How often do I go to a store and spot a high ticket item that I know would look fantastic in my home? Very. How often do I actually end up purchasing it? Not very.
It’s not that I’m cheap; for things I know I’ll keep, I don’t mind spending good money. But what usually runs through my head is: I can make one of these myself. And what happens then is I go home, add it to my list of projects and eventually figure out a way to make it. I’m pretty handy that way. What I usually lack is the idea. I need inspiration from outside sources. Which is why I like stumbling across things like the incredibly cool DIY lamp made from an old washing machine barrel. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Move over, Master Po…there’s a new Grasshopper in town. San Francisco-based Fougeron Architecture, headed up by the determined Anne Fougeron, successfully rehabbed yet another structure.
I know… “yet another” sounds like “ehhh…whatever…” But the big deal about this fête accompli comes from the pre-rehab structure itself. Fougeron took an underutilized San Francisco concrete warehouse, waved her wand and Casa Crumbling Concrete became the elegant Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
I like aluminum – or aluminium, depending on which side of the ocean you live on – especially the 12-ounce variety. I also live near an aluminum plant and I know how much electricity is needed to extract the metal from the ore. So, when I heard that some folks in Japan were going to start building homes with aluminum, I was skeptical.
If it comes to living in the country or the city, for me the choice is a no-brainer. I mean, as beautiful as the countryside is, it’s great to visit — not so great to live. Shall we talk about isolation? I couldn’t bear it. The city is really where it’s at for me. Cities are exciting cultural hubs that offer an alluring mix of art, film, theatre, music, restaurants, shops and — if you happen to live in a city other than Los Angeles — public transport.
The one thing cities don’t have are… farms. And I don’t mean the scarecrow-combine harvester-herds of Black Angus-type farms, I’m talking about a genuine urban farm.
The one pictured here comes from New York based Work Architecture, and is the winner of the ninth annual MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architect Program. Called Public Farm 1 (or PF1), this will become a living installation when it goes up in P.S.1’s outdoor courtyard on June 20th.
As a kid, I was never one for climbing trees. When it came to recreation, the idea of getting a skinned knee wasn’t exactly what I called relaxation. I guess that’s why I wasn’t instantly impressed by the tree-house like structures proposed as new guest suites for Verana, a hillside resort in Yelapa, Mexico.
Verana is a secluded resort located a short boat ride away from Puerto Vallarta. It sits upon a hillside in the Mexican Jungle and has panoramic views of the mountains and beach below (Note: You must be transported from the beach to the resort by mules!). The resort offers a variety of rooms ranging from studios and bungalows to suites and houses, all with amenities and access to a full service spa and dining.
So, you might be wondering where these tree-houses fit in.
To accommodate the employees who work seasonally at Verana, the resort decided to build a housing system that looks as though it came from a page of The Swiss Family Robinson. They dubbed these structures V-houses due to their shape. Modeled after similar structures called “hooches” (good name change), they were designed by Joe Scheer, whose purpose was to provide temporary shelter with minimal disruption to its surroundings.
Looking at Cliff Spencer’s design gallery is truly like viewing a work of art. When I first heard there was a designer using old wine barrels to make furniture and cabinetry, I was dying to see what the pieces looked liked and how this idea had come about. And when I did, I was impressed.
My only prior experience with wine barrels was a wine-tasting road trip up the coast of California’s lovely wine country. I knew that wine was given its flavor from the wood as it ferments, and that after a barrel loses its flavor (on average 3-4) years, the barrels are either discarded or used for storage. It had never occurred to me that just as the oak flavor of the wood seeps into the wine, the color of the grapes would similarly leave a permanent stain on the wood — and in an array of natural colors.
Everyone in Hollywood knows that a movie needs a good tag line in order to hook viewers. As for the true story of self-absorbed conceptual artist Vanessa Beecroft and her long suffering lawyer/art dealer/entertainment consultant/Warner Bros. executive husband Greg Durkin, in the aftermath of her botched adoption attempt of Sudanese twins, I think the L.A. Times came up with a good one: “Beecroft traveled to Sudan, fell in love with a pair of motherless babies there and labored, in the presence of a documentarian’s camera, to adopt them — without consulting her husband”.
I’d certainly call that an attention grabber.
The entire event is chronicled in “The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins” — a documentary directed by New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly, which screened at this year’s Sundance film festival. The near adoption tale begins with Beecroft, herself a mother of two, traveling to Sudan out of concern about the genocide. After developing mastitis on the plane, she offers her milk to some orphaned Sudanese newborns. It’s there that Beecroft meets the twins, Madit and Mangor Akot Makoi, and it’s love at first sight.
Man-made reservoirs don’t exactly bring a soft, fuzzy image to my mind, so when I heard what’s happening in Southern California in the hills between L.A. and San Diego, my skeptical side kicked in.
Metropolitan Water District (MWD) is the top dog in securing water for L.A. and its suburbs. They don’t have a great track record in terms of being kind to the environment, draining natural lakes and damming rivers to create man-made reservoirs to help quench the thirst of millions of people living in the desert. One area targeted for a reservoir was Diamond Valley, just outside of Hemet, CA, and construction of the 4,500 acre site began in 1995. Almost immediately, crews began unearthing prehistoric creatures and American Indian artifacts. There was no place to put the over 1 million pieces until recently when the Western Center for Archaeology and Paleontology opened its doors.
Green, sustainable, organic. These words are no longer relegated to the lunatic fringe or the farmers markets. Each month, more and more mainstream (and edgy) publications are featuring socially conscious and eco-savvy stories. But how can you keep abreast of them all?
Luckily for you, G Living is on top of it. You may not have the time or the inclination to trawl through glossy magazines, ogling gorgeous organic fashions, alternative transportation or stunning off-the-grid architecture every month. But we live for this stuff. And we’ll begin our commitment to magazine green with one of our favorites – Wallpaper.
Well, I’ve never been to Spain, but I kinda like the… green design that seems to abound there. The latest in Spain’s seemingly endless parade of green architecture is definitely a place I would like to call home. It’s called the Casa OS (don’t ask me what OS stands for) and it was designed by Madrid-based Nolaster Architects.
The design is totally green – the basics of which include reduced energy and smart water use. To reduce energy, the home is built over a dug-out cavern, taking advantage of thermal massing and reducing the wind profile. It also has a sod roof, perhaps the coolest (literally and figuratively) of all green home features. The construction materials are green, too, using modular zinc panels which last longer in the salty air and can be easily disassembled, reused, or replaced. Finally, the home has in-floor radiant heating that can be controlled room by room, making it über-efficient.
>The Hudson Yards, a large former rail yard next to midtown Manhattan’s Hudson River, is getting a redo. While it was inevitable that this long undeveloped site would eventually be given the designer treatment, what’s unexpected are the masterful plans proposed by Steve Holl, one of five designers invited to submit their designs Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
The Environmental House Plan is the brainchild of Lars Hundley of Clean Air Gardening and Bryan Welty of Virtual Architect. Like other modular homes, the plan is adaptable to many different combinations, and the architect is available to modify the plan to personal desire. The blueprints for this house alone are sold on their website, a set of 5 running $1,895.00.
It’s a good-looking idea at an even better looking price.
What gives Environmental House Plan its greenness factor over some other modular homes is site orientation. These guys offer free siting to maximize the efficiency of the sun’s angle. The overhangs and wood louvers block steep summer sun angles, but allow low angled winter sun into the house. The house has a heavy mass to the north or northwest side, which acts as a buffer to the cold side of the house. The raised pier foundation allows airflow around the house, and should cause little disturbance to the natural drainage of the building site.
And then there’s the rest of the plan. The plan suggests the owner choose eco-friendly options in building the rest of the house. Their website has a great list of online resources for building ecologically, but it’s DIY. You buy the best materials locally, like the engineered lumber. You pick out the energy efficient windows, doors and best available insulation. You do it up green. That’s why it’s called the Environmental House Plan.