Interface Studio: Sustainable, Economic Sheridan Street Housing

Sheridan Street Housing Sheridan Street Housing

The Philadelphia Sustainability Awards Finalists have been chosen and one of the projects that was overlooked is the following 13-unit, affordable, environmentally-friendly housing project designed by Interface Studio, LLC.  One of the goals of this project was to design affordable homes with extremely low utility costs.  When money is tight, being hit by the utility man is tough on morale, that’s for sure.  The architect relied on modular design to lower costs of construction and challenge the bland look of typical affordable housing.  Engineers estimate that units will be 30-40% more efficient than your standard Energy Star building upon completion.  Pretty incredible, actually. 

Although Sheridan Street Housing was not selected for the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards, it has received an AIA Philadelphia Silver Medal 2006 + residential architect Design Award 2007.  Sheridan Street was designed with unique materials such as slate-like fiber cement cladding panel and textured exterior grade plywood cladding panel.  Also, as you can tell from the images above, the design incorporates an airy third-floor terrace.  I’d pay big money for that.  I think another innovative aspect of the project is how the designer squeezed 13-units into an oddly shaped 40′ x 450′ piece of land.  Each building dances with another in interlocking L-shaped footprints to maximize the available land. 

Here are links to some of the other green projects considered for the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards: Bernice Elza Homes, Brewerytown Square, Jackie O’Neil Zero-Energy Prototype Homes (finalist), One Crescent Drive, Pembroke North Condominium, and The Reserve at Packer Park

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

Jetson Green Named to MoPo 2007 – Top 25 Architecture Blogs (Updated)

Panoramic_saltlake_iwan_baan

I just wanted to kick out a shout to the blog Eikongraphia and Michiel van Raaij for working hard to compile a list of the Top 25 Architecture Blogs on the internet right now.  I’m pleased to announce that Jetson Green occupies the #9 position on the list.  Without having perfect access to all sorts of information, it’s difficult to make a list of top blogs and not receive some criticism, but I think Michiel did a good job.  Here’s a list of the Top 15 Architecture Blogs:

    1. BLDGBLOG
    2. Things Magazine
    3. Pruned
    4. Archidose
    5. Plataforma Arquitectura
    6. Tropolism
    7. Dezeen
    8. Edgar Gonzalez
    9. Jetson Green
    10. Subtopia
    11. Eikongraphia
    12. Anarchitecture
    13. Noticias Arquitectura
    14. Mirage Studio 7
    15. Brand Avenue

If you’re an architecture fan, feel free to drop by any one of these quality sites.  I have many of them plugged into the feed right now.  But I must admit, I’m not an architect.  I am a construction and design enthusiast.  I hear architects say all the time, "Developers should go to architecture school."  Jetson Green is my form of research and school–the more I blog, the more I learn, and I rely on emails, comments, and trackbacks to understand the important principles relating to the architecture of sustainability. 

::UPDATE:: The list was revised to separate out individual and collaborative blogs.  Jetson Green moved up to #7 on the individual blogs list.  The above list is still the first attempt. 

Green Building Gets Easy, Green Hotels, Construction Materials, Wind Capacity Growing, + Low Impact is Popular (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Green Housing Gains Ground: Green Home Building Doesn’t Have to be Complicated, Experts Say; Simple Steps Can Make Houses More Environmentally Friendly
  2. U.S. Wind Energy Grew 20 % in 2006; Now Enough to Generate Power for 3M Average U.S. Homes
  3. Green Is the New Black: Becoming a Popular Approach to Lessen Environmental Impact
  4. Independent Hotels and Major Chains Are Building Green Properties and Renovating Existing Properties Green
  5. Construction Suppliers Go Green: New Products Promise to Cut Pollution, Costs

It's a Green Spring…You Choose

Time April 9, 2007 Cover Outside April Cover Eco-Structure May/June Cover Newsweek April 16, 2007 Cover The New American City Spring 2007

I take my oldies to 1/2-Price when I’m done, it’s better than trash.  You?

LEED Ordinances: Unlawful or Not? Philosophically Speaking…

Usgbc

Well, it looks like a courageous Palo Alto lawyer has decided to escalate the conversation as to whether LEED ordinances, city ordinances that require developers to build green, are lawful or not.  Here’s the background story.  Currently, Palo Alto requires public projects of 10,000+ sf to be certified under the USGBC guidelines, but they’re considering a mixture of alternatives that would require private developers to build to USGBC standards.  Generally speaking, there are two ways to get private developers to go green:

  1. Carrot Incentives – provide utility rebates, design allowances, floor area ratio increases, density increases, fast-track permits, etc.
  2. Stick Regulations – charge a "green fee" for developments that aren’t green, deny site plan or building permit approvals, or require LEED for approvals. 

Palo Alto City Attorney Gary Baum warned that green building requirements (i.e., stick regulations) have no legal basis.  Further, it’s in the city’s best interests to incentivize rather than restrict.  Let’s get legal, though.  What differentiates standard building codes with green building codes?  There’s a legal basis for adherence to standard building codes, but there’s no basis for green building codes?  Is it the police powers?  Where’s the argument for "no legal basis?"  I’m not saying I disagree, because personally, I think it’s more effective to go with option #1, carrot incentives.  But let’s enunciate the argument for there being no legal basis to adopt a LEED ordinance.

There’s a philosophical component to the situation and I see three general options:  wait on the free market, incentivize the market, or regulate the market.  The free market would likely be against both the second and the third, because incentives also interfere with market economics.  The incentivizer would say the free market never comes around and the regulator is a pain in the butt.  The regulator would say the free market is weak and slow and the incentivizer trades money for cooperation, the wrong way to make sure something gets done.  What do you think?  Free market? Incentivize?  Regulate? LEED Ordinances are illegal?    

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