Modern Technology is the design & engineering remix about house construction techniques, featuring a smooth & easy Sanford & Son vibe. Couldn't help it: that too-cool Quincy Jones theme gets stuck in my head sometimes and I just can't shake it. The music was compiled on an iMac using GarageBand with loops and beats from Apple Jam Packs and AMG, and was subsequently fitted to the video snippets using iMovie HD.
The video source reel is the free public-domain documentary "Problems of Housing" (1948), courtesy of the Prelinger Archive at archive.org
Some of the observations mentioned in the stock footage are still true today:
"Natural lighting may be no better than it was in buildings of medieval Europe"
It's not just the natural lighting at issue; the statement also alludes to maximizing direct gain from solar radiation in a conscious effort to improve energy efficiency. I think all designers would maximize access to daylight whenever practical in order to promote psychological benefits for residents as well.
"Modern technology can cut down loss of heat by creating dead air space between the storm sash and the windows"
Certainly true. Regardless of the technique of creating the dead air space, this is another way to help control energy consumption. It's the same principle as when I put up insulating window film in the anticipation of another heating season.
"Modern technology will have insulating material put into the walls"
Seeing as the 1948 idea of "insulating material" might have been highly flammable cotton batting, or perhaps even sawdust, I think we can be thankful for our current opportunities to specify fire-retardant (and mold-resistant) products that promote safer living.
Note that the shots at 00:32 and 01:00 feature a view which is apparently from west of the heights beyond Hoboken NJ, looking east toward Manhattan; is that the Empire State Building in the background? Maybe one of our local viewers can confirm that. And how would you like to have your home appraised as a "50-year-old shack, worth about $200, chiefly as used lumber"? Ouch.
Another lesson from this video might be a reminder that with architects specifying today's opportunities in terms of "modern technology", we seldom need to enjoy flies with our lunch.
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