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Latest Articles in Green Architecture

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Sustainable Strides in Today's Architecture

Having explored issues of sustainability in the postmodern era, we turn to the measurable strides evident in today's best modern architecture.
February 7, 2013
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Tracking Sustainability in Architecture

A chat with William McDonough, Ray Kappe, Glen Small, and others on the history of sustainable architecture.
February 4, 2013
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lamesadevenn: Part 6

In this series, trace the story of lamesadevenn, a green live/work space in Santa Fe, New Mexico, created for two community groups, La Mesita and La Resolana. Rather than simply becoming a building that addresses the structural needs of the groups, lamesadevenn seeks to embody their values of sustainability, experiential education, and community involvement. Part 6: The Foundation. Twenty-seven months, thousands of late night studio hours, hundreds of intercontinental emails, several bottles of cheap whiskey, dozens of increasingly strained community conversations, a handful of visits from the county inspectors, and one tenuous construction loan later, lamesadevenn’s hallmark Rancho project finally broke ground.
December 5, 2012
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Mini Apartments and Next-Wave Prefab, Part 3

This 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 THREE: Factory construction and on-site assembly. Harriet Street represents the culmination of ZETA Communities’s original vision to build ultra-green multifamily and urban prefab buildings. Prefab multifamily projects have been built all over the world as global developers have realized the benefits; witness this time-lapse video (with almost five million views) of a 30-story modular building erected in just 15 days in China.
October 24, 2012
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Material Focus: Straw Bales

When it comes to ecologically minded building materials, straw bales are among the kindest (they involve repurposing waste material from the grain growing industry). And lest you fear the outcome of the Three Little Pigs fairy tale, rest assured that when done correctly straw bale homes are structurally sound. Beginning with the "Gotta Bale" story from our October 2012 issue, and ending with an off the grid Bluff, Utah, project, we've rounded up five modern homes constructed from straw.
October 10, 2012
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Mini Apartments and Next-Wave Prefab, Part 2

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 TWO: Prefab Q&A   The apartments at 38 Harriet Street in SoMa have been a long time coming. Four years ago, Patrick Kennedy, the founder and Principal of Panoramic Interests, an urban infill developer based in Berkeley, California, began developing the concept for prefab, space-efficient dwellings. When the time came to pick a construction company, Kennedy turned to Charles Pankow Builders, a business known for its innovative construction methods and high-profile projects throughout California. Here, Kennedy and Wally Naylor, Principal in Charge for the Harriet Street project, give some backstory; discuss the pros and cons of prefabrication; and predict what it will take for wider-scale adoption of factory-built buildings.
October 10, 2012
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Thinking Beyond LEED at SXSW Eco

Bill Reed helped develop the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, but at a panel during the South by Southwest Eco conference, he explains why it’s time to move on.
October 4, 2012
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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
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