E. I. Taylor and Sons

07:03AM | 05/11/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
1 lifetime posts
The relation of architecture to construction is a philosophical one. That is, everyone has a different opinion on the subject. My position is that all architecture is driven by philosophy. Yes, there are reigning philosophies,--Bauhaus architecture, The modernism of Frank Loyd Wright, even the design of the row home or planned community, and so on, but insofar as he or she makes his or her own designs and modifications and is not a mere copyist, every architect is a philosopher. If you accept this position as our starting point, then one should be able to examine the designed and constructed product, and from it infer things about the philosophy behind it.
A case in point frequently seen on Bob Vila's TV shows is the extraordinarly expensive house whose studs are affixed with 4x8 sheets of glued wood chips. We philosophers call these glue houses, since the majority of the 4x8 board, and therefore the greater percentage of the house itself, is made of glue.
The wide-spread acceptance of glued wood chip board through out the construction industry is undoubtedly a function of economy, scale, because of mass production , and financial considerations. As prices have skyrocketed, the standard has fallen from plywood and celotex to glue board, just to keep pace with the economics of construction.
These, of course, are important considerations. But they also reflect a philosophy of building--the cost of mass production set against profit margins.
One unintended consequence of this trend, however, has been the increased risk of death in the event the house catches fire. My hypothesis is that a statistical analysis will show that the majority of people killed in new home fires succumb to the smoke, not the fire itself. In other words, they die from the oxidation of the glue in the walls because of the extraordinarily toxic nature of these compounds.
A different attitude, and therefore a different philosophy of building, would be needed to remedy such use industry-wide. This would likely require the development of inexpensive but non-toxic materials. On the other hand, such homes could be marketed as more hazard-safe, and slightly more could be charged for them as far as market forces are concerned.


07:28AM | 08/07/03
Member Since: 01/13/03
25 lifetime posts
remember, just as the industry keeps pushing forward with more chemical based building products, local and national jurisdictions push forward with more stringent codes to protect the health, safety, and welfare of it's citizens; such as: required fire sprinkler systems in residential homes, hard wired smoke detectors, egress windows, etc.


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