Alissa Walker's creative commons homage to Julius Shulman
I do go on about the green lessons we can learn from old buildings, but usually talk about those designed before the thermostat age. Greg Lavardera tweets about a post listing 10 Forgotten Lessons of Mid-Century Modern Design from the blog of Seattle architects Build. They list ten of them, but here are a few of my favourites:
5. Old school passive design is highly sustainable. There are a lot of terms being thrown around these days; sustainability, passive house design, and the overly abused "green-design". Whether these terms actually benefit the home or environment depends on the situation, but the classic examples of passive design are so sensible that they should be incorporated into every house (and without throwing around a bunch of marketing terms). One of the best examples of this occurs at the roof: well designed eaves are calibrated to keep the interiors shaded during the summer months but allow direct sunlight into the home during the chilly winters. Smart, cost-effective and sensible.
6. Small, efficient bedrooms are perfectly pleasant. Bedrooms don't need to incorporate lounge areas and recreational space; that's what lounges and rec-rooms are for. Often with the smaller bedrooms we see in MCM homes, the ergonomics are more deliberate and the view out the window is more appreciated. Smaller bedrooms also cause the family to spend more time together rather than secluding everyone in their own bedrooms all day playing X-Box.
And, of course, Keep It Simple.
Collect them all at Build: 10 Forgotten Lessons of Mid-Century Modern Design
More on Lessons from Old Buildings:
Heritage Is Green: Lessons From The Architectural Conservancy
Plywood Designs from '60s Have Lessons For Today