Latest Articles in Green Culture

Completed in 2010, the 656,600-square-foot Eight House comprises over 107,000 square feet of office and retail space at ground level and 476 units throughout the nine floors above. Inside the two courtyards are over 5,300 square feet of public space for t

Bjarke Ingels on 'Bigamy'

It might be an understatement to say that Bjarke Ingels' firm the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has gone gangbusters. In a climate where much new construction is being delayed indefinitely and architecture firms are shrinking in size, BIG was recently awarded three high-profile contracts: The Greenland National Gallery of Art, Copenhagen's future 700-million-dollar waste to energy plant, and their first project in North America, a 600-unit residential building on West 57th Street in Manhattan. We caught up with Ingels right before he gave the keynote speech at the Global Green Cities Symposium last Thursday. He briefed us on his recent projects, how New York is becoming more and more like Copenhagen, and why "Bigamy" could be the next great concept in design.
March 1, 2011
SOUPERgreen is on view at <a href="">A+D Los Angeles</a> until April 14th, 2011.

'Souped Up' Green Architecture

In a new exhibition at A+D Los Angeles, five architects—who at one time or another have worked at Jones, Partners: Architecture (J,P:A)—each created architectural propositions that use “technology in expressive ways, as a means of engaging the environment,” says J,P:A Principal Wes Jones. Inspired by the Rat Fink era of hotrodding, SOUPERgreen celebrates rather than hides technology, putting it out there for everyone to see. Jones likens the approach to mounting solar panels on a structure in the same way a flaring exhaust pipe defiantly juts out from a hotrod. “Souped up” architecture indeed. “We want the issues to be more apparent, more engaging, more fun, more visually impressive, so that you’re connected with those issues in a more direct or significant way,” says Jones. What follows is a look at these forward-thinking designs, including "appendages" cantilevered from skyscrapers, a self-sustaining urban farm scaled for a single-family residence, and a freeway system that launches cars to and fro.
February 15, 2011
behar compostmodern

Compostmodern in Review

This weekend, I attended Compostmodern, a conference hosted by the AIGA SF that discussed the role of designers and the future of the profession with respect to sustainability. Around 20 forward-thinking design professionals spoke to a full audience who gathered in Herbst Theater's gilded and frescoed auditorium. The speakers ranged from "celebrities" of the profession, to community organizers, to business owners and professors, who all shared their successes, failures, and nuggets of wisdom for the future. Though it's difficult to select highlights from the wealth of ideas presented, below, I share a few that really resonated with me.
January 25, 2011
Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor

Finding My Latent Energy Use

If you're anything like me, it drives you nuts when a light is left on in a room you—nor anyone in your household—is in. How sinful is it though? I ran through my apartment with a Belkin Conserve Insight energy-use monitor to find out.  
January 25, 2011
Image from a series of photographs documenting former Death Row prisoners’ requests for their last meal before execution, by James Reynolds.

Friday Finds 1.7.2011

Welcome to the very first Friday Finds of the new year! Every Friday our intrepid staff contribute their favorite links from the week. See below to get a sense of where our browsers have been pointed lately.
January 7, 2011
sfmoma lichen installation thumb

World's First Lichen Garden?

Last spring, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art unveiled its new 14,000-square foot rooftop sculpture garden, spangled with works by Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Bourgeois and Kiki Smith. To a casual visitor, the space—with its wooden benches, dark stone walls, and cult Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk—looked minimalist but complete. It wasn't. Last week, CMG Landscape Architecture added their long-awaited finishing touch: a cultivated (and nearly microscopic) ‘lichen garden,’ possibly the world’s first. I joined them on a sunny Wednesday to help with the installation, and document the process.
October 26, 2010
botany factory terrarium manatee thumb

Terrariums by Botany Factory

Browsing through the San Francisco shop General Store recently, I noticed some highly covetable, bulbous glass globes filled with tiny succulents: terrariums by the local designer Katie Goldman Macdonald, of Botany Factory. Macdonald works with Evan Kolker, an Oakland-based glass artist, to create organically shaped glass forms, which she fills with mini-gardens that are nearly self-sufficient, requiring only sunlight and occasional spritzing. My kind of gardening!
October 19, 2010
West Coast Green 2010

West Coast Green 2010

West Coast Green kicked off on Thursday in San Francisco. This year, the annual sustainable design conference is host to speakers like green jobs advocate and Green for All senior fell Van Jones, Cradle to Cradle author and architect William McDonough, Natural Capitalism Solutions founder Hunter Lovins, and more as well as a convention hall full of exhibitors. We took a stroll through the booths to find the latest in green goods.
October 2, 2010
dod2010 outdoor plant wall portrait

Dwell Outdoor, 2010

It’s quite a feat to transform the interior of a convention hall—vast and fluorescently lit—into a feel-good lounge-y space that truly brings the outside in. The Dwell on Design booths were bustling, but the Outdoor area was a popular spot to sit and feel the (artificial) grass beneath your feet and admire the vertical gardens. Here are a few shots of the greenest show floor you ever did see.  
July 2, 2010