I have become more and more interested in pre-industrial buildings, developments, and forms. Particularly in the warmer regions of the planet where the climate is similar to the Southern California and Baja California areas for which we design most of our buildings. North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East are places where ancient cultures learned to build in a way that made these hot and dry climates livable. Courtyards, heavy thick clay walls, and densely congregated structures were the forms that evolved in response to the climate and the materials available to the indigenous cultures. In these areas, cultures were forced to build in a very resource-efficient manner due to the limitations of technology and labor. My fascination with pre-industrial forms may be a bit of a knee jerk reaction to American industrialized society’s reverence for “technology and progress”, but pre-industrial cultures provide great lessons in timeless resource efficient design.
... Robin Donaldson, AIA