"Panning a project on square footage alone is asinine. you don't know the client's programming needs – maybe the house is designed for the grandparents to move in. maybe one of their children is disabled and requires dedicated space. maybe the house is also a home office, thereby foregoing additional office space in another location … size alone isn't a function of how green or ungreen something is."
In the news, there’s a lot of talk about process journalism and using a feedback loop to evolve stories. It made me think about iterative design and the potential role of blogs and new media to transform projects. Probably, one of the most interesting and current examples I can think of comes from Michael Janzen, who’s behind Tiny House Design, Nine Tiny Feet, and Tiny Free House, among other ventures. Using Google SketchUp, Janzen transformed a shed cluster (through comments, analysis, feedback, and subsequent iterations) into a sustainable dogtrot home. Check it out:
Chances are, if you've ever researched modern homes online, you've seen the name Gregory La Vardera. In addition to maintaining a house plan blog (and contributing to a number of other sites and forums), he's on Houseplans.com, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and probably a thousand other services. Frankly, he's all over the place, and he's trying to incite the kind of housing rebellion we're interested in seeing. In a blog article dated May 14, 2009, La Vardera describes the ReModern Movement — a time when people build their own modern or green house — and provides a list of reasons for why now is the time:
The great American architect Daniel Burnham once said, "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." The Venus Project is no little plan — it's a proposal for a total redesign of the world. From cities on the sea to mass transit, mega sky scrapers, and even colonies in outer space, it covers every angle. Furthermore, it proposes to achieve all of this by switching to a resource-based economy and adopting radical lifestyle changes. The plan is large, thoroughly documented, and beautifully rendered. The architecture even comes with plans to build the machines needed to build these massive structures. Here's a look at just a couple of the many concepts …
Last year I talked about five green building trends and most of that, generally speaking, was spot on. This year's going to be a little tougher nut to crack, however, because things are changing every day. After a week or two of new information, it could be that everything below will not make sense any more. I don't believe that will happen, but it could. Anyway, to cut to the chase, all of this is informal and anecdotal. I'm making these predictions based on approximately thirty years of seeing, studying, reading, working, and observing as a human being. You will certainly have a different perspective, but hear me out. When you're done, make sure to tell me what you think below.
I’ve always been kind of irked by the fact that President Reagan, after having the White House’s leaky roof fixed, never replaced the solar hot water panels installed by President Carter. But it’s hard to judge him because I was barely crawling at the time — I have no idea what was going on in the collective conscious of that generation. I mean, Al Gore mentions in Sunday’s Op-Ed in the NY Times that President Nixon established Project Independence 35 years ago with a goal to, in seven years time, develop the potential to meet our country’s energy needs without having to rely on any foreign energy sources. Yet, that never happened and Reagan’s act, the way I see it, symbolically shut the door on the possibility of American energy self-reliance. At least for the time being.