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Latest Articles in Green Architecture

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Mini Apartments and Next-Wave Prefab, Part 1

This seven-part blog series profiles a new prefab development in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood—a LEED Platinum-targeted building containing 23 "micro-studios". Built in a California factory in a month and assembled on-site in just four days, these 300-square-foot units are paving the path to a new approach to prefab—and to small-space city living. PART ONE: Project Conception.     The rise of prefab in the U.S. over the past several years has been sparked by great design, sustainability, and the promise of speedier, more efficient construction methods. The next wave of prefab, according to Zeta Communities, a San Francisco design-build firm, and Panoramic Interests, a Berkeley-based developer, will be driven by growth in cities, multifamily urban infill, and transit-oriented development. "The reality of prefab is that the true benefits of manufacturing—cost, time, consistency, lower waste, higher quality, greater energy efficiency—are optimized with scale," says Shilpa Sankaran, cofounder of Zeta Communities.   In 2008, Patrick Kennedy and Cara Houser of Panoramic Interests conceived the idea of developing a unique housing option for students and twenty and thirty-somethings. They projected increasing demand for smaller spaces that were super-functional, sustainably built, and stylish—and which promoted the concept of the surrounding city as a communal living room and kitchen. After prototyping the project for a Berkeley site, Panoramic decided to build on a small, constrained site in San Francisco, which they saw as a better testing ground for their ideas. They refined their micro-unit concept to fit into San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood fabric with units around 300 square feet each. Here's a peek into the early stages of the project.
October 3, 2012
modern sustainable homes with living roofs

Raise the Roof

From the United States to Poland to South Korea, living roofs have taken off. They provide natural insulation, help control with runoff, and pack a slew of cool features—it's no wonder these building canopies have gained popularity. We've gathered some of the most interesting and unexpected green roofs planted with everything from sod to succulents here for your viewing pleasure.  
September 26, 2012
Dorm Architecture Rice

Dean’s List Dorms Across America

The factory-line model is out for student housing; in its place, thoughtful solutions for community living engender enthusiasm for higher education and respect for a greener future. As dorms from Buffalo to Seattle make the dean’s list in terms of sustainability—lighting and heating triggered by sensors, stormwater education, and recycled materials get prominent play—also expect passing marks as architects create non-institutional buildings with well-lit spaces, open community quarters, room-size choices, built-in technology, flexible uses, and thoughtful indoor-outdoor relationships. Here, we collect three shining examples.
September 20, 2012
Strawbale Livingroom

Santa Cruz Home's 'Bale Raising'

For "Gotta Bale," the Off the Grid story in our October 2012 issue, we visit the Santa Cruz, California, home of college professors Bernie Tershy and Erika Zavaleta. Though there's a lot that makes this Arkin Tilt Architects–designed home green, a key feature is the staw-bale insulation on the street-facing wall of the home. Arkin Tilt has a score of straw-bale houses under its belt and the firm shared a few behind-the-scenes shots with Dwell to help us understand just how Tershy and Zavaleta's house came together.
September 18, 2012
Modern green home clad in straw-bale with photovoltaic panels

Green Zero-Energy Family Home in Santa Cruz

How an unfussy, nearly zero-energy family home in Santa Cruz, California, wound up with hay bales in the walls, a state-of-the-art heat pump system, and six very happy residents.
September 17, 2012
window church architecture house

Take Two: 7 Adaptive Reuse Projects We Love

As the way in which people use cities morphs form generation to generation, we're left with dormant buildings—those that have outlived their original purpose, but are rife for enterprising architects and designers to give them a second wind. This latent stock might include industrial remnants, former school houses, barns, and even convenience stores. In the following slideshow we examine seven such projects from Portland to Boston to Hamburg that demonstrate reusing and recycling go far when it comes to architecture.
September 8, 2012
Contemporary supportive housing project Bud Clark Commons in Portland, Oregon

Commons' Grounds

A cornerstone of Portland, Oregon’s plan to eradicate homelessness, the Bud Clark Commons supportive housing project proves that thoughtful design creates considerable social good.
August 29, 2012
Green home with wood cladding in Mississippi

Mississippi Queen

When architect Brett Nave and his partner, architect Kelley Bishiop, began developing the Heron Park neighborhood in the coastal town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, they managed to lay 1,200 feet of road through a forest and pecan orchard while only removing six trees. And when he set out the floor plan for A3, the home he and his wife, Kelley, and two kids now live in, instead of following the common practice of clearing the lot, completing the structure and landscaping after completing construction, he sited A3 to fit snugly into the lot in order to remove only three additional trees. Nave even pre-designed each of his 21 lots in the same way to minimize tree loss and maximize shading and breezes. These sustainability minded decisions to conserve trees and use narrower roads cost more money and take more time, but the added expense is worth it, Nave says.
August 22, 2012
Modern bamboo-clad farmhouse with solar panels

Passive Progressive

Among the first Passive Houses in France, this bamboo-clad farmhouse by the Parisian firm Karawitz Architecture brings a bit of green to tiny Bessancourt.
August 18, 2012
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