Designing for the Expected Unexpected Forces of Nature

By Joseph Pubillones

September 12, 2020 4 min read

Because our nation is made up of people who have come from all around the world, all our homes are not alike, nor should we expect them to be. Generally, your ethnic background and culture dictate what things you like and what you consider comfortable. Add that to the fact that the climate of the United States is not the same all over; our houses are also built to suit the kind of weather they have to withstand. Much of the country, during the winter months, is covered with deep snow. It rains a great deal in other parts, and it is hot and humid in others. We have mountains and deserts and seacoasts and lakes, so it is no coincidence that our homes vary in design with the differences in location.

Although globalization and technology have made architecture and the process of construction rather uniform around the world, the effects of global warming subject our homes to everything from devastating hurricanes to earthquakes to yearly forest fires. The need to adapt our homes and buildings to have an adequate defense against the forces of nature is of utmost importance. Designing your home's exterior and interior to work together should be the main goal. Designers and architects can deliver innovative materials and solutions for everything from passive cooling for when the air conditioner doesn't work to vestibules and anti-spaces to control entry from the outside environment, including germs, into your home.

One of the fascinating aspects of almost any interior design project is making the overall design feel natural and responsive to the environment. The journey from interior to exterior often crosses an exciting threshold, which should be taken into account by the designer. It is essential for any design scheme to explore how the interior and exterior worlds meet and when the interior space is intended to flow and embrace the outdoor world. Sometimes, it might take the form of a beautiful iron gate; other times, it can be a striking heavy wood door, or even just an architectural detail such as a molding, that can demark this transition. In today's world, every architectural detail can and should perform a deliberate function rather than just an aesthetic one.

Allowing nature to permeate throughout a home is yet another way to mitigate the effects of the world conditions as they are and as they worsen. Roofs can be designed to be green where needed and collect sun via solar panels. They can also be designed as cisterns to collect water.

Iron and glass gates can frame a view, but they can also close off a portion of the home that needs to be cooler than others. Moveable pergolas can filter the hot sun or protect a part of the home from torrential rains or burning embers. Thickened walls can serve to protect your interiors from supernatural winds. The future of architecture and interior design lies in solving the problems that are now expected from the unexpected forces of Mother Nature. Aesthetics are not the only concern. Design wisely, and prepare for the future.

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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