I caught up with Brian Phillips, principal of Interface Studio Architects, in Miami recently while he was down as a visiting critic at the University of Miami School of Architecture. Based in Philadelphia, ISA is a prominent architecture and research firm on the leading edge of green building and pre-fab construction with notable projects such as the 100k House and The Modules, featured on Jetson Green a few years ago. Here is our discussion on the work of ISA and direction of the green building industry.
One thing I’ve noticed is the fact that home building is changing in a big way. In order to capture what’s going on across the country, I thought it would be interesting to talk with influencers and innovators about things like tiny houses, prefabrication, sustainable design, high performance construction, and home technology. For this first interview, I was able to exchange emails with Sam Hagerman, co-owner of Hammer & Hand and president of the Passive House Alliance US, on the topic of ADUs and Passive Houses.
When the Museum of Science and Technology in Chicago wanted a “smart” house on their grounds to showcase energy-efficient and healthy living at its best, architect Michelle Kaufmann was a natural choice to design it. After all, her passion for sustainability, coupled with an impeccable eye for style and plenty of award-winning projects under her belt, has made Michelle an authority on good green design. The Smart Home: Green and Wired exhibit has inspired thousands of visitors with its perfect mix of high and low-tech green building techniques, materials and gadgets in a friendly, modern setting.
Current and recent projects for Michelle Kaufmann Studio include a sustainable neighborhood, a co-housing complex for some very with-it Franciscan nuns, and several private residences for green-minded clients. With so much hands-on experience with many of the materials and technologies we write about here at Jetson Green, I was eager to pick Michelle’s brain.
I proposed a series of open-ended questions starting with “What is the one green product …”, hoping the busy designer would find it a fun, thought-provoking exercise. Luckily she did — and I hope you find her responses as illuminating and insightful as I have!
The U.S. market for small wind turbines — those rated 100 kilowatts or less — grew 15% in 2009 with the installation of about 10,000 new units, according to the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study in 2010. In the same report, AWEA found that the largest manufacturer of these turbines in terms of kilowatts sold is Arizona-based Southwest Windpower. I had the opportunity to email with the company’s marketing director, Miriam Robbins, and she was kind enough to share what’s new with Southwest Windpower.
Rebecca Guymon and Joe Turner are the owners of Breezeway House – the first certified Passive House in Utah and in the western United States. They’re unique because only a handful of these ultra-insulated, airtight, low-energy homes exist in the United States. So I asked Turner to share his experience building and living in a Passive House and he was kind enough to respond. This is mandatory reading for anyone interested in owning a Passive House.
The Modules at TempleTown is an impressive project. It embodies what many in the industry believe to be the benefits of off-site fabrication: waste reduction, speedy construction, and cost savings. Designed by Interface Studio Architects, The Modules is a student apartment building in a double-H shape specifically designed to allow natural lighting in all of the rental units.