The American Institute of Architects Detroit Chapter is currently planning the bi-annual Bloomfield/Bloomfield Township Home Tour. This fall’s tour will be on Sept 25th and showcase many homes from various famous architects. The Affleck House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, will be one of the homes. The Affleck House was considered unusual when built in the 1940’s. During the 1940’s, only ranch colonials were being constructed. The home, however, demonstrates brilliance in simple sustainable design.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed with a deep connection to nature. The connection to nature gave him a sustainable advantage that was decades beyond the sustainable trend of today.  FLW introduced skylights  into the Affleck Home that not only heightened the natural connection, but also reduced the need  for electric lighting. Floor to ceiling windows in the loggia and living areas provide similar results. Extensive glazing causes heat loss during the winter months, and heat gain in the summer months. The wood burning fireplace compensates during the winter. The most phenomenal technology in the home is tactic for cooling the home during the summer months.

FLW utilized convection currents to cool the living space. The interesting slope of the site directs a stream under the walk out. A small retaining pool sits directly under the living area. Within the living area, a raised opening similar to a window can be opened. When opened, air travels over the water, cooling in temperature. Vents in the roof allow heated air with in the home to rise and exit. The cool air naturally rises up through the “floor window” to replace teh exiting hot air. The cool air thus passes through the living space and, as it heats, exits through the same roof vents. Due to the naturally occuring air flow through the home, cooling costs are reduced.

The natural cooling system can be experienced during the tour on September 25th. Tickets can be purchased from from several area businesses, the AIA Detroit website, or directly from committee members starting in August. The tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at “Home Base” the day of the tour. Contact the AIA Detroit Chapter for more information on the tour. Additional information and photos of the Affleck home can be found here.

Photo credit: Michigan Architectural Foundation

Samantha Smigelski
Contributing Author

Samantha Smigelski is a writing and architectural contributor, and also an Intermediate Technical Designer.