11. Glass

The insulating properties of glass

This experiment of writing a post a day for Michael Sorkin’s laundry list of prerequisites for architects has turned into “how effective is google at answering a particular question”. I can share links explaining how window insulation is measured (on a zero to one scale called u-value aka thermal transmittance). I can link a youtube video showing how glass becomes fiberglass insulation.

Or I can remember having a substitute teacher in fourth grade giving a story time in which she talked about a magazine article she read. We sat around her as she described houses built inside of a greenhouse, with giant oil drums filled with water in between exterior wall and greenhouse wall. She talked about different houses with a greenhouse only on the rear of the house, helping to heat the place and collecting all that hot air in the attic to recirculate through the house. I was captivated, and I can only assume her incredible story telling skills kept the attention of the whole class. Fast forward eight years and I entered a high school design competition run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and I design the house my fourth grade substitute described:

011 Newhouse 1 011 Newhouse 2 011 Newhouse 3

I don’t have any leads in terms of tracking down that teacher, but her impact was far reaching and greatly appreciated.


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