In the midst of an effort to reduce costs associated with standard pipe railing on a multifamily project, the founders of BŌK Modern happened upon innovation. Their epiphany came when they decided to use laser-cut flat metal formed using computer-automated machines (to reduce welding, grinding, and other unnecessary hand labor). Some of the panels were on display at the recent Pacific Coast Builders Conference, and Houseplans.com editor Dan Gregory said they were “striking.”
This is Metem, a material distributed by Minnesota-based Intectural, a sister company of Epicurean Cutting Surfaces and Loll Designs. Metem is made with old milk jugs — like Loll’s Rapson Collection — or to be more specific, post-consumer recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE). It’s highly durable and requires no maintenance, according to Intectural, and can used inside or out in wet or dry applications.
When I mentioned a project by students aiming to build the greenest house in Canada (by means of the Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum certification), I noted that students planned to use “prefabricated straw bale walls.” It turns out they finished this portion of the project using BioSIPs from NatureBuilt Wall Systems in Ontario, Canada.
Push Design made news with a beautiful Hemp House in Asheville, North Carolina. It received significant media attention — notwithstanding a multitude of jokes conflating industrial hemp and marijuana. Now, hemp is being used for more projects, as shown in the above video from CBS Minnesota. Due to strict regulations, hemp is imported and mixed with water and lime to create a light, insulating, concrete-like mass for walls.
Today Stramit USA announced the launch of a material manufacturing company operating out of an 88,000 square-foot facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The company has been working with Stramit UK for 16 months to import the process that creates a proprietary and rigid Compressed Agricultural Fiber (CAF) product — made with agricultural waste wheat straw — that can be used for walls, panels, flooring, doors, and furniture.
Teragren, one of the largest manufacturers of bamboo materials based in North America, recently expanded the popular Portfolio line of floating, strand bamboo flooring with the addition of “Portfolio Naturals.” The four new looks — Java, Chestnut, Wheat, and Brindle — have been favorites in other Teragren product lines and expand a Portfolio line that’s quick to install.