Cape Schanck House
Green building continues to evolve apace, spurred by interest in reducing resource use and carbon emissions, and the desire to provide more comfortable, beautiful and productive homes and offices that facilitate a connection with nature. The Obama administration has earmarked millions of dollars for energy-efficiency programs, the U.S. Green Building Council is exploding and state and local governments are passing incentive packages, or in some cases even mandating green building codes. Innovative architects are experimenting with cheap modular homes, buildings made of used shipping containers or even airplane parts or discarded bottles. The good news is not all green homes are pricey eco-palaces; efficient, non-toxic structures are being constructed for lower income residents in places like post-Katrina New Orleans and Harlem.
This post isn't so much about affordable as it is about cutting-edge design. Hot off the presses is a beautifully produced book that showcases the innovative dwellings that are driving green building into the new decade. New Green Homes by Sergi Costa Duran and others is a fresh follow-up to the influential Green Homes. Here we look at some of the most inspirational designs from the book's pages, with an eye to what's possible if we think outside of the standard 2x4 box.
Many of the designs showcased in New Green Homes clearly pay homage to Phillip Johnson's iconic Glass House, which is now more than 50 years old. Yet the goal of creating more seamless integration with the surrounding environment, as well as leaving a smaller footprint, are clearly as relevant as ever. The 4,090-square foot X House near Quito, Ecuador is like an expanded, updated Glass House, oriented around a central courtyard.
Designed by Arquitectura X, the X House is recyclable, and features water-saving fixtures and efficient evaporative cooling.
The 4,110-square foot Rochedale House in Brentwood, California was designed by Ray Kappe for Living Homes, a company that specializes in steel-frame prefab designs. Prefab makes them more efficient and cost-effective to build than traditional construction. The home's modules can be assembled in just three days. The project was done in partnership with Wired magazine, and achieved LEED Gold green building certification from the USGBC.
The home boasts great indoor air quality, high energy and water efficiency and photovoltaic solar power. At the end of its life 76% of the home's material can be readily recycled.