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Near North Apartments by Helmut Jahn: Affordable, Mecha Small, Green + Modern

Night Near North Apartments

Not only is this place sustainable, but rooms are small, too.  With 96 units at an average size of 300 sf, Near North Apartments (NNA) is a pretty incredible habitat for people that deserve to live in a well-designed space.  NNA is the creation of renowned architect Helmut Jahn, who designed the single-occupant spaces for limited income, homeless, and disabled persons.  You’ll notice from the images that the building generates some power through roof-mounted wind turbines, or aeroturbines.  to be precise, the building shape was conceived to maximize wind to the aeroturbines.  They were invented at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and are now being marketed through Aerotecture International

The building also uses solar thermal collectors and a rainwater reclamation system.  The water system recycles shower water to flush toilets, apparently making it one of the few graywater systems in Chicago.  NNA is located at 1244 North Clybourn Avenue in Chicago and is owned by Mercy Housing Lakefront group.  The reason I’m blogging about this structure, in addition to being an example of small, sustainable living, is because it was listed on Metropolitan Home’s 2007 Design 100 list.  Congrats. 

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AIA: 2007 COTE Top Ten Green Projects

2007 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

Today, the AIA released its list of the 2007 COTE Top Ten Green Projects, projects that showcase excellence in sustainable design principles and reduced energy consumption.  On May 3, these ten projects will be honored at the AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in San Antonio.  The jurors were the following leaders in the sustainability field:  David Brems, FAIA, Gillies Stransky Brems Smith PC; Alisdair McGregor, PE, Arup; John Quale, LEED AP, University of Virginia School of Architecture; Traci Rose Rider, LEED AP North Carolina State University; Anne Schopf, AIA, Mahlum Architects; and Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief, Metropolis.  It’s likely that I’ll take a slower approach to some of the more modern of the following, but for right now, here are links to each of the ten projects that were selected. 

Congratulations to everyone for this recognition and for their contribution to the greener building environment.  Anyone have a favorite or comment? 

S2: LOT-EK Slanting Container Building – 87 Lafayette Tower

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Solar_slant

I’m not sure whether this is already in the works or whether this is just a proposal, but I thought it was creative and interesting enough to talk about.  From the pictures above, you’ll notice a few things.  Its slanting shape.  The protruding containers.  The juxtaposition of ultra-modern and historical landmark neighbors.  The developer of the NYC Chinatown project, Mr. Woo of Young Woo & Associates, was interested in LOT-EK‘s design and considered the use of large, metal shipping containers in residential construction "fascinating" and "environmentally friendly."  You’ll also notice from the renderings that the developer plans to have an array of solar panels on the roof. 

To make it work, the slant begins on the third floor of the south end and the six floor of the north end.  What that does is create some unusable square footage for the occupants on the south face (depending on the acuteness of the angle), with a pretty cool view for the occupant on the north face.  Those on the north slant will have the benefit of peering over the ledge without having to worry about falling in.  Also, I’d be interested in seeing a sun model of this to see how the building design takes on natural lighting for the occupants.  All in all, it’s cool to see innovative building designs.  Someone needs to push the entrepreneurial envelope, right?  Via Lloyd of Treehugger

Extra Links:
+LOT-EK Container Housing Coming to New York [Treehugger]
+Leaning Tower of 87 Lafayette Explodes Our Brains [Curbed]
+Slanted Tower Studied Next to Landmark Firehouse [CityRealty]
+New Tower on Lafayette Street? [Wired-NY]

Interface Studio: Sustainable, Economic Sheridan Street Housing

Sheridan Street Housing Sheridan Street Housing

The Philadelphia Sustainability Awards Finalists have been chosen and one of the projects that was overlooked is the following 13-unit, affordable, environmentally-friendly housing project designed by Interface Studio, LLC.  One of the goals of this project was to design affordable homes with extremely low utility costs.  When money is tight, being hit by the utility man is tough on morale, that’s for sure.  The architect relied on modular design to lower costs of construction and challenge the bland look of typical affordable housing.  Engineers estimate that units will be 30-40% more efficient than your standard Energy Star building upon completion.  Pretty incredible, actually. 

Although Sheridan Street Housing was not selected for the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards, it has received an AIA Philadelphia Silver Medal 2006 + residential architect Design Award 2007.  Sheridan Street was designed with unique materials such as slate-like fiber cement cladding panel and textured exterior grade plywood cladding panel.  Also, as you can tell from the images above, the design incorporates an airy third-floor terrace.  I’d pay big money for that.  I think another innovative aspect of the project is how the designer squeezed 13-units into an oddly shaped 40′ x 450′ piece of land.  Each building dances with another in interlocking L-shaped footprints to maximize the available land. 

Here are links to some of the other green projects considered for the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards: Bernice Elza Homes, Brewerytown Square, Jackie O’Neil Zero-Energy Prototype Homes (finalist), One Crescent Drive, Pembroke North Condominium, and The Reserve at Packer Park

Ray Kappe, FAIA: 10 Most Important Principles to Success

Photo_ray_kappe Lately, Ray Kappe has been getting a lot of attention for his residences designed for LivingHomes, the Steve Glenn prefab company.  Kappe’s first home has been featured all over the place for achieving the highest LEED certification possible, the Platinum rating.  I think his work is incredible, so I was studying his stuff when I came across this list of his, "the ten most important principles that helped make me a successful architect, planner, and educator."  In the interests of learning from those that are remarkable examples of continuing achievement, I thought I would be good to share his list with the JG readers.  Any thoughts?

  1. Think positively, not negatively.
  2. Accept structure but know that it is to be questioned and broken when necessary.
  3. Always be willing to explore, experiment and invent.  Do not accept the status quo.
  4. Know yourself and keep your work consistent with who you are and how you think.
  5. Maintain good moral and social values.
  6. Be humble, honest, compassionate, and egalitarian.
  7. Have conviction about your work.
  8. Be open and say yes to most ideas and requests. The good ones will be valuable, the bad ones will cease to exist.
  9. Allow employees and fellow workers freedom and the ability to work to their strengths. Avoid hierarchy.
  10. Money should be the residual of work, not the goal.  But do not compromise your worth.

RK2

Jetson Green Named to MoPo 2007 – Top 25 Architecture Blogs (Updated)

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I just wanted to kick out a shout to the blog Eikongraphia and Michiel van Raaij for working hard to compile a list of the Top 25 Architecture Blogs on the internet right now.  I’m pleased to announce that Jetson Green occupies the #9 position on the list.  Without having perfect access to all sorts of information, it’s difficult to make a list of top blogs and not receive some criticism, but I think Michiel did a good job.  Here’s a list of the Top 15 Architecture Blogs:

    1. BLDGBLOG
    2. Things Magazine
    3. Pruned
    4. Archidose
    5. Plataforma Arquitectura
    6. Tropolism
    7. Dezeen
    8. Edgar Gonzalez
    9. Jetson Green
    10. Subtopia
    11. Eikongraphia
    12. Anarchitecture
    13. Noticias Arquitectura
    14. Mirage Studio 7
    15. Brand Avenue

If you’re an architecture fan, feel free to drop by any one of these quality sites.  I have many of them plugged into the feed right now.  But I must admit, I’m not an architect.  I am a construction and design enthusiast.  I hear architects say all the time, "Developers should go to architecture school."  Jetson Green is my form of research and school–the more I blog, the more I learn, and I rely on emails, comments, and trackbacks to understand the important principles relating to the architecture of sustainability. 

::UPDATE:: The list was revised to separate out individual and collaborative blogs.  Jetson Green moved up to #7 on the individual blogs list.  The above list is still the first attempt. 



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