British author Dominic Bradbury was not content on staying within the geographical boundaries of the United Kingdom while writing the book New Natural Home: Designs for Sustainable Living. And it shows, as this title is sustainably enriched through international flavor, its pages graced with 25 architecturally contemporary case studies originating from 9 different countries.
As the Day 4 selection in our continuing 12 Days of Sustainable Reads series, this favorite was sourced directly from our bookshelf. Since it was purchased a few years ago, our copy has amassed a sizable collection of Post-it Flags—a testimonial to the amount of airplay it receives as we are researching editorial topics. So what keeps us coming back to this as a source?
The sustainable home is one that allows itself to be successfully oriented to take best advantage of natural conditions, taking into account important concerns such as solar gain, natural light, and cross ventilation. – Dominic Bradbury
Certainly, the work is a feast for the eyes as it is replete with outstanding imagery from the lens of photographer Richard Powers, his visualizations on nearly every page resonating through careful compositions against a global canvas. These images are supplemented with well-constructed illustrations, depicting the handiwork of an international cadre of architects through their floor plans, site plans, and sections.
But what ultimately brings us back is the skillful scripting of these projects through the words of Bradbury, as he coalesces the sustainable design learnings from the diverse cast of homeowners and architects behind them. The easily-digestible formula here is a page of copy per project, flanked by photographs and illustrations, and augmented by highly prescriptive captions and resonant pull quotes.
Bradbury’s posturing for the concept of a sustainable home is also one we think is quite sensible. “The sustainable home is one that allows itself to be successfully oriented to take best advantage of natural conditions, taking into account important concerns such as solar gain, natural light, and cross ventilation,” writes Bradbury. “At the same time, the new natural home will also draw on locally available materials, such as regionally sourced timber or stone.”
Bradbury and his editors at London publisher Thames & Hudson have divided the book into five discrete chapters, each well substantiated through their selection of representative case studies. Chapters are as follows:
Design and Build: Where and how to create a modern natural home
Let There Be Light: manipulating the elements to improve lifestyle and interaction with nature
The Material World: Using natural products to establish healthier relationships with the environment
Indoor/Outdoor Living: Ideas for encouraging symbiotic relationships with the landscape, whether in the city or the country
Sustainable Footprints: How to naturally reduce domestic energy use
This inspirational work draws its considerable strength from the broad diversity of the international designs that are profiled. Whereas Australia and the United States are strongly represented through having 6 projects each, the remaining 13 emanate from Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom—that’s inclusiveness.
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Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.
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