Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home page PRE-WEB ARCHIVES:
No. 28, Spring/Summer 1989
Desert Architecture

Editor's Note

by Emily Whitehead


This issue of the Arid Lands Newsletter explores one of the most basic human concerns-- housing. Those of us living in deserts know that our dwellings must fit our special surroundings. Our environment is one of extreme temperatures, scarce water, and sparse vegetation. Yet even as the desert sometimes requires us to shield ourselves from its harsh conditions, it invites us to "bring in the outdoors" during much of the year. As a result, ours must be a special architecture.

The articles presented in this issue take us from the streets of an old Yemeni city to the rural M'zab Valley in north Africa; from centuries-old design forms such as the courtyard house in Latin America to the latest in water-saving and energy-efficient devices in an experimental house in Phoenix, Arizona.

The common thread that unites the articles is a call for sensitivity to our environment. Architecturally, such an approach leads to preserving the old, incorporating new technologies, designing to accommodate cultural heritage, and using indigenous materials.

We hope that you will enjoy this special issue of the newsletter. Let us know what you think.

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