8. Air Conditioning
What seems today like little more than a convenience altered the way our homes look and function. "Air-conditioning changed the home tremendously," says Chrysanthe Broikos, of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. "A lot of traditional house features were designed for passive cooling, like high ceilings, deep eaves and deep front porches. But once you became dependent on mechanical cooling, those passive features tended to disappear." Artificially cooled air also enabled designers to use large windows and sliding glass doors, and helped launch the housing booms throughout the South. "Air-conditioning made possible the expansion of the Sun Belt cities. You wouldn't want to live in Houston or Tucson without it," Tarr says.
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