Stroh Haus is a home in Switzerland made of compressed straw bale and designed by Felix Jerusalem. As you can see from the images below, the staw bale is used not only for the external walls, but also as a sound barrier insulation on the inside. What’s incredible, though, is that green tint, translucent sheeting on the exterior. Quite compelling, isn’t it? I wish I had more to say on the home, but there’s not much information, other than what I’ve seen at Architechnophilia.
Update 12/13/09: Platinum Lofts @ Cherokee Studios Now Complete!
There's a lot to mention with REthink Development's project called Cherokee Lofts: history, sustainability, modern design, materials innovation, etc. This Pugh + Scarpa-designed development is on track to be named the first, privately developed, LEED Gold Certified, mixed-use project in Southern California. The project will have 12 loft units, all ranging in size from 1,000 – 2,000 sf, and 2,800 sf of commercial space.
I guess the term would be adaptive reuse, but I think I’m going to start calling this "attractive reuse." Attractive reuse is about taking boring, old, traditional homes and renovating them into modern, green abodes. The Phinney House was intended to be a case study house — the existing house was extensively remodeled, the main floor was raised to give more height in the basement, the main floor plan was opened up, and a new second floor was added. It’s Built-Green certified, too. Some of the many ecologically sustainable elements in this project include the following: hydronic radiant-floor heat; whole-house heat-recovery ventilation; FSC-certified lumber, plywood and cabinetry; reclaimed fir beams and columns; sustainably harvested Ipe wood siding and decking; straw-board flooring; non-toxic paints and finishes; concrete with fly-ash content; and rain-screen siding. Nice.
What does the future have in store for us? In whose hands will design be? What economic trends will prevail? Bruce Sterling provides the answers to some of these questions. But some of the answers are hard to understand. He foresees monumental changes in the world of design: a transformation of conventional users, with their currently available user-alterable gizmos, into “wranglers” with blobjects, spimes, and arphids in their pockets and briefcases.
To visualize some of this future world, take a gander at Sterling’s web video: The Spime Arrives. Someday, there will be a world where products are designed, visualized, and ordered online. Consumers may be able to see products manufactured and shipped. And products will be made of renewable, recycled materials, hailing from the closest, most efficient location. Plus, when the product ceases to be useful, the manufacturer will take it back from us with a smile. Trash will diminish, the loop will close. This is a world where everything is downloadable. Metadata is valuable and enables solutions.