December 28, 2007

Book Review - Ritual House

Ritual House: Drawing on Nature's Rhythms for Architecture and Urban Design
Ralph L. Knowles
NA 2542.4 .K58 2006

Knowles book explains that the homes that we live in have become disconnected with the natural rhythms of our lives and seeks to reestablish this connection. The book is divided into three parts. First, the author looks at historical connections between people's natural cycles of life and their homes. In three chapters, he examines migration or regular travel patterns, regular changes in our spaces such as those that result from opening windows or doors, and gathering to share warmth or food. Next, he explains how the growth of urban centers has changed the way that people live and how technology has helped their living spaces become divorced from the rhythms of nature. Finally, he advocates reconnecting homes to their natural habitats by paying close attention to the sun and the way that it affects the spaces. Knowles brings extensive background using solar power in residential buildings, so he naturally turns to his previous work as a central to filling the gap that he sees.