LIVING WITH THE SUN: ARCHITECTURE AND THE ASSOCIATION FOR APPLIED SOLAR ENERGY, 1954 - 1958
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At the end of 1957, a group called the Association for Applied Solar Energy held an international competition for the design of a solar house, to be built in Phoenix, Arizona. In the mid-1950s – before the development of the photo-voltaic cell – the use of solar energy in residential design was both an architectural project and a technological project; in no small part it was an investigation into architectural design as technology, engaging concerns over site orientation and cubic volumes as much as ideal angles for solar collection and methods of heat storage. The 1957 competition, called Living with the Sun, intended to exploit this connection between design and technology. Parallel with the development of modern architecture as an expression of a contemporary lifestyle, this early instance of solar architecture intended to allow innovation in design to produce a new relationship to technology and, by simple extrapolation, to the material, environmental, and political issues that accompanied the slow depletion of fossil fuel resources, a phenomenon already becoming clear in the immediate post-war context. Living with the Sun was thus a straightforward attempt, on the part of architects, to engage environmental problems.
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