Shelter and it’s Significance

June 2016
By Brett Marlo DeSantis

All living things on this planet need shelter. In fact, most would consider shelter one of the few basic needs to survive. A fairly simple concept—shelter— something that forms a place of protection. Yet the subject is far from simple. From single houses to multi-unit dwellings, we have options. The most common choice of shelter, in America, is by far the detached single-family home.

From caves to castles, there are so many styles of this type of shelter that one may recite their A,B,Cs–

A-frame, Bungalow, Colonial, Dogtrot, Earthship, Farmhouse, Geodesic, Hut, Igloo, Jugendstil, Kit-house, Log cabin, McMansion, Neoclassical, Octagon, Pole house, Queenslander, Rambler, Saltbox, Tudor, Unit, Vernacular, Wigwam, X, Yurt and Zapotec

But wait there’s more types of shelter: semi-attached/attached dwelling units such as duplexes and town homes, apartments, condominiums, row houses, flats, mother-in-laws, rooming houses and multi-family homes. Let’s not forget alternative housing styles that move such as tent, travel trailer, tiny house on wheels, yurt, houseboat or float house.

For some time now, we have become a somewhat static civilization. Most of our dwellings are built on-site, depending largely on location.

In the Pacific Northwest, we have an architectural history that ranges from Victorian to Craftsman to Postmodernism. We tend to place importance on the details of fine woodworking, whether it is a house, boat or kayak.

Typical Pacific Northwest houses reflect our regional values, love for the outdoors. Whatever your choice, your dwelling, as well as the surrounding dwellings, form a neighborhood. We are defined by our choices. What is the true cost of our type?