Abses of Temple Hall -- Recent Developments in Architecture
A new awareness becomes noticeable, that foreshadows a new era.

But apart from the architectural debate awareness sets trough about ecology and responsibility for our environment and our health. In many ways innovations take place and new building techniques are developing using for example agricultural (waste) materials and earth as healthy and ecological building materials. Some age-old techniques and materials have been re-discovered and based on modern demands innovations take place.
Mixing Light-straw mixture
Mixing the light straw-clay mixture.
Roof Detail

Model of detail of wall and ceiling filled with a light straw-clay mixture.

A revival and new developments in earth architecture are on its way, including its combination with agricultural (waste) products as an insulation material. Such products include all sorts of straw, wood chips and other fibers like hemp chips. This combined with a binder like clay or lime gives excellent insulation material that can be formed in moulds around a wood frame (see model of Andreas Dilthey of a wall and roof detail).
The same mixtures are used for sheet materials, that are developing, and more products to support healthy building are on the market. Also an assortment of machines are developed such as for brick making (see right) and for mixing adobe. Further investments could be made for the production of prefab house elements to speed up the drying time of the insulation materials mentioned and make it less labor intensive.
Adobe Brick Machine
Adobe-Brick-making machine.

A greenhouse extends at the south side of the house.

In respect to design principles major changes take place in response to environmental issues such as energy saving through insulation or collecting of sun energy through collectors or passively through greenhouses as an addition to the south fašade. Important for sun heat absorption is to have a mass to store it and stabilize indoor room temperature. This mass is mostly the house itself or the water of a collector.
Collecting rainwater or the water household is another focus of awareness. This applies to public spaces or for houses to collect the rainwater from the streets and roofs and use it for plants or toilet. A rain ton is attached to many old houses. This image (to the right) shows a well buildup on top of a large underground concrete container.
Well that collects the rainwater from the roofs.
Wall heating

Adobe brick wall with wall heating.

Floor and wall heating is very effective and affordable. With the inside skin of the space being warm, room temperatures can remain relatively low. The floor and wall with heating not only provide for the warmth; they also stabilize room temperature through its masses. As this form of heating does not circulate the dry air with dust, like radiators do, this kind of heating is ideal. It radiates from a large surface, which has a relative low temperature. Also the adobe bricks and plaster stabilize the air humidity much more then any other building material.
Straw bale blocks are an ideal insulation material, which through its size can be quickly build up into walls. The thick walls are optimal for insulating warmth/cold and noise. A straw bale wall is very solid if well applied and such a wall has a good fire resistance once plastered. It takes experience to properly build a straw bale wall and most of all the plaster finish requires knowledge of both adobe and lime plaster (for the outside). At the same time such knowledge becomes available through workshops, books and the Internet.
Wall bailing
Building the straw bale wall.
Step facade

Contemporary step facade in Amsterdam.

With the development of Modernism into Post-Modernism the architectural language restores its link with history. The vernacular, local language becomes lifted from its underdog position and reapplied in a contemporary context. With the return of meaningful elements and their stylistic combinations architecture became revitalized and poetic motives possible. With it the Modernistic phrase Form follows function proved wrong as a function does not necessarily requires a rectangular form and bringing forms from a level of syntax to that of semantics does not necessarily have to be Will to form. After all the communicative function of form has to be recognized.

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