University of Calgary

Professor Brown on What’s Wrong With This House?

Submitted by jwalla on Mon, 2012/04/09 - 7:52am.

Too many people are living in badly designed houses. Too many houses have rooms that don t get used, kitchens that are hard to work in, living rooms that are difficult to furnish, and front entry spaces with no closets. There are supersized houses and those that, in spite of their actual size, feel too small and cramped.

In his bestselling book, What’s Wrong With This House? Brown offers a practical guide to avoiding these problems. Based on the Slow Home design philosophy, the book offers practical, down-to-earth design advice that focuses on the substance of the way a house works rather than on its superficial appearance.

The slow home movement began in 2006 when John Brown, Matthew North, and Carina van Olm wanted to create a critical response to the poor design practices that pervade the mass housing industry. The intent was to advocate for a more thoughtful approach to residential design that improves the quality of our daily lives and reduces our impact on the environment.

In What’s Wrong With This House? John Brown and Matthew North use example projects from their many years of architectural practice to show you how to evaluate the design quality of your home and make it simple to live in and light on the environment.

A slow home is carefully designed to support its occupants. It might have an entry where family members can easily take off their boots, stash their keys and store their backpacks. It might have a living space that encourages people to talk or read, not just watch television or surf the Internet. It’s energy efficient, filled with natural light and designed for easy flow among rooms and access to the outside.

It’s about slowing down to design a space that is functional, long-lasting, meets the needs of the family now and later, and is, of course, stylish and comfortable.

Brown is the Associate Dean of Research + International in EVDS, professor of Architecture, registered architect and a licensed real estate broker. In 2009 he received a Leadership Award from Residential Architect in recognition of his work to increase public awareness about the value of design.

Click here for more details about Brown's book and to learn more about the Slow Home Movement.

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