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M-CH: Less is More Edition

m-ch

Let’s face it, less is more.  What you see is the micro compact home, aka m-ch, which is a 76 sf home designed by Richard Horden, a professor at Technical University of Munich (TUM).  m-ch was designed to meet the growing demand for short-stay living.  I think Horden’s on to something.  Right now, there’s a horde of 7 m-chs that TUM students and staff occasionally stay in.  But there’s also a 16-unit village of m-chs being developed for a site near Vienna, Austria. 

What’s great about the m-ch is its high-tech design.  It’s all geeked out with the latest in electronics and technology.  Future models plan to use solar panels and horizontal-axis wind turbines to make the home self-sustaining.  For $96,000 (delivery + installation anywhere in Europe), you get a sliding table for 5, two 7.5 foot beds, shelves and drawers, an electrical systems control panel, bathroom and shower, and a kitchen with a microwave, fridge/freezer, sink, waste unit, and work surface.  For a quick jaunt and a little fun, what more could you ask for?  Via WiredCool images below the fold. 

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David Hertz Designed LivingHome Makes 2007 Met Home Design 100 List

Dh1

This year’s Met Home Design 100 list has a ton of green projects and products and one of the magazine’s choices is the David Hertz LivingHome shown above.  Built from a unique, aluminum-based panelized system, the Hertz home is about 2,650 sf with four bedrooms + four bathrooms.  For ease of reference, I’m going to refer to this home as DH1 (see also RK1 and RK2), which I think works because in all likelihood, LivingHomes will feature more Hertz designs in the future.  DH1 features a green roof and a private balcony that can be accessed by three of the four bedrooms.  And like the other LivingHome prefab products, it will be LEED certified. 

At a price point of about $215 psf, I hear LivingHomes is looking for the right client to take the plunge on DH1.  What does it take?  (1) land in or near Los Angeles, (2) intent to build within the next six months, (3) a budget of about +$750,000, (4) interest in building a green home, and (5) tolerance and patience throughout the process. 

To me, this is a no-brainer.  If I were out of college and established in business, I’d plop down a million in a heartbeat just to get the DH1 built and use it as a vacation home (at a minimum).  I’d buy it for the joy of having one of the greenest prefabs in the country and I’d let all my friends stay in it.  Actually, I’d probably hire a management company to lease it out by the day, week, or month, so anyone in the world could test out the joys of living in a modern + green home.  I’d invite builders from all over the country to stay in it for free and showcase the green benefits.  I’d make green viral.  That’s what you can do with a great-looking, high-performance home like the DH1. 

Sundance Channel's Big Ideas Episode #2: Build

Big Ideas Build

If you’re like me, you don’t have The Sundance Channel and you buy each episode of Big Ideas on iTunes for $1.99.  I downloaded the last episode called "BUILD" and liked it so much, I’m going to buy a copy of the video on iTunes for the first 5 people to comment in this post.  It’s really good.  In an information-packed 25 minutes and 38 seconds, the producers take us through Michelle Kaufmann’s prefab factory, the process of building a Glidehouse, Carlton Brown’s green multifamily housing in New York, the advantages of green building, the future of green building with technology, and Mitchell Joachim’s fab tree hab. 

Note – I’ll use the email that you comment with to gift the episode to you through iTunes.  This is not a Sundance promo, this is JG promoting modern, green building. 

Ray Kappe, FAIA: 10 Most Important Principles to Success

Photo_ray_kappe Lately, Ray Kappe has been getting a lot of attention for his residences designed for LivingHomes, the Steve Glenn prefab company.  Kappe’s first home has been featured all over the place for achieving the highest LEED certification possible, the Platinum rating.  I think his work is incredible, so I was studying his stuff when I came across this list of his, "the ten most important principles that helped make me a successful architect, planner, and educator."  In the interests of learning from those that are remarkable examples of continuing achievement, I thought I would be good to share his list with the JG readers.  Any thoughts?

  1. Think positively, not negatively.
  2. Accept structure but know that it is to be questioned and broken when necessary.
  3. Always be willing to explore, experiment and invent.  Do not accept the status quo.
  4. Know yourself and keep your work consistent with who you are and how you think.
  5. Maintain good moral and social values.
  6. Be humble, honest, compassionate, and egalitarian.
  7. Have conviction about your work.
  8. Be open and say yes to most ideas and requests. The good ones will be valuable, the bad ones will cease to exist.
  9. Allow employees and fellow workers freedom and the ability to work to their strengths. Avoid hierarchy.
  10. Money should be the residual of work, not the goal.  But do not compromise your worth.

RK2

Has Anyone Seen "The Green House" Exhibit at D.C.'s National Building Museum?

Click to Purchase The Green House When I was in Washington, D.C., a couple weekends back, in addition to participating in GWU’s real estate competition and visiting AWEA, I took a tour of the National Building Museum’s exhibit called "The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design."  If you’ve been there, by all means, leave a comment as to what you thought.  I thought it was a great exhibit.  I wanted to take pictures to show everyone, but no cameras were allowed inside.  Regardless, pictures wouldn’t do it justice, because the entire exhibit showcases some incredible green concepts and materials. 

Included in the tour is a real-life The Glidehouse, which is a prefab by Michelle Kaufmann.  It’s very cool.  Very modern.  The tour also has a Heliodon, or a sun machine, which allows you to see how the sun hits a home (see solar orientation).  The exhibit also explains the 5 Principles of Sustainable Homes:

  1. Optimizing Use of Sun
  2. Improving Indoor Air Quality
  3. Using the Land Responsibly
  4. Creating High-Performance and Moisture-Resistant Homes
  5. Wisely Using the Earth’s Natural Resources

Towards the end, there’s a green materials section that lets you see and feel different green floorings, ceilings, countertops, and paints.  I heard people looking at it saying stuff like, "Wow, that’s nice…," or "That doesn’t look green at all…"  It’s true.  The environmental movement of yesterday has an entirely new face for the future.  It looks good and comes at a competitive price.  If you can’t go to D.C. or you want some more information, you can buy the exhibit book here or at your local bookstore.  The Green House Exhibit will be on display until June 24, 2007.   

More Than Another Prefab: Muji Prefab

Muji_concept

My values and beliefs were partially created through my experience living in Japan.  I like minimalist.  I like clean, sharp lines.  I like modern.  I like small, but functional.  I appreciate that a grain of rice means something, especially when times are tough.  And this is why I’m excited to hear the news of Muji coming to America.  Technically Mujirushi Ryohin, roughly translated as no-name quality goods, is the full name.  Muji is coming to the US to influence consumers that dig the no-brand, minimalist style sans in-your-face product identifiers.  I wear shirts inside out just so the brand doesn’t show sometimes, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they have to offer.   

Muji has 387 outlets in 15 countries, including 34 stores in Europe.  America is next on their expansion plans with a store starting in Manhattan, and the possibility of stores to follow in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco.  Muji sells all sorts of stuff, such as socks, a front-loading washer/dryer combo, cardboard speakers, aluminum business card holders, and even a line of prefab homes (starting at $115,000).  Not all their products are green, but they are of the modern aesthetic.  Choose wisely, I say.  Also, we’ll have to wait and see, but I’ve heard rumors that their stuff isn’t cheap.  Some people compare them to IKEA, but with a Japanese flavor.  Let’s see how the Manhattan opening goes.  See BusinessWeek + Muji (Japanese). 

Mujiinfill_houseToyohashi_house



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