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IdeaGarden Eco-Farmhouse

After Will Rosenzweig and Carla Fracchia bought this 100-year-old farmhouse in Healdsburg, California, they hired Arkin Tilt Architects and Earthtone Construction to make an eco-friendly example out of it. The house had good bones but it was "thermally challenged in both summer and winter," says architect Anni Tilt. Thanks to the addition of a new wrap of rigid insulation on the exterior, new windows throughout, a ventilated roof, and a new wing with shade overhangs, the house is transformed. "It now provides an entirely different level of comfort and performance—a quantum leap forward—which has transformed the way we use it," the owners report. Click through the slideshow to see how the architects and contractors turned the old and leaky structure into a model of energy-efficiency. All photos courtesy of Edward Caldwell (copyright 2011).
October 13, 2011
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Page Goolrick's Favorite Buildings

It's fun asking architects what their favorite buildings are; you discover all kinds of cool buildings you didn't know existed, and also gain insight into that architect's design influences. We've recently heard from industrial designer Gustavo Fricke; architect Jeff Sherman; and architect Gerald Parsonson. This week's list comes courtesy of architect Page Goolrick, a longtime Dwell favorite. We've featured her own apartment in New York in a 2006 issue, and I wrote about her renovation of a beach bungalow on Long Island last June. Here are her picks for the three most inspiring buildings she's encountered.
October 4, 2011
Puerto Natales, Patagonia, Chile; Remota Hotel, designed by German del Sol

Hotel Remota, Patagonia

In the vast plains of Patagonia stands the Hotel Remota. Architect Germán Del Sol, who is also a professor at the Universidad de Chile, wanted to conceal the luxury that awaits the traveler, "to lower the expectations, so its interior will appear unexpectedly in all its splendor." It’s all about the element of surprise—including the fact that even with its innovative design and lavish comforts, the hotel was built with a conscious effort to care for nature, striving to use minimal energy.   
October 3, 2011
Achieving zero net energy required integration with every aspect of zHome’s design. Even in initial site planning, we had to take into account solar heat gain and ensuring clear solar access to each unit’s roof.

A Zero-Energy Community: Part 2

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 2: Building REALLY green... It's easier than you think. Forty percent. That’s the share of total CO2 emissions each year in the US that comes from energy used in buildings. Building operations—heating, cooling, lighting, and everything else inside the walls—are the single largest generator of carbon dioxide in the country. It’s an easy thing to forget about, sort of like background noise. But it’s there, humming along, 24/7.
September 28, 2011
Fire Station 39 by Miller Hull Partnership

Hot Houses

When Seattle’s fire stations needed an overhaul, the city selected local architects to give these ultimate live/work spaces a modern-minded update. Seattle, Washington, firefighters don’t need to bunk next to their trucks anymore. Thirteen architecture firms so far have been hired as part of a $300 million program to upgrade all 32 neighborhood stations by 2015 (20 substantial renovations and 12 new constructions), and each proposed a sustainable new style of fire-station living.
September 27, 2011
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An Idyllic Swedish Summerhouse

It's been a while since I've seen a project as desirable and jealousy-making as this one (and working at Dwell, that means a lot...!). This summer house, renovated by Jonas Labbé and Johannes Schotanus of LASC for a family in Skåne, Sweden, is to me the perfect example of how strong design, thoughtfully placed bursts of strong color, and honest natural treatment can elevate even the simplest forms and materials. Click through the slideshow for a peek into the loveliest summer retreat.
September 21, 2011
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Jerusalem's Hotel Mamilla

When plans were introduced for the Mamilla Hotel Jerusalem, which opened in June of 2009 and is among the few selected five-star hotels in the city, it sparked a bit of controversy. This completely modern property could have threatened the sacredness of the Old City and its desire to keep an ancient aesthetic. But all was set at ease once architect Moshe Safdie and designer Piero Lissoni took creative rein. Faced with the challenge of designing a contemporary property for Alrov Luxury Group while honoring the municipal law of building with Jerusalem stone (local practice for years), Israeli-born Safdie used the material’s characteristics to his advantage. He took a medium used for centuries and practically redefined it by delivering something fresh and modern. 
September 19, 2011
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A Zero-Energy Community: Part 1

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 1: Introduction to the project.   I am writing this as I sit in the zHome Stewardship Center, which will open later this Fall as a hub of education and market transformation for radically green housing in the Pacific Northwest. I’m surrounded by the sounds of typical construction wrap-up on a residential community—the clink of rebar being laid down for the concrete walkways, Motown being played on the radio by a cleanup crew, and a trackhoe moving larger trees into place. There’s also non-typical sounds—those of drills on the roof, where the solar panels are being installed, and ground source heat pumps starting up for the first time.
September 14, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 26

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 26: Overview and Intermission Six and a half months ago I introduced the Dwell audience to our project. Time flies. Four years ago we purchased land and the crazy journey began. In 26 weekly installments I've shared the good, the bad and the ugly with you in the hope that it inspires you to go and take a chance on that project you've always been dreaming of, whether it be a room remodel, house remodel, or a full-on start-from-scratch dream project. This post and slideshow signifies the end of the first half of the series. It's a chance for me to step away and take a break from the weekly blog, and celebrate the milestone of finally receiving our building permit—and a chance for you to go back and read some of the past posts to catch up with our story. There's been a lot of photos shared, some behind-the-scenes video sneak-peeks into the project, some fun interviews with the different players involved and lots of heart-on-the-sleeve commentary from the trenches on what it takes to take on a project of this scale. I've enjoyed the comments (most of them) and questions. We've had a great number of Dwell readers continue to the conversation on our Facebook page and many visit the website for the documentary film series. Both online platforms will continue and the Facebook page is a great way to stay connected to the project. During our halftime intermission we will be securing the final details of our construction loan, helping our kids transition into the school year and generally just taking a big sigh of relief as four years for us of preparation, permits, surveys, drawings, concepts, revisions, clearing, thinning, mitigation, wetland reviews, drainage studies, geotechnical drilling, hiccups, pleasant surprises and more have resulted in the end goal of getting the designs approved and green-lighted for the second half of the project: construction. The Dwell editors have promised to let me come come back and share more stories when we break ground on the house. What took us four years to to achieve you've experienced at light speed in just 26 weeks. I encourage fans of the project to reach out via Facebook; we are more than happy to field questions and share further details about our project. Although we cannot promise to answer every question we will do our best. I look forward to the moment that we can visually walk you through the finished project. Thank you all for the opportunity to share our story. We hope we've inspired some to take the plunge and others to start thinking about their own modern dreams.   Cheers! Maxon Family  
September 7, 2011
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