In the heart of Seattle, the design professionals at Mithun see a farm rising vertically into the sky. Although it may never be built, the Center for Urban Agriculture (CUA) won “Best of Show” in the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge. Vertically constructed on a .72 acre site, the off-grid building is designed to be completely energy and water sufficient and will include 318 affordable apartments (studio – 2 bedroom). And on top of that, there will be greenhouses, rooftop gardens, a chicken farm, and fields for growing vegetables and grains.
It’s taken about two years, but the Goodwin-Wise Flatpak is finally becoming a reality, as you can see from these images. This home is in Massachusetts, and for those of you looking for prefab on the east coast, Flatpak is certainly an option. I really like how the house is tucked into the enveloping landscape, almost camouflaged from the entry way. See more at Amy Goodwin’s blog and photo album; via MoCo Loco.
This weekend at Dwell on Design (this is a sneak peak), Jeriko House and Patrick Tighe are going to announce a watershed collaboration on a new kind of prefab, the Nodul(ar) House. Readers of Jetson Green are familiar with Jeriko House, a Louisiana-based prefab company that we’ve written about here and here. Architect Patrick Tighe is well known and highly accomplished, including two major achievements: National AIA Young Architect (2006) and Rome Prize fellowship in architecture (2006-2007).
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with both Patrick Tighe and Shawn Burst, the CEO of Jeriko House, about the Nodul(ar) House.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing the phenomenon of container housing with David Cross, Chief Business Development Officer for SG Blocks LLC. SG Blocks, short for Safe and Green, is a sustainable building system made from containers. Going beyond the trendy fascination with exposed container architecture design–modern, industrial, and extremely good looking, in my opinion, SG Blocks intends to use containers as a fundamental component to building construction. A container home doesn’t necessarily have to look like a container home (that’s up to you), but it can have all the same advantages: comfortable, strong, green, and affordable.
The home you see above is an example of container modules being used on a traditional home as a framing system. From the outside or inside, you’re not going to know that it was built with container modules. The cost of framing a home built with SG Blocks is about $22-30 psf, which is roughly comparable to other forms of construction. BUT did you know that recycling containers into steel beams takes nearly 8,000 kW of energy at a cost of roughly $800? Rather, it takes about 400 kW of energy to turn containers into a home. At about 5% of the energy when compared to straight recycling, that’s not bad. And right now, SG Blocks is in the process of rolling out their building system nationally.
I sat on this post for a while trying to find up-to-date information on its status but was unable to locate anything. This is a storage facility planned for the east bank of the Willamette River. Typical storage facilities can take up to 30 acres, but this one, designed for house boats, recreational vehicles, and storage pods, is going to be maxed out on 3 acres. The taller tower rises 22 stories into the sky and uses a giant mechanical arm capable of lifting 40,000 lbs. Interestingly, the project is planning construction to LEED Platinum standards and will include more than 175,000 sf of solar panels (making it the largest solar facility in the northwest). With the estimated project costs at about $40 M, Portland City Storage also plans to rehabilitate the riverfront property adjacent to the towers.
PieceHomes is a new modern prefab offering by Davis Studio Architecture + Design, set to debut in about a week at Dwell on Design. Notice the interesting tagline — "pH: for a balanced home." Nice. PieceHomes plans to distinguish itself among the pack by providing custom and standardized, modern, modular architecture that is green and affordable. With a variety of home designs taking shape, pieceHomes will be available this fall and manufactured by XtremeHomes. Take a gander at the website and some of the home designs. I’m particularly intrigued by the Container House, 3×4, and Solar Passage (all pictured in this post). Like many prefabs, pieceHomes also will be designed to incorporate solar panels, green roofs, and other environmental features that fit home site conditions. It’ll be nice to see some of these renderings in real life.