Sustainable design firm Mithun just updated their website with details of an interesting farmworker housing pilot project in Washington state. With the sponsorship of the Seattle Archidiocesan Housing Authority and a grant from Enterprise Community Partners, Mithun designed three prefabricated modules to provide a model for affordable housing for farmworkers and their families. According to Mithun, the state has tens of thousands of farmworkers who are forced to compete for scant affordable living options, and these prefab 580 square foot homes may change life for a lot of them.
Today, the Holcim Foundation honored four projects with Global Holcim Awards – a nod to projects that improve lives, reduce environmental footprints, and lead the way to a more sustainable future. I thought the “Innovation” project was quite interesting. The $50k Innovation prize went to Liz Ogbu and John Peterson of San Francisco-based Public Architecture for their design of an informal station where laborers can meet and wait for casual work. If you haven’t already seen the self-contained, off-the-grid station, check it out below:
Inspired by the likes of Dwell and the 100k House, Deezine.ca and Shift Development came together with an idea. They thought it would be interesting to have a modern, green, and affordable home designed by an entire community online. Ideas are posted online and the community can make suggestions for changes. Their idea became the Shift Home. You can see how the design has changed in the past few months, but to be clear, this home is not just a thought experiment. Shift Development breaks ground in late-May, or thereabouts.
JG covers all sorts of innovative homes, but to be entirely honest, we prefer the affordable. So Caleb Schafer nabbed our interest when he emailed us about his efficient, modern home. Four years ago, after graduating from architecture school, he and his wife moved to Texas and began building the home on a 1.5 acre site due north of San Antonio. They built it for ~$70,000 — it's a 1400 square foot home — we're talking about $50 psf. Not bad! Here's how they did it:
This is an affordable green home that is also the first, LEED-H Platinum, single-family home in Ohio. In addition, the home is said to be the first in state to feature both solar thermal and photovoltaic solar panels on one roof. It's beautiful and traditional — definitely the kind of home our non-modern readers dream about — and accented by a leisurely large front porch. If you're in the area, there's an open house on Thursday, May 21, 2009; if you're not, we have some great photos to give you a peek inside. Check out its green features:
There's a conundrum in the green building world that a lot of people are working on. They're trying to figure out how to building homes that are both sustainable and affordable — homes that most of us can approach. I could rattle off a list of folks working on this, and Habitat for Humanity would certainly be at the top. We just mentioned how a Michigan branch of Habitat for Humanity designed and built a LEED Platinum affordable home; and now according to The Oregonian, two Habitat homes in Portland are seeking LEED Platinum certification. The goal with these homes, like the Michigan home, was to test out various green strategies and technology for affordability. Here's a little more background: