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BrightBuilt Barn Going Net-Zero, Super-Efficient & LEED Platinum

BrightBuilt Barn Rendering

I’m starting think that maybe, just maybe, the modern farmhouse could be a gateway to contemporary for many of you.  What do you think, pretty clean design, right?  The BrightBuilt Barn was designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects, factory built in components by Bensonwood (mentioned by Josh Stack in comments recently), and is being built by Gibson Design/Build as we speak.  It was designed to be net-zero and super green — the home will participate in the Living Building Challenge and, in all likelihood, qualify for LEED Platinum certification.  Geez!  So what’s in store for this 700 sf studio home:

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Prefab is Not the Answer to Affordable, Modern, and Green Homes

This article was authored by guest Chad Ludeman of Postgreen Homes. 

Prefab homes seem to be showing up more and more in the media these days, especially with two large exhibits in Philadelphia showcasing their history this year.  Like many, I hoped that prefab would be the answer to bringing modern architecture to the masses in the US and beyond.  I thought that finally, modern home design would be attainable by those of us who aren’t pulling in lofty six figure incomes. That was until I conducted extensive research into the possibility of starting a development company in Philadelphia using only prefab homes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love prefab and many of the firms out there with cutting edge designs in the prefab realm.  There are also a variety of building lessons that can be learned from the prefab methodology.  I just don’t believe it is the best way of delivering modern design to the average new home buyer.

Below we will look at this issue from two points of view.  First, we will look at the prefab industry and try to dispel some of the myths that have arisen around it.  Second, we will take a quick look at how the housing industry may be able to learn from both prefab and site-built homes to create a hybrid approach that will provide a better, more accessible solution to the home buyer and hopefully reduce the barrier of entry to modern, green, and unique residences.

Names and firms have intentionally been left out of this post in an effort to discuss only the facts, dispel some of the myths of prefab, and possibly look towards a better method for bringing modern homes to the average American.

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Muffler Shop Converted to First LEED-NC Architect Office in Georgia

Menefee + Winer LEED Office

As an interesting example of adaptive reuse, I thought it would be fun to showcase the design of Menefee + Winer’s office in Atlanta, Georgia.  Located at 1075 Brady Avenue near Georgia Tech, the 4,100 sf building used to be bland, gray muffler shop (see bottom) — but now with its vibrant colors and fierce shape, how about the transformation?  This LEED Silver building is also, interestingly, the first LEED-NC certified architect’s office in Georgia.  Here are a few things they incorporated through the gut rehab:

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Wilgus Green Home Concept Honored

Wilgus Home

Dwell and Google Sketchup came together to hold a Design Your Dwelling contest and the grand prize winner has been chosen.  Drew Wilgus, resident of North Carolina and intern at The Roberts Group + Fanning Howey, took top honors for his green home concept.  According to Christopher Bright on the Dwell Blog, the Wilgus design "stood out for its sustainable elements, integration into the local landscape, keen material use, and striking aesthetic."

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Shipping Container Center for MirabeauB

Mirabeau Sales

METALAB and Ttweak have taken a novel approach to marketing the first proposed LEED certified condo building in Houston.  The two designed a sales center for MirabeauB using two 20-foot containers.  On the roof, solar panels generate ~180 kwH per month and can fold up during bad weather. 

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Tryon Farm Conservation Community

Cottages

Tryon Farm is an architecturally diverse conservation community located about an hour outside of Chicago.  Three quarters of the community’s 170 acres remain undeveloped.  The landscape is comprised of woods, restored meadows, and wetlands.  The homes range in style from contemporary to modern to traditional and somehow the varied designs blend seamlessly in this beautiful, natural setting. 

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