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Latest Articles in Green Architecture

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Small Footprint in Fayetteville

Fayetteville, Arkansas, doesn't have a reputation for "going green." Rather, the town has historically garnered recognition for its local beacon, the University of Arkansas. Yet homeowners Myria and A.J. Allen are redefining conventional building practices, beginning with their energy-efficient and environmentally conscious home. Completed in the spring of 2011, the petite 1,368 square foot two-bedroom, two-bath structure sports a broad, wing-like roof, detached carport, clerestory windows and cathedral ceilings. But don’t be deceived by the modern shape; underneath the sharp-cornered dressing lies dozens of meticulous details chosen in the name of sustainability. “We wanted to do our small part to reverse the negative environmental trajectory we see around us,” says Myria. “Essentially we wanted to use our financial resources to create a comfortable home which is consistent with our values.” Working closely with Skiles Architect, Myria, a Professor in Environmental Communication at the university, and A.J., an employee for the city’s Parks and Recreation department were able to honor their earth-friendly lifestyle while maintaining an economical outlook. Meeting the highest possible Energy Star 5+ certification through the use of a geothermal heat pump, SIPs for roofing, and Ultrex windows with Low-E II glazing, among other eco-friendly choices, the couple’s lowest across-the-board electric bill has been $43, while the highest came in at a modest $69. Aside from the financial boon, the house also proves valuable in education. Myria says she’s taken advantage of her Fayetteville rarity and brought her students in to talk with them about creating ethically responsible yet beautiful living spaces. “Most folks really don’t think outside the box when it comes to building a home—this helps them to do so,” she says.
September 12, 2011
The facade of the green-built Suttles and Shah residence.

A Green Home to Last a Lifetime in Austin

Austin couple Anne Suttles and Sam Shah built a house to last their lifetime—and longer. Mixing new efficient systems with old upcycled materials, they keep it weird while keeping it green.
August 31, 2011
Charred wood facade of a modern house in The Netherlands

Second to None

With House 2.0, architect Pieter Weijnen demonstrates the exponential rate at which green design is advancing.
August 17, 2011
Modern house with solar panels and energy systems

High-Tech Green Family Home in Los Angeles

Though tricked out with high-tech touches, this house’s greenest feature is decidedly low tech: the family’s intention to make it their lifelong home.
June 20, 2011
ecofabulous house

Ecofabulous House

Each year, Dwell on Design partners with Ecofabulous to design and decorate a fully-appointed residence that epitomizes aspirational sustainable living. The resulting showhouse lives on the Dwell on Design floor where attendees can make themselves at home while they indulge in their deepest green living fantasies. We went behind the scenes to see what Ecofabulous and their partners
June 13, 2011
mcdonough headshot

Interview with Bill McDonough

Next year, William McDonough's revolutionary book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, which he co-authored with Dr. Michael Braungart, will turn ten years old. During that decade McDonough has emerged as a leader of the sustainable design movement, both as an advocate for creating more responsible products through his Cradle-to-Cradle certification process, and as an architect at William McDonough + Partners who set out to reinvent buildings and is now rethinking the way we design cities. At this year's Dwell on Design he'll be talking about how designers can change the language of sustainability by creating work that is focused on being "more good" not just "less bad."
June 2, 2011
Modern sustainable house by the beach

Tunquen Treasure

A set of solar panels, a wind-powered well, and passive sustainable strategies make living miles from municipal utilities a non-issue for this Chilean beachgoer.
May 16, 2011
Olson Kundig translated our house program into an easy-to-read document that broke down the individual spaces and approximate square footage.

Building the Maxon House: Week 9

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 Nine: Developing the Maxon House ‘Program.’   Before Olson Kundig Architects could get started on the design we had to do some homework of our own. The first step was for my wife and I to measure out the spaces in our existing house and then come up with a wish list or “program” for our future home. We needed to determine which spaces we wanted and what we could do without moving forward (bonus rooms, separate formal vs. informal living areas, etc.). This effort was made easier by the fact that our house had sold and the rooms were pretty much cleaned out and boxed up in preparation for our move to our rental house. It was clear after adding up the square footage in our existing space and then penciling out the wish list for the new house that we didn’t need substantially more space, just better designed space.
April 28, 2011
Family in kitchen made of salvaged wood pieces

Modern Angular Rural Family Home in Canada

Surrounded on all sides by a sweeping Canadian hayfield, the 23.2 House is an angular ode to rural life. Out of “respect for the beams and their history,” Designer Omer Arbel insisted that not a single reclaimed plank—still marked by nailheads and chipped paint—be cut nor altered during ­construction, which gave the home its striking geometric motif. It’s what he refers to as the “alchemy between ­material and process,” which also inspired the textured ­concrete walls and crisply milled walnut furniture. 
April 26, 2011
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