I am a shadow dwelling twisted green juice guzzling monkie overlord, inhabiting the DarkPlanet. Using my own oozing brain juice, I go about my days infecting the helpless drones who unfortunately find themselves on my domain.
We would like to introduce Architect Michelle Kaufmann and her green Architecture firm, MK Designs. Michelle, has established her self as something of a spokes person for green living as well as a full time Architect designing and building some interesting green prefabs. Over the next few weeks, we will post some of Michelle video tips, how to live a little green. But right now, why don’t we let Michelle tell us a little about herself.
Growing up in Iowa, I have always had a deep understanding of the relationship between humankind and the environment. I strive to ingrain this awareness into everything I do. I believe that how we develop our landscape is such an integral part of our culture and that what we build, and how we build, should improve the environment rather than harm it.
After receiving my undergraduate degree from Iowa State University and my Masters from Princeton University, I was fortunate enough to work for both Frank Gehry as well as for Michael Graves. Both of these brilliant architects have engaged in product design as a means for bringing good design to the masses, Graves with his product work with Target and Gehry with his work for Tiffany & Co., Swatch and others.
When I relocated to Northern California, I found a lack of affordable, sustainable, well-designed homes. I soon realized I could make a difference through my architecture. In 2002, I founded Michelle Kaufmann Designs and began my effort to make thoughtful, sustainable design accessible to all.
Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to become a leader in the green design community. My commitment to sustainable living and design remains constant throughout all of my work, of which I’m very proud, including my sustainable home designs as well as through designing custom homes and holistic, green communities.
Could you ever imagine being envious of people who live in Shipping Containers? Well, now you can, because the Cove Park project is just that good. A dreamy water side home complete with a grass roof.
Cove Park is a centre for established artists situated on the west coast of Scotland in 50 acres of spectacular countryside.
In 2002, Container City created three en-suite accommodation units (known as ‘cubes’) to act as artist retreats. In order to blend into the rural surroundings sliding glass doors were installed that lead out onto the decked balcony that extends over a lake with beautiful views of Loch Long.
Due to the success of the first three units, three more have been commissioned and are due for completion in June 2006.
Cove Park is situated on a 50-acre site overlooking Loch Long on the Rosneath peninsula. Located on the fringes of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the peninsula is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Recently I have been reading a lot about Carl Sagan and the things he spent his life on. He was an amazing man driven to waken all of us to the world we actually live in. Carl Sagan gave his last interview with Charlie rose on May 27th 1996. He discussed pseudo-science, religion, unfounded claims, his personal love affair with science and his struggle with myelodysplasia as well as other elements of his last book: The Demon-Haunted World. Carl lost his fight with myelodysplasia shortly after this interview on December 20, 1996.
Carl Sagan “Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. And in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy.”
via wikipedia.org / Carl Edward Sagan, Ph.D. (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrochemist, author, and highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics and other natural sciences. He pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
I have lived in Venice California for over 10 years now and I have to tell you the water off the coast is just plain dirty. With all the trash, oil and other garbage running out of the storm drains into our ocean, it can’t handle the overload. It makes me wonder what it is like to have to live in those waters. Well, I guess the State is finally waking up and has started working on new programs to protect areas of the ocean completely. Protection from pollution and fishing.
Quest: The waters off the coast of California are some of the richest in the world. But declines in fish species have led state leaders to begin creating large protected areas, or “no fishing zones,” similar to wilderness areas on land. Although controversial with some fishing groups, the idea is to protect entire ecosystems instead of single species. The hope is that a statewide network may help bring back fish, birds and marine mammals that are currently on the brink.
Through the eyes of these scientists, we witness the undersea life in bloom. They clearly have one of the best offices to go to work to each day.
The Yellow Treehouse Treehugging Restaurant, was built for a reality tv show. The concept behind the show was that everything used to build this Treehouse Restaurant had be acquired by using the Yellow Page Listings.
The concept is driven by the ‘enchanted’ site which is raised above an open meadow and meandering stream on the edge of the woods.
The tree-house concept is reminiscent of childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination . It’s inspired through many forms found in nature -the chrysalis/cocoon protecting the emerging butterfly/moth, perhaps an onion/garlic clove form hung out to dry. It is also seen as a lantern, a beacon at night that simply glows yet during the day it might be a semi camouflaged growth, or a tree fort that provides an outlook and that offers refuge.The plan form also has loose similarities to a sea shell with the open ends spiralling to the centre .
It’s the treehouse we all dreamed of as children but could only do as an adult fantasy.
Access is via a 60m tree-top ‘accessible’ walkway –an adventure in itself.
The selected site and tree had to meet a myriad of functional requirements -18 seated people and waiting staff in relative comfort complete with a bar; gaining correct camera angles with associated light qualities for filming the adverts, web cam and stills, have unobstructed views into the valley and entrance to the site and structural soundness . The final selected tree is one of the larger trees on the site and sits above a steep part of the site which accentuates the tree’s height. Kitchen/catering facilities and toilets are at ground level.
The Architectural component embodies a simple oval form wrapped ‘organically’ around the trunk and structurally tied at top and bottom, with a circular plan that is split apart on the axis with the rear floor portion raised. This allows the approach from the rear via a playful tree-top walkway experience, slipping inside the exposed face of the pod and being enchanted by the juxtaposition of being in an enclosed space that is also quite ‘open’ and permeable to the treetop views. There is also a ‘Juliet’ deck opposite the entrance that looks down the valley.
The scale and form of the tree-house creates a memorable statement without dominating its setting. While its natural ‘organic’ form sits comfortably, the rhythm of the various materials retains its strong architectural statement. The verticality of the fins mimics the verticality of the redwoods and enable the building to naturally ‘blend’ into its setting, as though it were a natural growth.
Everyone knows composites materials are the are the lightest strongest high tech material on the planet, right? Well, maybe not always. Arndt Menke thinks nature is pretty good at making super light super strong materials as well, which we call wood. In fact nature produces of 60,000 different woody plants and a vast majority of them could be used. This diploma thesis for Menke’s master’s degree demonstrates how careful attention to wood’s natural retention, expansion and anisotropic properties can be advantageous in design. The end result is an incredibly light weight bike, strong and pretty darn good looking too. I really want one.
The bike Holzweg bike’s frame is completely made of wood and only weighs in at 5 pounds.
The Neal Creek residence treads lightly upon its surroundings, maximizing valley and water views with minimal impact to the natural environment. The owners – windsurfing and snowboarding enthusiasts – were interested in a modest weekend retreat that would be highly efficient and ecologically minded. Their wooded two-acre parcel of land presented many unique challenges including wetlands, creek protection setbacks, and floodplain restrictions.
The design solution for the two-bedroom house addresses these issues by elevating the habitable space one full floor above grade. Views to the creek are enhanced from this position and the living spaces float within the tree tops. Lifting the main space protects the house from potential flooding and brush fire damage while making way for a covered outdoor patio and much needed gear storage below. At the uppermost level, the roof has been sized and detailed to allow for a future planted roof that will replace the landscape lost to the building footprint and reduce heat gain to the interior spaces.
Todays exclusive interview is with the Founder and COO from the company Revenge IS. A company focused on spreading green messages on desirable recycled products to a main stream audience.
Their Mission Statement: Global warming, energy dependence, war, economic turmoil, foreclosures and unemployment – these are some of the major crisis facing our world today. Developing alternative sources, practicing “reduce, reuse and recycle” in our everyday lives, and demanding more effective diplomatic and economic policies of our government and business institutions will help. The old saying goes “the best revenge is living well.” Our belief is that, by taking action today, we can all live well tomorrow
G Monkie: Marilyn / Carly, you just started up in 2008, right in the middle of the global economic crash. Why start a company now and what experience did you have in the fashion business?
Marilyn Barrett, Founder/CEO: None. Fortunately, we have found several brilliant designers to work with who share our commitment to green eco-fashion and social justice.
The idea for Revenge Is… came to me about a year ago while taking a walk with my two favorite furry companions. The 2008 Presidential election cycle had started and the many problems facing our country and the world today were in the forefront of the news and political commentary – global warming, energy dependence, economic turmoil, and wars resulting in too many deaths and injuries. I felt angry and frustrated and wanted the people who were primarily responsible for these problems to stop…and pay for the pain and losses they caused. I know I am not alone.
Carly Miller, Chief Operating Officer: I ran Clothing of the American Mind, a socially, environmentally and politically driven t-shirt company, from 2004 – 2009, but I have no formal training or education as a fashion designer; however, I feel that often, the best education is hands-on experience, which was definitely the case for me.
It’s the source of life but it’s also the cause of a lot of unnecessary death. In places where clean water isn’t available, water-related diseases like cholera cause massive diarrhea, dehydration, and thousands of deaths each day. Affordable water-treatment solutions exist. We’d like to see them flourish.
Women in poor communities across Asia, Africa, and South America typically walk an average of 3 miles a day to fetch water for their households, often from contaminated sources such as rivers, unprotected springs, and shallow wells, say Sauer and Tamburro, both from the Washington, DC-based group Water Advocates. The time this takes could be spent instead on income-generating activities, education, and caring for the family. Moreover, the quality of water that women in developing nations must bring home puts people at risk of deadly diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and amoebic dysentery, diarrheal diseases that kill more children under five than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. “Only with safe and accessible water will women and their families have a chance to live and to lead productive lives,” write Sauer and Tamburro.
The new upcoming VW Golf Vl is strangely proud to be very trashy. No, it’s not roaming the streets looking for Johns to Pick Up. The trashy part comes from all that recycle material it used to actually build it. A whopping 40% or more of steel, aluminum and other materials all come from pre-used sources.
Here is some of the official press release.
Volkswagen commissioned an audit into the use of secondary raw materials known as recyclates in the new Golf. The investigation showed that 527 kg of secondary raw materials, or over 40 percent of the vehicle weight, are used in the new Golf, thus conserving resources. As a result, the new Golf not only excels with its efficient TSI and common rail engines, but also through the use of environmentally-friendly materials. This is the first time that an audit into the use of recyclates in a complete vehicle has been conducted and certified by the TÜV technical inspection authority.
We are always on the look out for good container home designs and this isn’t one of them. Okay it is a student project, but come on, this is pretty getto compared to what other architects and designers have done with shipping containers. We are only posting it to contrast the good from the bad.
The project is by Chrissie Beavis, a student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Looks like she created the design way back in 2004, so maybe she has fine tuned her container designs by now. We couldn’t find any updates or new design by Chrissie, so maybe this was a one off for her.
Chrissie says: “The final product will be a home that is approx 250 sq.ft. It will be just as mobile as the standard shipping container (truck, train, ship). Any standard container can be turned into a home with this design. Thus it has the potential to possibly provide disaster relief housing while putting to use the surplus of containers in the world. It also has the potential to be used in many applications from an upscale guest house to migrant worker housing. The home can be extruded from the container in less than five minutes by one person, and has the option of being fully furnished (major appliances included).”
Another Architect tries out using shipping containers as building blocks for new home construction. This one is in Victoria BC and the home uses both containers and traditional building technics in the construction. The cost of the home with upgraded appliances is coming in under $180 per sq ft, which the Architect says is good for that part of Canada and he expects the next few buildings he designs will come down in cost. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos