Photo of traditional, energy-efficient foyer by Lived In Images / Collection: The Image Bank / Getty Images

Mr. Jefferson, the Architect

Sunday April 13, 2014
Wa-hoo-wa, Mr. Jefferson! The Founding Father may not have scored a touchdown, but his architecture gives the Wahoos plenty to cheer about. Columns and dome, Rotunda, Lawn, University of Virginia, designed by Thomas Jefferson.

Taking inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome, Thomas Jefferson designed the pride of UVA, the Rotunda (shown here). His own home, Monticello, follows the same circular plan, and became a model for the twentieth century architects who designed the circular, domed Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC.

Mr. Jefferson was born on this day, April 13, in 1743. What other architects were born in April?

The Many Lives of Thomas Jefferson:

Photo of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia ©2008 Patrick Morrissey/Flickr.

Don't Miss Architecture Week

Thursday April 10, 2014
Want to win a $100 gift card just by loving architecture? Victorian house in Louisville, Kentucky Now's the time to give your best shot to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

During National Architecture Week, April 6-12, snap a photo of "your favorite or most inspirational local architectural site." Then upload one or more of your masterpieces to Instagram or Twitter (tag it #archweek14) and you'll be entered in the AIA's Architecture Is Awesome Contest. Three winners will be announced April 16.

"From churches, hospitals, and libraries to homes, stores, and mixed-use areas, from windows and doors to stairs, we want to see what inspires you," says the AIA. See It. Snap It. Share it. But you'll have to hurry—the contest ends Saturday, April 12.

Architecture Week in the USA made its debut on Facebook in 2009, and now they're all a-Twitter. While you're on these Social Media sites, look me up!

Photograph of Victorian house © by Cecilia Xi Zhang, local louisville on flickr.com, a group of students exploring local architectural culture in Louisville, Kentucky, Spring 2010, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

April Birthdays

Wednesday April 9, 2014
Who are the famous architects born in April? Detail of Abele's Duke University Chapel Tower, looking up The prominent Philadelphian Julian Abele is one.

"The shadows are all mine," Julian Francis Abele proclaimed when discussing his architectural drawings for the new Duke University campus. Construction began on the Duke Chapel in 1930 —a time when educated African Americans rarely received the recognition for their accomplishments. Working in the Philadelphia firm run by Horace Trumbauer, Abele stayed in the background.

Abele was born on April 30 in 1881. In 1902 he was the first African-American to receive a B.A. in Arch. from the University of Pennsylvania. Today, Duke University is proud to celebrate Abele as the chief designer for many of their campus buildings.

What other important architects celebrate April birthdays? Find out! Architects Born in April

Photo of Duke Chapel ©Don Klumpp / Collection: The Image Bank / Getty Images

Architecture Updates: March 23 - April 5, 2014

Saturday April 5, 2014
One week left to see forty years of homes by Pritzker Laureate Glenn Murcutt!Modern house by Glenn Murcutt on exhibit in 2014, Montreal, Canada

Curator Börkur Bergmann has chosen drawings and photos of Murcutt-designed private residences for an exhibit at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Centre de Design in Canada. The images—rarely seen by the public—take the viewer from sketch to reality, showing the Australian architect's "concern for harmony between building and nature."

Glenn Murcutt: Architecture for Place closes April 13, 2014. Learn more.

New Architecture Articles:

Selected Updates to Architecture Pages:

Press photo from the exhibit Glenn Murcutt: Architecture for Place ©photos Anthony Browell, Courtesy of the Architecture Foundation Australia

From Disaster, New Approches to Design

Saturday March 29, 2014
What does paper tube architecture look like?Shigeru Ban assembling a Paper Tubed Emergency Shelter for Haiti, 2010, Port-au-Prince, Haiti You may have seen photos of the 2014 Pritzker Prize winner, Shigeru Ban, assembling paper tube emergency shelters in Haiti. But this Japanese architect has also used paper tube framing in designs for larger structures designed to last for many years.

Our new article, Paper Tube Construction, Hualin Elementary School (2008), illustrates Ban's pragmatic approach to disaster relief.

Natural disasters call for innovation. Many engineers and architects are exploring "manufactured" or "prefab" construction for emergency housing. Add paper-tube architecture to our list of promising alternatives.

Photo by Shigeru Ban Architects courtesy Pritzkerprize.com

And the winner is...

Monday March 24, 2014
Shigeru Ban! Who would've guessed? Once again the Pritzker Prize goes to an architect who is not a celebrity. Photo of 2014 Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban

The Tokyo-born 56-year-old has undertaken a variety of projects from his offices in Tokyo, Paris, and New York. He may be best known, however, for his ingenious use of common, recyclable materials, like cardboard paper tubes for columns, to quickly construct dignified shelters for victims of disasters.

Like last year's Pritzker Laureate, Toyo Ito, Ban has been an architect of healing, designing sustainable housing for Japan's earthquake and tsunami victims. He has also provided relief after natural disasters in Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Italy, and Haiti.

"His sense of responsibility and positive action to create architecture of quality to serve society ́s needs," cites the Pritzker Jury, "combined with his original approach to these humanitarian challenges, make this year ́s winner an exemplary professional."

Being named a Pritzker Prize Laureate establishes Shigeru Ban in history as one of the most influential architects of modern times. The award ceremony will at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on June 13, 2014 .

Photo by Shigeru Ban Architects courtesy Pritzkerprize.com

Elevator Magic

Sunday March 23, 2014
Harry Potter's Hogwarts School had magic. So did Haughwout's Department Store. Portrait of Elisha Otis On this date, March 23, in 1857, Haughwout's Store became the site of the first safely working commercial elevator.

New York merchant Eder V. Haughwout hired the gentleman shown here, Elisha Otis, to install the magical device to move people up and down the five floors of his grand, new store. Otis didn't actually invent the elevator, but he did invent the safety braking system.

A safe elevator allowed the wives of wealthy industrialists to quickly shop Haughwout's for the fine furnishings we find in their Great Homes of the Gilded Age. This magical invention also paved the way for America's greatest invention—Historic Skyscrapers and High-Rises.

Photo: Elisha Graves Otis (1811-1861) circa 1855, patented the steam elevator in 1861. Engraving by H B Hall's Sons, photo © Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Architecture Updates: March 9 - 22, 2014

Saturday March 22, 2014
What does a powerful woman architect look like? In the 1950s: Florence Knoll. Black and white photo of businesswoman Florence Knoll in the mid-1950s As Director of the Planning Unit at Knoll Furniture Company, she helped define the profession of interior design.

For Women's History Month we celebrate every woman who enters the doors of architecture and creates beautiful spaces.

New Architecture Articles:

Selected Updates to Architecture Pages:

Pritzker Profile Updates:

Photo of Florence Knoll in the mid-1950s by Hulton Archive/Getty Images, ©2009 Getty Images

Spring into Architecture

Tuesday March 18, 2014

Who says life ain't no picnic? Ever see the Basket Building in Ohio? Office building for Longaberger Company, shaped like a wooden basket, top floors in detailLife at the corporate headquarters of Longaberger Company is one BIG picnic!

With spring just around the corner, I'm planning trips across the USA to see the country's wild and wacky novelty architecture, plus important buildings and engineering wonders like these:

Pick your destination:

Photo ©David Becker, loyaldefender2004 flickr.com, Creative Commons 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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