Tropical House at the Hammer Museum

We have covered the Tropical House before but it is one thing to discuss it and look at pictures on the web but it is truly another thing to see it. It is at the Hammer Museum until November 27 and treehuggers, if you are near LA put on your birkenstocks and get on your bike and go. In his talk at Prefab Now this weekend, Robert Rubin discussed how the French colonial administration kept trying to bring French ideas to Africa but what a problem they were- if you built a house out of concrete it would stay hot all night because of the thermal inertia. One inventive bureaucrat put his bed on rails so when it was too hot to sleep he would roll it outside. Prouve, on the other hand, designed a building that was as light as possible, as open to the air as possible, that shaded the sun and would not retain heat. When asked about the environmental acceptability of aluminum houses (not to mention the asbestos insulation)Rubin acknowledged that now we would not turn to aluminum as a green solution, at the time it was a material in great surplus (the war had ended and all of those planes could be recycled) and there were so many trained people and factories to work with it. After November it goes to Paris forever. ::Hammer Museum

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