26 episodes

From This Old House, Clearstory is a window that sheds light on the surprising stories behind our homes. Host Kevin O'Connor digs into the systems, structures and materials in our homes from unexpected angles. Will future skyscrapers be built out of wood? Why is the American Chestnut heralded as “the perfect tree”? Did the Romans have a better recipe for concrete than what we use today? How will we build on Mars? You’ll hear from industry leaders, historians, and builders. Clearstory – your home in a new light.

Clearstory This Old House

    • Leisure
    • 4.8 • 653 Ratings

From This Old House, Clearstory is a window that sheds light on the surprising stories behind our homes. Host Kevin O'Connor digs into the systems, structures and materials in our homes from unexpected angles. Will future skyscrapers be built out of wood? Why is the American Chestnut heralded as “the perfect tree”? Did the Romans have a better recipe for concrete than what we use today? How will we build on Mars? You’ll hear from industry leaders, historians, and builders. Clearstory – your home in a new light.

    Home in a Kit

    Home in a Kit

    Between 1908 and 1940, Sears, Roebuck, and Co. sold 70,000 homes through their catalogs. These were called Kit Homes, and they ranged from simple one-story cottages to elaborate two-story homes with columns and fireplaces. The house arrived in pieces in a boxcar. And they helped spark the first wave of suburbia. Host Kevin O'Connor speaks with Rosemary Thorton, author of The Houses That Sears Built, and Avi Friedman, author of Pre-Fab Living, about this then-groundbreaking concept. How did the kit home answer a booming need for affordable and modern housing? And why did their popularity disappear? And is there a place for a modern kit home today as we face yet another housing crisis?
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    • 35 min
    Materials Around Us

    Materials Around Us

    Our lives are shaped by materials. And there’s no better place to see that reflected than in our homes. Glass windows revolutionized the comfort and safety of our houses. Stainless steel modernized our kitchens and even made our food taste more delicious. Host Kevin O’Connor explores the materials that surround us with Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society, and author of “Stuff Matters.” What are the most influential materials in our homes and will we really be able to change a room’s color with the push of a button?
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    • 34 min
    Urban Resilience

    Urban Resilience

    Sea levels are rising at an alarming rate worldwide. And yet, we keep moving to waterfront communities regardless of the threats. What does this mean for the buildings and residents of waterfront cities like New York City and Miami? How do we build our cities to be more resilient? Or is the best course of action to convince millions of people around the world to abandon their homes for higher ground? Host Kevin O'Connor speaks with Antony Wood, professor and executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Jim Murley, the Chief Resilience Officer for Miami-Dade County, and Jainey Bavishi, head of New York City’s Resilience Office about what’s being done now to mitigate this growing risk.
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    • 35 min
    “Plyscrapers”

    “Plyscrapers”

    Skyscrapers tell the stories of cities around the world. These massive columns of steel and glass continue to be feats of advanced building technologies, innovation and design, especially as super-tall structures push the limits of just how high we can go. But is it possible to build skyscrapers out of … wood? Host Kevin O’Connor speaks to architect Michael Green and Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center, about building tall with one of our original building materials.
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    • 38 min
    Healthy Homes

    Healthy Homes

    As building technologies have improved and new building materials have found their way into construction sites, our homes have certainly become healthier than before... right? Host Kevin O'Connor speaks with professors Jonsara Ruth and Alison Mears, co-founders of the Healthy Materials Lab, a design research lab at Parsons School of Design, about the history of toxic building materials, what we use today that could be harmful to our health, and how we can create healthier built environments.
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    • 39 min
    The Perfect Tree?

    The Perfect Tree?

    There was a time when the American Chestnut was a plentiful resource for the wood that built our homes. In the early 1900s it was found in house framing, windows, trim furniture, and more. At 100 feet tall and up to 10 feet wide, it towered over the eastern forests. But then it disappeared. And now there's a movement to bring it back. Host Kevin O’Connor gets the story from author Susan Freinkel, who shares the historic importance of the Redwood of the East. We learn about the cutting-edge technology that scientist Bill Powell is using to bring it back from extinction. We also talk to Rex Mann, who grew up in Appalachia with the American Chestnut and researcher Sara Fitzsimmons who is overseeing an orchard of new growth trees.
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    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
653 Ratings

653 Ratings

Kc19976 ,

Keep it coming!

I’ve never reviewed a podcast before but this is worth the stars. You don’t need to be a TOH viewer or even a DIYer to follow. It’s extremely informative and thought provoking. Listen in!

Slippery__Pete ,

Great podcast

Love TOH and ATOH - unfortunately I can’t watch them at work, so this pod gives me my TOH fix while I’m working.

Stella Belikiewicz ,

Turns out, our homes are FASCINATING!

This podcast is exactly my favorite kind of informational show, filled with thoughtful connections, nifty tidbits, and plenty of humor. In particular, I think fans of 99% Invisible will get a kick out of this one, because it really scratches that itch of “Dang, who knew this ordinary thing was so secretly fascinating?!”

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