Nick Rosen |
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autonomous house
Off-grid Pioneer

BBC Radio had a great dive into the archives tonight (Saturday), with a show about our past visions of the Future House.

From the 1970s it featured the first well-developed idea for an off-grid home — The Autonomous House designed by Brenda and Robert Vale. And from the 80s – Biosphere 2. Both were off-grid ideas that were ahead of their time. The Vale’s ideas are just coming to fruition all over the US and the UK

Listen to the programme

Fifty years ago the Ideal Home Exhibition’s House of the Future – set far ahead, in the year 1981 – was a vision in moulded plastic, complete with a couple relaxing in what seemed to be ultramodern underwear.

House of the Future looks back over half a century of such predictions of domestic bliss, tracking the rise and fall of faith in technology and its influences on futuristic visions of the home.

Radical architects in 1950s and 60s were inspired by space-age technology and their extravagant designs assumed unlimited oil and endless synthetic materials.

In the 1970s and 80s futurists worried that human activities threatened fragile planet Earth. Environmentally-aware architects dreamed of fuel efficient, low-waste, sustainable homes of the future.

Digital technology reached our living rooms in the 1990s. Computer companies offered us digital slaves but one architect fought a lone battle against Big Brother, rejecting new technology in favour of Victorian pulleys and periscopes.

Ultimately the programe retreated into middle-of-the-road cliches but it covered some great archive material in doing so.

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site

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