“Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated.” –Paul Rand

Cassidy used the pool as an anchor for an overarching backyard master plan that pulled the parts together.
Going Underground

The site the Wadhams found for their home was designated as “green belt” land, which meant that there were restrictions on the size of the structure’s footprint. Because it’s critical for the pair to live on a single floor, especially as they grow older, Archer tucked the home’s three guest rooms—vital for four visiting children and eight grandchildren—all belowground. Not only does that keep the home’s layout trim, but with the living spaces and master bedroom at ground level, the couple will be able to stay in the house for longer, getting more use out of the energy and resources expended to build it.
Joachim's propensity for sharing statistics in a stream often verging on the grim is not without a touch of self-deprecation. After noting that "the amount of waste and trash generated in NYC in one hour could fill the Statue of Liberty," he added, "Unfortunately, I'm loaded with these."
In response to another audience member's question about fuel efficiency, Mitchell responded, "Zero efficiency is stupid…it's like No Impact Man. Or Switzerland. What's the point of being neutral? We need positive efficiency - giving back to the environment, not just zero or neutral, but adding something good."
On what it will take for cities to become sustainable and self-sufficient: "The Green Revolution happened. It's done. We won. We have the answers. Now we need to implement the technology that's been created," says Joachim. "Which brings us to the next, more important question: What will it take for society to take notice that we can't keep growing at the current rate without serious repercussions?"
Waste as Source: Mitchell's Rapid Re(f)use takes one week's worth of e-waste and creates sculptural creatures—in the vein of Pixar's Wall-E—and displays them in a public square in Germany. "It's the best way to get people talking and asking questions," says Joachim. "Is it art, or trash?"
Mitchell's Fab Tree Hab homes challenge the status quo of instant gratification. Although such organic structures may require years in creation, Joachim says: "Seriously, a good scotch takes 12 years. So we have to wait a while…what's the big deal?"
On the Gulf Oil Spill: "…Satan was vomiting crude oil into the ocean," yet even that wasn't a big enough crisis to get the public's attention to inspire change. Answering one attendee, Joachim considered the notion that ultimately, it may take financial crisis to motivate change. "We'll need one that hits our pocketbooks."

In response, Dameron asked: "Does technological innovation happen only under duress?"

Joachim: "Not at all. One example is cell phones replacing land lines. Innovation happens when there's a need for a better product, one that works better, looks better and feels better."
The sedum plantings come from nearby Emory Knoll Farms, the only nursery in North America to focus solely on propagating plants intended for green-roof systems.
Pousse Creative's design for a birdhouse with a "green roof."
For a recently completed project in Almada, Portugal, Gadanho carved out a fluorescent green volume from a full wall running through the space. It now divides the residence without blocking light; from the entry, visitors can see all the way from the dining room to the garden.
The Doo Wop Suspension Light, originally called the Navy Light, was first designed in the 1950s in collaboration with the Navy Buildings Department. The pendant was prevalent during this time period because of its practical functionality and distinctive look. Although this pendant light is a modern take on the classic, the Doo Wop Pendant uses the same production methods as the 1950s, including hand-spun shades that are completed with a fine rolled edge.
For the style-conscious city dweller who values utility above all else, the DraMaten New York Shopping Trolley from Urbanista features a sleek, foldable frame, water-resistant exterior, and generous pockets that are large enough to carry groceries, laundry, or just about anything else a New Yorker—or other urban inhabitant—might need.
The girls' bedrooms are partitioned by sliding screen panels, which can be opened for access or shut for for privacy. Each room enjoys a stunning wall-to-wall exterior view.
The residents requested in the project brief that the home revolve around family spaces. To that end, the outdoor area, with its green courtyards, is meant to recall a campground experience.
Outside the three daughters' separate bedrooms, natural light cascades through a ceiling of skylights. Aluminum louvers diffuse indirect sunlight to create a soothing glow in the afternoons and a refreshing wake-up call each morning.
The architect created a non-mechanical cooling system leading to the master bedroom. By opening low-level wooden louvers, doors, and overhead windows, air is allowed to pass through the home via the hallway. Shutting the doors, louvers, or windows changes the function of airflow.
Little Compton Retreat in Little Compton, Rhode Island, completed by ZeroEnergy Design in 2011. Photo by: Greg Premru.
The interior of an urban passive house by Loadingdock5, located at 174 Grand Street in Brooklyn. Photo by: Raimund Koch.
Stretching the length of the family space are more skylights, which lessen the residents' reliance on electric lighting throughout the day. In the living and dining room areas, walls of sliding glass panels open to two courtyards.