“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” (Frank Lloyd Wright)
Somehow, in allowing ourselves to become separated from nature—no doubt born of our initial struggle, and ultimate victory, over the elements—we have put the very things we cherish and enjoy, and rely upon, in jeopardy.
We see the solution in fusing modern-day technologies with the ancient wisdom of vernacular architecture, and consider a building to be a smaller piece of a much larger whole, inexorably linked to its site; to its micro-climate, local culture, and ecosystem. Rather than ﬁght natural processes, we use them to our ends: analyzing the paths of the sun and wind, with passive solar principles to inform the siting and most effective orientation of a building; geothermal wells to harness the stable core temperature of the earth, combined with the natural ability of mass to store heat and release it during cool evenings–the ancient trombe wall–to provide super efﬁcient heating and cooling, and the careful selection of indigenous and renewable materials to root a building to its site and ensure its sustainability.
These ideas are as appropriate today as they were for the centuries old earth sheltered dwellings of China, and the thermal mass coupling used in the cliff dwellings of the American Indian.