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Smart Home: Green + Wired Debuts at MSI

Exterior_of_the_smart_home Exterior_of_the_smart_home_2

Architect Michelle Kaufmann has made a big splash in Chicago this week during the opening of her Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. The PrairieMod crew and myself were fortunate enough to be able to spend the past two days previewing the home and are excited to share some details with you. If you’re interested, feel free to check out our podcast interview with Michelle where she explains how the project came to be and the 5 eco-principles utilized by her firm.

The showcase "Smart Home" is Kaufmann’s mkSolaire plan, which is designed for a city lot and has a loft-like feeling to it. Its goal is to address the space challenges found with infill lots and standard row home configurations. The brilliant thing about this exhibit is that it is fully functional, not just a shadow of what the design could be. And in case you’re wondering, the house will be dismantled after the exhibit closes in January 2009.

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Botanist Fuses Style and Sustainability

Margo Chase

I received an email about Orange22′s launch of the Botanist Blank Canvas Project at ICFF and it looks pretty interesting.  Orange22 enlisted the help of eight iconic designers to place their fingerprint on the popular Botanist line of indoor/outdoor furniture.  The designers include Yves Behar, Margo Chase, Milton Glaser, Kahi Lee, Karim Rashid, Joe Ricchio, Massimo + Lella Vignelli, and Claude Zellweger.  Pieces come in a variety of designs and can be used as end tables, benches, cocktail tables, or anything else you can think of.

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Gulf Islands House Blends Minimalism and Green

Gulf Islands Home

This clever little house caught my eye the other day.  Designed by architect Matthew Woodruff, The Gulf Islands House was completed a couple years ago in what seems to be quite the serene location.  It’s a cozy second home that was built as an escape of sorts for Woodruff’s family.  I’m not sure the owners were trying to set any green building records with the home, but the two-bedroom pad has some green features we can all appreciate, such as its solar orientation and design, small footprint, and use of locally harvested materials.  The minimalist design seems to create just the right space for congregating with the family, too. 

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Maison EvolutiV Exudes Green Prefab Simplicity

Maison EvolutiV

I’ve noticed the Maison EvolutiV of late and it’s quite the interesting home.  Designed by Olgga Architects as a show house for the Salon Europeen du Bois, this energy-efficient home presents a compelling view of what can be done with only two modules.  The ground module is flush with the outdoors and features a skin made of chestnut stakes of various sizes.  The second module juts out over the first and provides a nice little spot for a green roof area.  In addition, the home features a rainwater recovery system, wool wood insulation coupled with cellulose, solar panels, and a low-energy passive house design. 

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Denver_Modern – a Simple, Efficient Modern Home

Denver_modern

If you’re like me, you like to follow what others are doing to build modern, energy efficient homes.  One such home I’ve been following is at Denver Modern.   Angelo, a local Denver designer, and his family are building their home on a narrow lot and have been blogging the progress since September 2006.  As you can tell from some of the images in this post, it’s cool pad with a small footprint.  The Haida cedar siding is distinct and deep in character — a modern touch I really like.  I can’t wait to see the interior take shape with all the materials they’ve been planning. 

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Proximity Hotel Assumes Role as One of the Greenest Hotels in Country

Exterior

Proximity Hotel seems to have found a way to deliver a comfortable, luxury-type experience and still be one of the greenest hotels in the country.  It was built to use roughly 36% less energy and 30% less water than a comparable hotel.  Proximity Hotel also heats over half the building’s water with roughly 4,000 sf of solar thermal panels on the roof.  In the video embedded below, Dennis Quaintance, Chief Design Officer of Proximity Hotel, mentions that the savings from the solar thermal investment is about $20k per year. He also talks about the hotel’s innovative elevator, which is the first Regenerative Drive Otis Gen2 elevator in North America — it captures energy while going down and uses it while going up.

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