The role of architecture in promoting hope, opportunity and prosperity: A straw bale home Sunland Park, New Mexico
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THEORY STATEMENT The role of Architecture in promoting Hope, Opportunity and Prosperity... Over the past several decades, numerous building methods have been investigated and, in some cases, revived and improved upon by visionary architects and builders. Their techniques are often grouped under the label "natural building," implying materials and techniques which are ecologically sound, culturally sensitive, reliant on local resources and skills, and which are within the economic reach of the millions who could not otherwise afford shelter. People seem to change fundamentally when they gain the added security that comes fi^om knowing they are capable of providing their own shelter. When a community of people possess that confidence and come together to help create one another's homes, it makes the world a better place to live. CONTEXTNo place exists by itself Its neighbors, history, and impinging future all influence its present existence. Together they show the history of interaction of natural forces out of which has evolved the character of a region. One needs to look at the small patterns that surface immediately surrounding the place. What kind of wealth, cultural and social patterns do surrounding residential areas and buildings reflect? Is there love in their making and use? What are the intentions or values underlying what is there? Is the land use pattern one for people, or is it automobile based? FACILITY' "The design thesis will be a single family dwelling as a solution to achieving housing for those on low means." Americans want comfortable, attractive, functional, and durable housing. Yet, many increasingly find high quality housing beyond their means. Conventional building methods rely on plentiful resources. With some of these resources dwindling, housing costs are sky rocketing. The cost of a home includes materials, construction, financing, taxes, energy consumption, and insurance. The majority of people around the world live in houses that are poorly constructed and uncomfortable much of the year. Maintaining adequate comfort levels in those structures often results in high and unaffordable utility bills, and damaging environmental practices such as over-cutting of timber. Building with baled materials could dramatically improve housing conditions in a variety of climates and conditions. Anywhere wheat, barley, oats, rice, or other straws are available, bale building can make economic and environmental sense. Wherever the goal is to provide ecologically sound, sustainable structures that are inexpensive to build and maintain, that are energy efficient and compatible with renewable energy source, and that can be owner-built to ftirther reduce costs, bale buildings can be an ideal solution. In this situation, the role of Architecture is capable of promoting Hope, Opportunity and Prosperity.