Building Technology that Changes Living

A home that runs on light absorbed in the structure? One idea for home living that is possible with fabricated materials. Now that inventive builders and researchers have developed new materials for architectural building, a person can settle into a home that controls the atmosphere for living.

Building Homes Made from Man-Made Materials

Instead of relying on the wood and stone found in nature, the 21st century builder depends upon materials made by man using modern science and technology. Model homes displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York during the first decade of this century showed the public the leaps in home design that have become possible. One model called the Cellophane House has sides that let light shine through. Solar panels and photovoltaics in the facade capture the sun’s energy to use for running the house; a second skin blocks damaging rays.

The glass material is only one new man-made material. Researchers at MIT’s Building Technology Program and Old Dominion University’s Applied Research Center stay hard at work developing the materials for future construction. Students involved in the MIT program learn how to design building architecture using the new materials. Old Dominion students learn current solar cell processing.

Designing a prefabricated home is an important step towards getting the house actually built. But, without a long history of experience that demonstrates the housing materials stand sturdy, additional steps are needed to test the idea. Designers at the forefront use Computer Aided Design modules to test new engineering rules and boundaries appropriate for fabricated materials.

Tasteful Aesthetic

Since building architecture is not just a science, but an art, modern builders have to devote their efforts to creating an aesthetic that fits the fabricated materials. A wooden look will simply not do. A new look is in order. Like any emergent technology, the aesthetic is novel, yet largely uncultivated. The austere looks will take time to grow into civil beauties suitable for home life.

A new era for homes has arrived. In the coming decades, builders will learn how to use the man-made materials in designs that give residents both the warmth and convenience they want and a pleasant look. Houses made of glass and enriched mineral compounds will appear in the community landscape.


MIT Building Technology Program
Old Dominion University’s Applied Research Center
Roberta Fallon , Pre-Fabulous: Can’t throw stones at these glass houses, in Philadelphia Weekly