Articles - December, 2006

Modern Rammed Earth: Red Hill Residence (Australia)

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I’m a big-time proponent of green buildings, but if I hear straw bale, adobe, tee pee, or the like, I tend to lose interest.  And the same goes for rammed earth.  That is, until I saw the Red Hill Residence, which happens to be a modern rammed earth home, designed by Christopherchris Architecture.  Not sure what rammed earth is?  Wikipedia + Earth Architecture.  Here’s the home’s description straight from an article translation:

A contemporary new home for a young family relocating from a busy city environment to the Mornington Peninsula. Constructed primarily from locally sourced rammed earth and ship lapped cedar paneling, the house is sited across the ridge of the property.  The elemental form of the building is enhanced by the contrasting and intersecting selection of material, textures and colours, threaded together by the linear rammed earth wall. Key views to the valley are enjoyed from all living areas and bedrooms, whilst the master bedroom is privileged to a unique vista down to the peninsula and onwards to bass straight.

This Australian home is a beauty!  Tell me this:  would you buy it?  I think I would, but I’d like to hear more about the pros and cons of rammed earth building.  So far, we know that rammed earth can be molded and contoured to create modern, expressive buildings.  Feel free to drop a comment so everyone reading will gain from your insight and experience.  Via Moco.

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Hive Modular Video: Modern, Semi-Affordable + Light Green

[Run time = 2:21] If you’re a prefab enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of Hive Modular–they’re pushing the envelope on modern, highly-customized, affordable modular homes.  I’ve included a short video with Paul Stankey talking about some of the benefits of modular building.  Notice, prices are going to be variable due to extreme variations in land costs, but a Hive Modular will run about $100-200 per square foot, generally speaking.  And while the company makes it’s homes energy-efficient and has less construction waste (than site built homes), their focus is on modern design.  As the company’s relationships grow, they plan to incorporate more green amenities into their plans.  Via Moco.

Hive_modular_front Hive_modular_interior

Market Style Apartments: Comfortable, Green Apartment Community for Naval Personnel

Market_style_apartments_1 The Navy has commissioned a $39.5 million, 2-level, 6 courtyard apartment community for about 420 Naval service members in Norfolk Naval Station.  What’s most impressive is that the community will use environmentally friendly design and pursue LEED certification.  Dubbed Market Style Apartments, the apartments were designed by VOA Associates, a Chicago-based firm with considerable LEED experience.  In addition to the spacious courtyard areas, there will be 3 two-story lounge areas for social gatherings.  Generally speaking, the design is part of an overall movement towards friendlier, welcoming military housing.  In addition to using recycled materials in its construction, the apartments are expected to consume 20% less energy.  There will be low-VOC paints, carpets + other indoor products and the fixtures will be chosen for water savings (low-flow fixtures, efficient shower heads, and automated water shut-offs).  Construction begins in the Spring 2007 and finishes 2008-2009.  Via MHN

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