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Bill McDonough's Mixed-Use, LEED Greenbridge Developments

Greenbridge

You’ve heard of William "Bill" McDonough: "Hero for the Planet."  He’s co-author of the wildly popular Cradle to Cradle book and co-founder of the product and process design firm MBDC, which is behind the Cradle to Cradle Certification (C2C) process.  Most recently, the November 2006 issue of Business 2.0 included an article about his sustainable building projects around the world.  McDonough is an architect and the designer of the incredible Greenbridge Developments in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Developers expect to break ground on the project in June 2006 and it will be complete two years later (Spring 2009).  Greenbridge will be the first mixed-use project in North Carolina to achieve LEED certification. 

There will be about 100 residential units in two buildings (7 + 10 stories each), 25,000 square feet of retail space, and 15,000 square feet of office space.  The units include studio – three bedroom offerings ranging from 600 – 2,400 square feet.  As for pricing, we’re talking about $225,000 – 1.2 M.  This development promises to keep in line with sustainable principles boasting amenities such as green roofing and courtyard gardens, solar panels, an urban-style market selling local + organic foods, and a wellness center offering holistic medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapies.  Greenbridge is already 40% sold and is accepting reservations. 

What’s important, however, is that this development is another example of where real estate development for the future should be heading.  Cities are full of buildings that need to be renovated and retrofitted to be more efficient, use less energy, and waste less resources.  These new LEED developments will lead the way in showing other developers that green building has substantial economic + societal benefits.  See also The Daily Tar Heel.

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Green Prefab: The Vital House by Ulterior Mode

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If you’ve heard of the Husten-Haskin house (mentioned in NYTimes + SF Chronicle), then you’ve heard of the architect behind the the Vital House prefab:  Erin Vali of Ulterior Mode.  The Vital House is designed to be both economical (1,500 sq-ft. at $300,000) and eco-friendly.  Practically speaking, the firm is Brooklyn-based, so this prefab design will serve the east coast, at least in the near short-term, but this four-bedroom model was designed to adapt to virtually any location.  The prefab utilizes solar-power and passive heating during the winter (with double-height walls on the south + east orientation).  It also has water-filled tanks placed on the south + east spaces, which absorb radiant energy and distribute it through the house.  Interestingly, construction is raised slightly off the ground, which accommodates both flat and sloped land sites.  Another benefit of raised construction is that wind + air can cool the home.  Some of the other specifics on the Vital House are still in flux, but I think this is a good start.

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Skyscraper Sunday: Urban Cactus by UCX Architects

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This is a building I saw first on Archidose.  Since the website project description is in Dutch, it’s hard to get specific information on this building, but I’ll share what I’ve been able to get translated.  Urban Cactus is a project of the Rotterdam-based architectural office UCX Architects, founded by Ben Huygen + Jasper Jagers.  It will have 98 residential units on 19 floors, and because the project abuts the harbor, the architects chose to give the building a more green, natural feel (rather than the urban feel common to neighboring architecture).  I’m thinking that this layout provides an interesting mixture of sunlight + shade with the perfect amount of green space that is usually lacking in most vertical high-rise buildings. 

Modern + Green Art: The Campbell Laird Collection

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I’ve used the analogy before, but living the green life is similar to using web widgets–you try one out, figure out how it works, and start to enjoy the benefits of that new widget’s functionality.  How about trying the green artwork widget?  Artwork can be green, too.  Depending on what you’re looking for, you may want to hunt down FSC-certified wood frames or commission your favorite artist and have the piece done with eco-friendly paints.  Get creative and find a way to make your art green (i.e., use water-based paints as opposed to oil, etc.).  OR…you could also buy some of Campbell Laird‘s work. 

Laird is a popular, Tasmanian-born musician + artist who has produced art for heavy-hitters such as Dwell, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Trump Tower, Money, Smart Money, Macy’s, American Express, PeopleSoft, Adobe, Quest, and the Wall Street Journal.  He has a serious web presence and a studio in Venice, California, if you’re in the area and want to check out the work. 

According to Laird, his work "explores the structural relationships between line, shape and color…my aim is to create simple, meditative works that fit naturally in modern environments."  Here’s the process:  each piece is printed on either 20 ml artist’s cotton canvas or 310 gsm watercolor paper.  Laird uses high-quality, pigment-based inks with an archival rating of over 150 years.  Each piece is proofed, signed, numbered (up to 125), and sent out with a certificate of authenticity.  No solvents are used in the process from the ink to the final finish.  Ogle at :: 2modern.

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OMD Prefab Video + Jennifer Siegal Interview

Recently, I blogged about Jennifer Siegal and Office of Mobile Design (OMD) and wanted follow up because I found this video of her Venice, California show house.  It’s a short, 2-minute video packed with modern + green information and mentions the following products:  Japanese recycled grass board called "Kirei" (Japanese for pretty or beautiful), radiant heating ceiling panels called "People Heaters," the in-wall iPod sound system called iPort, energy-efficient appliances by Sub-zero, a tank-less water heater, and industrial-grade flooring in the bathroom to withstand heavy use.  Take a look at some of these products if you’re doing a renovation and enjoy the video if you’re interested in modern + green prefab. 

ParkUrbia: PB+CO's Green Home Concept

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I noticed this futuristic, yet realistic, home concept in the latest issue of Popular Science.  It’s was designed by PB+CO (aka Philippe Barriere Collective) and "reflects the desire to create socially responsible communities with an environmental ethos.  The idea is to converge the scattered remnants and residual land ‘vacancies’ mapped by the uneven contours of a disassembled suburbia, to reclaim them as Readymade Parks and, finally, to recycle the undefined ‘greenways,’ which will constitute inhabitable wooded Public Parks:  Parkurbia." 

Parkurbia Home The prototype is based on the desire for housing with a minimal environmental footprint.  It incorporates recycled materials and translucent photovoltaic films that provide electricity and filtered natural light.  I think it’s a nice idea actually:  there are active windows for ventilation, two floors with a balcony, and intrinsic flood-protected design.  It’s modern, too.  What more could you ask for? 

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