We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Some shutters are inside the glass, some outside. They are all used, not ornamental.
The reason they are there is because, in stone, stucco, or brick construction, you have natural daytime air conditioning if you don't let too much sunlight in during mid-day. You will never see air-conditioners, because they don't need them except in modern office buildings.
The low-humidity Med climate, with cool nights, is perfect for humans with stone buildings.
I just stumbled on the random fact that Hartford CT, Cape Cod, Rome, and Istanbul all exist on latitude 41 N. Of course, just along that latitude is not the quickest route. Great circles and all that.
Is not stone construction for buildings also used in the piedmont area/Como & Garda lakes? I ask because that area is more like ours (also here in CT), particularly with the harsher winters.
As for the relative humidity, I've not looked at a comparison between our two 41 N locations - though I suspect we have more than they do.
Still, I've wondered why we don't use more stone construction here in the northeast (at least the states along the LI Sound), or concrete or brick - pretty much anything that's not wood/sheetrock. Yes, I know, cost comparison, etc...; but it sure would last a lot longer, don't you think?
"Further refinements from Arab architecture include central courtyards and roofed patio/breezeways"
Actually that's something that dates back to Roman architecture, not Arab, and might even have been in use in Judea in pre-Roman times in one form or another.
Arabs didn't invent it, they merely adopted it when they found it already in use.
As to shutters, one reason we have them on our house in Spain is to make the job harder on burglars. Heavy steel shutters on the outside, with sprinloaded locks going deep into the concrete outer walls, and held shut with padlocks on the inside make a reasonable obstacle. Combined with a wood-clad reinforced steel door, it makes for an uninviting target for a home invasion.
Keeping the place reasonably cool is a nice bonus.
"but it sure would last a lot longer, don't you think?"
Who cares, in the 'modern' USA? Everything is throwaway. Houses with clapboard walls and shingle roofs, they won't last 20 years (if 10) but the owners will likely get bored of them and want something "new and improved" after 5 and tear the place down so why bother building quality?
Builders build what customers order, and customers order cheap rather than good more often than not.
In Europe building codes usually require a level of structural integrity that's higher than what is required in many parts of the US (barring earthquake and hurricane zones), so stone, masonry, and concrete are far more common.
And oh, solid wood construction can last centuries if you're not in a zone prone to woodworm, termites, or excessive dampness.
"As to shutters, one reason we have them on our house in Spain is to make the job harder on burglars. Heavy steel shutters on the outside, with sprinloaded locks going deep into the concrete outer walls, and held shut with padlocks on the inside make a reasonable obstacle. Combined with a wood-clad reinforced steel door, it makes for an uninviting target for a home invasion."
"Atomic shutters" we used to call them when I was serving in Germany with the Canadian Forces and travelling in Europe. I always thought they were an eminently practical idea.
I loved that you could drop those shutters down tight on a sunny afternoon and sleep as if it were night.
Not far from where I live out here in the Ottawa Valley, there's a very splendid brick house and it has those "atomic shutters".
Over time, I noticed the shutters were fully deployed at specific periods of the year - suggesting the owners went on regular holidays. I came to the conclusion the owners had to be Germans, or at least European in origin.
In the fullness of time, I did meet the owners:
1. They were Germans.
2. They go to Germany in the spring and Florida in the winter.
You need screens primarily to keep insects and other flying vermin out.
In drier, low humidity climes, the total biomass of annoying insects is much lower than in highly humid areas, since most insects require some "wetness" to successfully breed.
Here in Denver, Colorado, (40 degrees north Lat.) away from large lakes, wetlands and streams, we are rarely bothered by clouds of the nasty critters, unlike you New Englanders, who suffer from hordes of no-see-ums, mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, wasps, and hornets of all types and varieties, in your "green hell!" Also the lack of humidity means a 15 degree difference between temps in the shade and in the direct sun! Gotta love the high altitude desert!
I know firsthand, though a COLO native, my spouse is from Mass. and my offspring lives in CT!