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Tomorrow’s House: Solar Housing in 1940s America

From: Technology and Culture
Volume 55, Number 1, January 2014
pp. 1-39 | 10.1353/tech.2014.0025

Abstract

Abstract:

In the years surrounding World War II, solar house heating was seen by many American architects, journal editors, and policymakers as a necessary component of the expansion into suburbia. As the technological and financial aspects of home ownership came to take on broad social implications, design strategies of architectural modernism—including the expansive use of glass, the open plan and façade, and the flexible roof line—were seen as a means to construct suburbs that were responsive to anticipated concerns over materials allocations, over energy-resource scarcity, and over the economic challenges to postwar growth. As this article demonstrates, experiments in passive solar house design were a prominent means for envisioning the suburbs as an opportunity for new kinds of building and new ways of living. The article documents these developments and places them in the context of related efforts to think about the future.



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