Architecture

Green Building Using Thin-Film Solar

This is the new Ballard Library in Seattle. It’s a state-of-the-art green building which makes use of a sod roof, daylighting, and translucent thin-film solar collectors from Schott. It is listed in the American Institute of Architecture’s top ten green buildings.

Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide

This practical book is the first step-by-step green building guide we’ve seen. It is packed with photographs illustrating building techniques like Earth Plastering, Straw Bale Construction, Living Roofs, Cordwood Building and Cob Building. At over 600 pages, this hefty guide is useful for anyone wanting to see the nitty-gritty details of green building. The author’s …

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Metaefficient: Trombe Walls

Incorporating a Trombe Wall into a house is one of the most efficient ways to capture the heat of the sun. They work in the mildest to the most severe of climates. Basically, sunlight strikes the wall through a window, and the Trombe Wall heats up, causing warm air to flow into a room.

iT House

Inhabitat reports on the iT House — a prefabricated housing system that uses glass and aluminum frames as its basis. Created by Bosch, the house is only 1000 square feet, and is designed to be constructed in 8 weeks. It makes use of radiant heat flooring and solar panels on the roof. Homeowners can customize …

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Modular Dwellings

Modular Dwellings makes these compact, modern rooms. They are designed to be easy to transport and quick to assemble. They were created by Edgar Blazona, who is based in San Francisco. The blueprints to one “shed” can be purchase from ReadyMade Magazine’s store for $35. It can be constructed from Plexiglas, steel, and prefinished plywood. …

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Why Prefab Homes Can Be Compelling

Living Box is a site that has a nice cross-section of prefabricated homes. The examples seen there are actually intended to inspire entries in a design competition. Prefab homes are appealing to us, due to their compact lightness and modern architecture. Another compelling factor should be the price, but designers have not full realized this …

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A Modern, Green Modular Cabin: BlueSky Mod

This modern prefab cabin, called the BlueSky MOD, is one of a few examples of affordable green modular homes currently available today (see these books for more examples). It was designed by Todd Saunders, an architect born and trained in Canada and currently working in Norway. The company that sells the homes, also called BlueSky …

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Biopavers

We mentioned previously that using porous pavers is an effective alternative to paving with concrete. They make patios and driveways less erosion-prone and they do not get as hot as hard-surfaced pavement. Now a company called Biopaver is trying to take things a step further by introducing a new type of paver designed to catch …

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Japanese Interiors: Minimalist: Adaptable: Renewable

Traditional Japanese houses are built with bamboo, paper, straw and other kinds of light weight wood, all of which are renewable. The houses are also made with components such as tatami mats, shoji screens and tansu cabinets. The components are fitted together without nails, and are often rearranged. For example, in the bedroom, futons are …

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Transefficient: Porous Pavers

Porous pavers are permeable replacements for concrete or other hard surfaces. They reduce rain water runoff by 90% thus avoiding erosion. Less pollution reaches the waterways because the rain water penetrates the underlying ground more effectively. Permeable pavement is slightly different — it looks like concrete but is structured to be porous so that rain …

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