Tuesday, February 6, 2007


We’ve generated a great deal of unnatural light in our urban environments and we now have to place more importance on natural light

In pre-modern times, light formed the definition of how long a day was

Our bodies have natural responses to sunlight and can become depressed with a lack of it

Light is considered to be a safety factor – we have a fear of the unknown, what we can’t see

Light has a lot of symbolic meaning as truth, purity, guidance (a lighthouse leading the way home)

We design in the midst of cities with consideration of blocking the sky and light

New York – “the city that never sleeps” is characterized by light all the time

Alaska – Long durations of light and dark


With modern climate control for urban interiors, wind has come to be more of a constraining design consideration than a factor for comfort

Green architecture still places an importance on the health of natural ventilation and energy conservation associated with wind rather than artificial climate control

California – Fields of wind powered electric generators

Chicago – known as the windy city (which everyone assumes is due to climate, but is actually due to the “big talk” that preceded the decision for the World’s Fair of 1893 to be in Chicago)


Originally a deciding factor as to where cities should be settled (cities in Egypt along the Nile)

Natural relief and tourist attraction when it is located in cities (San Antonio)

Cooling device that is often placed artificially to provide climate relief

Can be a hugely devastating problem (hurricane/flooding in New Orleans, typhoon in Indonesia)

Can be extremely dangerous and is impossible to control, but we still have a strong desire to build near it

Symbolic as purity and cleansing

Definition of space and creation of boundaries between cities, states, countries (Texas is defined by rivers on all but one major border)

Means of transportation economy

Climate is a blanket term for light, wind, water, temperature

Our perceptions of a place are often based on what the climate is like

Many modern people “migrate” with the seasons” (summer homes, ski trips)

Our general idea of a place may not be based on its built environment


Natural attraction to trees and landscaping in general; it is often used as a means of determining how attractive a place is

We create unnatural green spaces within city as a break from the urban environment (Central Park)

Has become more important in modern times with our concern for preservation

Has a strong spiritual and religious connotation, especially in certain cultures (Asian)


Move from rural to urban patterns of settlement has decreased our contact with animal life (some people don’t even know what a cow looks like)

People that live among animals in more vernacular settings in contrast to our urbanized obsession with pets

Importance in terms of food, cultural icons (sacredness of cows)

Our fascination with them (seen in the creation of zoos, exploiting animals for our enjoyment)

Our view of them as pests (insects, rodents)


Affects general settlement patterns because of the fertility of the ground

Shows evidence of past times (Texas used to be covered in water)

Source of resources now (Middle Eastern countries whose economies are based solely on oil)

The earth as a source of life (Edwards Aquifer supplies Austin and San Antonio with water)

No comments: