“The days are long but the years are short.” I’ve often heard this said about parenthood, especially the early years, but I think it applies to life in general just as well. Somehow, over five years has gone by since the last time I posted to this blog. I had launched it not long after getting my Master’s degree, as a way to keep my writing skills fresh while job hunting. I also wanted to continue researching 20th-century prefab housing–the topic of my thesis–and needed a way to quickly share new bits and pieces that would hopefully help others in the preservation community and general public.
Fast forward five years, after working as an architectural historian/planner with an environmental services firm, having kids, losing sleep (re: kids), staying home with kids, working on a few research projects, moving to a new house, and changing my web hosting provider, I think I’m ready to put this blog back online.
My research interests have broadened, but the questions that most interest me tend to be the ones related to historic building technology. The history of prefab housing makes a compelling story, I think, because it was primarily driven by idealistic architects and eccentric inventors who approached housing as a technology or engineering problem–one that could be solved through mass production.
These days, I’m looking at a very different type of structure: the ice house. Again, essentially a building-as-science-experiment. In the early Federal period, wealthy planters well-versed in the principles of scientific agriculture built subterranean ice pits. They tried various geometric shapes, sizes, depths, and various structural materials, drainage methods, insulating materials, and superstructures, all in the hopes of getting a pile of ice to last till the end of Summer. And maybe, just a tiny bit, for bragging rights among their peers.
In any case, if you find anything here useful, or have any questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to respond.