Water makes up most of our bodies and also most of what we eat. In addition to the water we drink, the average home in the United States uses 53 liters (14 gallons) per person each day for washing clothes and dishes, and 79 liters (21 gallons) a day for bathing and personal hygiene. The typical home flushes 121 liters (32 gallons) per day down the toilet. That adds up to 958 liters (253 gallons) of water each day (Figs. 6-1, 6-2, 6-3). As interior designers, we want to help our clients conserve water while maintaining a good quality interior environment. In order to understand the role of water in the design of our buildings, let's start by looking at how we use it and where it comes from.
Water holds heat well and removes large quantities of heat when it evaporates. Because water will vaporize at skin temperatures, our bodies use evaporation to give off excess heat.
We associate water psychologically with cooling, and find water and splashing brooks or fountains refreshing. We employ sprays of water, evaporative coolers, and cooling towers to cool our buildings. We protect our buildings from fire with a system of very large pipes and valves that deliver water quickly to sprinkler systems.
In the past, communities used a municipal fountain or well as a water supply, and its sculptural form and central location made it the community's social hub. Today, a fountain or pool in the town center or in a shopping mall becomes a meeting place.
We celebrate the importance of water in our lives with ceremonial uses, which influence our feelings about the presence of water in our buildings. Christian churches practice baptism with water, sometimes including complete immersion of the person being baptized. The Jewish tradition includes ritual purification baths. Catholic churches have containers for holy water at their entrances, and pools are found in the forecourts of Islamic mosques.
Rivers and seas have historically connected countries. With the advent of the industrial revolution, factories were located along rivers to take advantage of water for power and for transportation. We use water to generate electricity at hydroelectric plants.
Water is often the focus of landscaping, inside or outside of the building. Reflections in water contrast with plantings and ground covers, and the sparkle, sound, and motion of water attract our attention. Water in a garden supports the growth of desirable plants and animals. Traditional Islamic architectural gardens in arid regions take advantage of small, tightly controlled channels to bring water into the center of buildings.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.