Beauty in math

There is original discovery, and then there's discovering things that have been known by others for a long time but are new to you. Both feel good.

A number of years ago, in New York City, I attended a lecture at one of the top architecture schools in the country. The man behind the podium had been trained as a nuclear physicist. He was not a very comfortable public speaker, and he scribbled and spoke about buildings that could be designed and engineered to consume a very small percentage of the energy used in a conventional home, by the average family. A mathematician, he backed up his statements with formulas, one after another on a large white screen. He was using math and engineering to design buildings holistically, for performance, something common in car design. Mechanical engineering and building science were coming together and treating the building as one organism, i.e. the shell and the mechanical systems; balancing gains and losses; studying energy consumption and conservation, and treating the home as a beautiful, integrated system.

At Purehouse, we look to the utility and beauty of race cars and boats, and adapt it to the design of high performance, architect-designed houses.

This building science is profound. All the parts seem so simple, but experience tells us that the appearance of simplicity belies complex craftsmanship. Simple and complex seem to contradict and coexist, much like the tenets of Buddhism.

After hearing this nuclear physicist’s approach to building and building science, I had to leave my beloved, drafty old home, and build a high performance house. I did and the house I created is toasty warm in winter, and cool in summer. I live with 3 boys, 2 labradoodles, 1 wife and no boiler. This is the first time in history that we can live better off the grid than on. This is profound.

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