The invisible place is the decisive factor for a healthy house

Book “Creating a healthy house with positive thinking” published in 1994

No matter how beautiful the make-up, it does not make you healthy. The same is true for a building, no matter how beautiful the exterior or interior, it will not be a healthy house.

If we do not become healthy from within, from the inside out, then we are nothing more than a tower on the sand. The same applies to house. This is why it is so important to observe the site during construction.

Most of the structural elements that support a house are hidden from view when it is completed. The main structural elements are the foundations, pillars and beams, as well as the foundations and the ground.

However, what we want to consider here is not such a general thing, but something a little more fundamental.

It is not uncommon for a good cook to prepare a dish using carefully selected ingredients, but if the cooking method is not sensible, the food may taste good to the eye and the palate, but the nutrition may be destroyed and the health may be compromised.

The same applies to houses: the quality of the wood and the skill of the carpenter are not enough to create a healthy house. It is much more important that the method of cooking, or building, makes sense. When considering the method of construction, the invisible place is the decisive factor.

In Japan, the minimum requirement for a healthy house is a wooden structure with an open-plan layout, but unfortunately even this traditional construction method has its disadvantages: it is susceptible to dampness and summer heat. 

This is because, although the traditional construction method has not changed in that it consists of a foundation, posts and beams, much else has changed in a very disorderly way.

Before the war, it was common to ask a local carpenter to build a house for you.
After the war, the development of new building materials and equipment was so remarkable that it was no longer an exaggeration to say that building a house was all about choosing and combining new building materials and equipment.

And the result of combining them in a haphazard way is one of the reasons for the current state of house building, which has forgotten about humidity. No matter how much progress is made in researching new building materials and equipment, the end result is that the research does not consider the building as a whole, but only its own products. In the case of medicine, the side effects of the repeated use of symptomatic treatment have been detrimental to the health of the body as a whole.

It is the invisible parts of the building that support the traditional construction method, the invisible air passages. From the bottom up, there is the space under the floor, the space between the first and second floors, and the shed space in the ceiling. 

The overall health of a house depends on whether these spaces are used in a way that makes the most of them or kills them.
Today, they are rarely used in a way hat makes the most of them, so even the construction methods that have grown up in Japan are no longer able to cope with the high levels of humidity that characterize the Japanese climate.

What can we do to make the most of these spaces? Another invisible part of traditional construction is the space between the pillars, the inner wall cavity. 

This internal wall cavity allows air to flow through the interconnected spaces under the floor, between the first and second floors, and into the shed space under the ceiling, giving life to the whole building.

This series of airways is like blood vessels or meridians in human terms. If they are clogged, the path to health is far from being realized.

Unfortunately, most of today’s conventional construction methods are clogged with this blood vessels. It may look good with improved design but the health of the house is being compromised without knowing it.

Let’s have a quick look at how they are clogged.

Firstly, the internal wall cavity is filled with insulation. This prevents the connection between the inner wall cavity and the underfloor space.

The connection between the space between the first and second floors and the inner wall cavity on the second floor is also hindered.

It is a pity that most of the buildings block these vital passages because they are not aware of their importance.

Even if they exists only alone an underfloor space, a space between the first and second floors, and an attic space alone, the air does not flow as expected. By connecting with the inner wall cavity that continues vertically, air begins to flow actively and regains its vitality.

In the past, the walls of Japanese houses were made of natural materials such as earth and boards to cope with dampness, but today the earth and boards have been replaced by air-flowing inner wall cavities that contribute to health.

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