Our ancestors roamed the earth. History gives us the idea that in the early ages caves were our ultimate abode, being low-cost, structurally sound and secure. Today, the technological advances that led to transformations in the design and magnitude of our habitats have veiled our views to the fact that it has never been this way before. We rarely stop to glance back at the distinctive trail from the cave to the artificial concrete and glass edifices we have inherited. Let’s schedule a reminder.
History sufficiently informs us that prehistoric residential property were more natural and largely composed of cave homes and tents as alternatives, which made a lot of sense for the kind of survival by moving around lifestyle. That was probably during the hunting and gathering phase that evolutionary historians date back to nearly 30,000 years ago.
Over a period of thousands of years however, populations grew and as the circumstances changed, technology intervened. Again historians agree that by around 8000 BC, Middle Eastern natives had begun to practice farming and to cook food in what was at the time, state of the art kitchenary such as clay ovens and pots.
This new way of living required structures that were more permanent. Thus, mud bricks were invented around this time in a place identified as Jericho, probably the biblical Jericho. By 7000 BC, a more enlightened generation lived in Jericho and they had discovered how to make mortar which was used for walls and floor plaster.
Not long afterwards, around 6500 BC, the construction industry was booming in Turkey where a city of about 6000 people is believed to have been established using bricks and mortar at the time. Early houses had no windows, neither doors. Entrance therefore was through the roof tops for security reasons. Today, cities are awash with sliding glass doors. As for glass windows, which are the subject of later discoveries, the elite classes of the Roman Empire were the first to enjoy such luxuries.
By 4000 BC the idea of farming had spread all over Europe and people lived in stone and round wooden huts with thatched roofs much like the historic Celtic round thatched houses.
At the dawn of civilization in places such as Sumer(Iran), the Indus Valley, and Egypt, people lived in more spacious and refined houses with some having two or three stories. In Egypt for instance, the rich class even had gardens and pools in addition to house furniture; prime real estate.
The use of early forms of cement began around 200 BC by the Assyrians and Babylonians, and the Greeks and Romans improved the material while constructing arches and domes around 1 BC. Modern cement however was patented in 1824 by Joseph Aspdin, an English mason and brick layer.
Fast forward, the modern concept of housing has evolved from the European palaces that were constructed in the Middle Ages with marked improvements beginning the 15th century through to the 18th century in line with economic improvements at the time too. By the late 17th century, most of the poor people could afford to live in basic back-to-back stones houses and the rich could hire the services of neo-classical architects who designed and built century defining designs.
Improvements in the type of housing did not come easy however with certain families in Europe having to put up in single-roomed houses at the end of the 19th century. However, life at the turn of the 19th century brought better fortunes to many. As a result of the industrial revolution, Britain became the first modern urban society. The working class began to demand more comfort and later, even luxury in housing.
Most of the modern conveniences in dwelling units were actually achieved in during the 1900s when many inventions and technologies came to maturity, real estate markets developed and economies flourished. Urban centres, in particular, profited much from inventions such as steel which allowed for construction of skycrapers and electricity which led to many household inventions. Wide spread adoption of these innovations across continents laid the ground for global urbanization.
The current type of modern houses, was designed in the early 1920s in the by architect Rudolf Schindler who used concrete and sliding glass panels for walls and partitioning. Modern iterations of the original design are more versatile.
Shelter has come a long way, as long as humans have existed.