A Paul Siple Quotation

"It would appear that in some cases architects have had a tendency to devote unbalanced attention to style and appearance, much after the fashion of women's hat designers, who strive for the expression of uniqueness until the function of head-cover for protection from weather loses its meaning; and woe be it when such hats are caught out in rain, wind or blizzardy weather."

---Paul Siple, "Climatic Criteria for Building Construction" (1950)
linked here

I love quotations like this, because they demonstrate the distance that developed in the 20th century between the conventions of high architecture and a vernacular approach to building based on well-educated common sense and first principles.  See also: a Reyner Banham quotation from "Stocktaking."  There's a wonderful story to be told about how that distance developed (beginning in earlier centuries).  It should be written by somebody who can be sympathetic to both sides.

Who was Paul Siple?  Today he would be called a climate scientist.  He worked for the military.  He invented the term wind chill factor, and several features in Antarctica are named for him.  See Wikipedia

Siple was closely affiliated with the solar house community.  He attended the 1950 MIT Symposium (which I characterize as "a great summit meeting of solar architects and engineers" in The Solar House), where he gave a paper entitled “Feasibility of Solar Heating Systems.”  Earlier he contributed to the House Beautiful Climate Control Project ("How Many Climates Do We Have in the U.S.?", October 1949).