Even us gardeners with Black Thumbs, understands why plants love to live in green houses. They are basically no different than your average vacationer, they want to sunbath all day and be wrapped in a warm blanket of air? Wouldn’t it be nice if we humans could live in our own version of a green house. Something bathing in natural light, which always stays nice and toasty, even in the coldest of climates. Turns out we can do just that, even in a frigid place like Belgian, green houses are the perfect people growers. The home pictured above is a greenhouse in every sense of the word. As in a typical gardening greenhouse, this one is constructed from a prefabricated steel frame, alternating series of super-insulating transparent glass and translucent polycarbonate plates and extra insulation in the back of the house. The insulation in the back also serves the purpose of obscuring the views into the house.
Through the clever use of the insulating glass, the same heating effect that is found in a real greenhouse is successfully mimicked. This occurs when heat from the sun’s rays passes through the glass walls and warms up the interior whilst the insulation in the glass prevents the heat from escaping.
In the world of Architecture, choosing to build your career and business on the leading fringe edge is a dangerous choice. Leaving the safety of the pack, just like in nature, might just prove to be unwise. So, when an Architect hangs out his shingle and declares, I will build my homes on a factory floor, he or she might just be committing business suicide. A few architecture firms over the last five years have done exactly that. They defined their business around a new way to be smarter, modern luxury custom homes, sustainably and most of all green. Predictably most of these companies have either failed already or are on the ropes. Higher start up cost, and the small pool of buyers is mostly to blame. This is why, when a company emerges successfully out of the start up phase and into full production, they definitely deserve a closer look.
One such company which has emerged out of the woods and seems to be on the road to success is Flatpak House, founded by Charles Lazor. Charles entered into the prefab housing market with a little more knowledge than most, since he is also a co-founder of Blu Dot, a flatpack modern furniture business. His approach to green prefab building is a little different than most of the other Architects as well. Instead of building the entire house in a factory, such as LivingHomes, and Office of Mobile Design, has done, he decided to build only the key components of the building. Using these components, the new home buyer could pick and choose which ones to use, like a giant lego set, to make their home. This flexibility is why Lazor calls his house “manufactured architecture” rather than prefab. (Also, like any good designer, he knows that naming, packaging, and marketing are essential to the success of a product.) “This way of designing is all about finding an answer to a problem,” he says, “rather than expressing the will of an architect. It’s the opposite of the individual genius model.”
What do you get when you combine the ever popular shipping containers with old airplane fuselages? A Mobile Dwelling Unit, of course. The brainchild of LOT-EK, this brilliant architectural design has been on the market since 2002, and is the model from which other module-based designs are now being based. Led by Ada Tolla and Guiseppe Lignano, LOT-EK’s mission is to blur any boundaries between art, architecture, information and entertainment. Their groundbreaking approach to design and architecture is redefining the way we as a populace interact with industry and technology.
But there is a glaring problem with this design. It’s just plain ugly. Which is too bad, because MDU is the same firm who designed the Puma City mobile store made from multiple containers and that one is pretty cool. Well, except for the use of the orange again. A colorist should really talk with these guys. They use orange in hazard area’s for a reason, its a bit disturbing.
If your a green hearted Monkie like me, the city of Austin is the only city in Texas to live in. That is if your actually already in Texas. Austin is a very green minded city surrounded a mob of land grabbing oil men. When the Austin community tried to protect their ground water and prevent sprawling developments, the Governor (George Bush) stripped them of their rights and gave a green light for developers. Those developers quickly exploded the population size and yes, ruined Barton Springs.
But things are not all doom and gloom. Austin is also the home of Mega Organic grocier, Whole Foods and the city is inching it’s way back to the green side. Here is a great example. The Annie Residence by the Bercy Chen Studio.
“zeroHouse” I gotta say, the name doesn’t thrill me. In this age of crappy no-calorie sodas that taste like metal or underfed actresses with no curves who can fit into a size smaller than 1, the word “zero” connotates that something vital is missing or that the product is somehow subpar. And who wants Continue Reading / See Additional Photos
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We recently stumbled across a very interesting Australian Green Architect Andrew Maynard. His interest is rethinking modern green designs with a look to the future.
Recently named in Wallpaper Magazine’s Architects Directory, an “annual guide to the world’s most innovative practices”, Andrew Maynard’s design practice is quickly becoming recognised as an emerging force on the architectural scene. Since Andrew Maynard Archtects was established in late 2002 it has been recognized internationally in media, awards and exhibitions for its unique body of built work and its experimental conceptual design polemics.
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.
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.
Imagine this, owning a micro-sized house that needs no furniture and no extra rooms. A future-forward home that gave you the feeling of living in your own sci-fi film, set on a distant planet. If this image appeals to you, welcome to your dream home: The m-ch (micro-compact home). A team of researchers and designers based in London and at the Technical University in Munich developed the m-ch as an answer to an increasing demand for short stay living for students, business people, sports and leisure use and for weekenders.
The m-ch, now in use and available throughout Europe, combines techniques for high-quality compact “living” spaces deployed in aircraft, yachts, cars and micro apartments. Its design has been informed by the classic scale and order of a Japanese tea house, combined with advanced concepts and technologies. Living in an m-ch means focusing on essentials — less is more. The use of progressive materials complements the sleek design. Quality of design, touch and use were the key objectives for the micro-compact home team, for “short-stay smart living.”
The micro-compact low e-home is all-electric and powered by photovoltaic solar panels of 8sqm with a small diameter vertical axis wind generator.
Method Homes, a Seattle manufacturer of architect-designed, sustainably built prefab housing, is pleased to announce that its first prefab, green cabin in Glacier, Washington near Mt. Baker has been completed. The cabin is fully furnished and is currently being used as a vacation home by Method Founders Brian Abramson and Mark Rylant and their families.
Rylant is pleased with the layout and configuration of the current model, which is based on a flexible template. “One of the exciting things about our design is that it can be modified and constructed in so many different ways and sizes ranging from 800 to 2000+ square feet and as one or two stories.”
Method Homes completed the construction on schedule in just three months. Abramson and Rylant see their timely finish as a testament to the advantages of the off-site approach. According to Brian Abramson, “Construction in the Company’s controlled-environment facility results in a faster build-out (it never rains indoors), and a more efficient one at that–up to 50% less waste of building materials in the construction process. Craftsmen can count on being productive and adhering to anticipated schedules. By building in a factory, Method’s crews cut down on trips made to the site by delivery vehicles and subcontractors, thus minimizing impact to the environment.”
We are covering this house on G Living not because its the greenest building on the planet or anything, but because it the design elements, could be green. So, the ideas behind the building are very green and just might give you some ideas to put into your own future green pad.
The Baltazar Residence by Public Architects, is a small one story bungalow sat on a substandard lot between two nondescript condominiums. Within that small house lived a growing family with a modern aesthetic who wanted to take advantage of the ocean views their site offered while adding square footage. The house has a concrete base that rises out of the ground with a minimal amount of openings until the second story, where it turns into a steel frame with a glass window wall that offers a panoramic view out to the Pacific Ocean.