Texas architect Jim Poteet helped Stacey Hill, who lives in a San Antonio artists’ community, wrangle an empty steel shipping container into a playhouse, a garden retreat and a guesthouse for visiting artists. The container measures a narrow and long 8 by 40 feet; Hill asked that a portion of the square footage be retained as a garden shed and the rest serve as the living space. The architect added floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows, heating and air-conditioning, a green roof, bamboo flooring and wallcovering, a small sink and shower and a composting toilet, and placed the structure on a base made from recycled telephone poles. “The container, as we call it, is a great escape for me because the space is pure, uncluttered, wonderfully sunlit, quiet and has a great view of my garden,” says Hill. “My two young daughters love it because it’s practically an empty box ready to play, create and pretend in.” Photo by Chris Cooper
On an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine, a writer, with the help of his daughter, built not only a room but an entire green getaway of his own. Photo by Eirik Johnson
For this rural Ontario home, building sustainably was less about high-tech gizmos than learning to truly love the land. Photo by Derek Shapton
Matthew Cohen reached out to Levitt Goodman Architects (whose "Off the Grid" Adams-Fleming Residence we featured in our May 2010 issue) earlier this year to design a welcome hut and picnic benches for the site. "With the farmers' market and the summer programming ramping up, they needed a temporary welcome structure for those who came for an event," Levitt recalls. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
From an ecological perspective, pneumatically impacted stabilized earth (PISE) is a nearly perfect building material. A new house, halfway between Carmel and Big Sur, near California’s central coast, showcases PISE’s residential potential.