When Form Really Does Follow Function: Aesthetics Informed by Environmental Conditions


A common misconception is that historical building styles and articulation were mere aesthetic statements. Historically, buildings were empirically designed accounting for the climate/environment, culture, and locally available materials. A building constructed in a hot, arid region of the world had a significantly different appearance than a building constructed in a cold and wet climate. As such, buildings naturally responded to the environmental forces, such as wind, sun, and rain, through overall form as well as ornamental articulation.

Join building enclosure experts Ed Gerns and Rachel Will as they explore historical building typology, along with specific ornamental components and materials, and their intentional use to address the environmental conditions of improving thermal comfort, reducing maintenance costs, and minimizing water infiltration.

This article was originally published in the April 2018 issue of IIBEC Interface, the official publication of the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants.