was given a school project recently in which she was required to design a house. There was, as you might imagine, a great deal of learning to be had in this exercise. It spread across a number of school subjects and caused a great deal of debate. I have now seen some of the first results and they are interesting.
The students were told they could design any sort of house they liked. Cost was not an issue. There were one or two very futuristic type of houses, one which was supposed to be entirely self-sustaining and another which could be transported from one place to another "on an air bubble".
Most of the houses reflected the sort of housing the girls themselves live in. There were the additions of things like swimming pools, solar panels and some environmentally friendly features. There were areas for children to get away from parents in almost all of them!
The Whirlwind asked, as she usually does, what I would like to live in. I told her a round house but said it would be quite impractical because of the difficulty of fitting in things like cupboards, work surfaces, bookshelves and so on. She agreed that was impractical.
It is getting cooler here so I suggested she think about how her house might be heated in winter and how she would keep it cool in summer. Yes, they had been told to do that at school too.
Her final design was modest but interesting. It is designed around a courtyard with separate areas for sleeping, working and living. There is a garden in the centre "so you always have something nice to look at". There is underfloor heating "like the Romans had". There are rainwater tanks, solar panels in the appropriate places for heating the hot water and providing power. The windows have double glazing and look onto the garden. There is no swimming pool ("too much work and they waste lots of money") and the area in which she would park the car is small. It is fitted with a charging point for an electric car.
It is all quite sensible and, I would think, practical.
But there was an internal feature I really liked. Anywhere there did not need to be a wardrobe or cupboard the space was marked "B". In her plan the "B" stood for bookshelf. In her notes there was the statement.
"Books make good insulation and they look really good. You always have something to do but you could not do it with e-books."
I think books may be around for a while yet if the Whirlwind has her way.