The Solar House In 1947
Free (open access)
295 - 304
Current explorations of the solar house share a rich underreported history, punctuated by a fascinating but little-known episode in America in 1947. In that year, Your Solar House, a book of 49 designs by prominent architects such as Louis Kahn, Edward Durell Stone, and Pietro Belluschi, was published. Organized by the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company, the project was intended for the public as \“a book of inspirations rather than of specific patterns.” What did the ‘solar house’ mean in the mid-20th century? This research concludes that the concept of a solar house possessed a distinct currency in 1945–47 among professionals and the public, but that Your Solar House architects possessed an impressionistic notion of the solar house, rather than a rigorous set of expectations. As a result, the architects submitted a wide variety of aesthetic responses with little attention to studying solar performance. The project overall failed to provide the solar house movement with any technical advances, nor a clear architectural identity. This paper also analyzes this project’s larger historical significance as an early instance when energy-related concerns became (temporarily) central to the architectural discourse, contrary to the usual portrayal of the solar house movement as a contemporary concern with its origins in the energy crisis of the 1970s, an approach which ignores pioneering experiments of the mid-20th century. This paper also discusses the 1947 exhibition within the larger historical and theoretical context of solar house experiments of the same era. Keywords: architectural history, solar architecture, solar house, sustainable architecture, green architecture.
architectural history, solar architecture, solar house, sustainable architecture, green architecture.