Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Growing Power

Growing Power is a two-acre urban farm in Milwauke. It was conceived by Will Allen, who recently won a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant for his efforts. The farm produces over $500,000 worth of affordable produce, meat and fish. Says Allen: “I’d like to see Growing Power transform itself into a five-story vertical building being totally off the grid with renewable energy.”

See the NYT article on the effort!...

Julie Fishes @ Growing Power, originally uploaded by readysubjects.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Under the Stars

Under the Stars, originally uploaded by Mark (LP).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Urban Gardening for High Yield

DSCN4049, originally uploaded by greenroofgrower.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here's the master plan

We are shooting for 80%+ covered parking spaces and are attempting to see if we can substitute 2 motorbike + 3 bike parking spaces for each required parking space. Included are areas for water reclamation, gardening (greenhouses), solar collection, alternative fuel stations, and so on. Input for further ideas would be welcome!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ERIC! awsum bicycle vid! also, i hope you are gettin some rest after passing your LEED exam! congrats! THANKS for all you do!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Media City

When Rex mentioned his idea, I was immediately reminded of Dennis Frenchman's New Century Cities project and other similar efforts to create "open-source" spaces for the Media Cities of tomorrow....Such as Zaragosa's Digital Mile.

Take a look!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

People Oriented Developments

For its relevance for Americans, watch this.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


17-h2o_chatou_axo, originally uploaded by bldgblog.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Getting BACK on-line!

View Larger Map

We're Back!! Sorry, Folks, for going MIA really, really bad...I'm finally done with all my projects to focus once more on Parkwood Green. I'll be developing visuals this weekend to have a robust proposal going, incorporating more ideas for the area. Stay tuned....

By the way, the Google Streetview shot above is interactive....THIS IS THE SITE. Look around (just pan around by holding down the left-click mouse button on the image itself). Sniff the cool morning air....aaahhhh....that's the scent of opportunity. Artists are nowhere to be seen. They're all hung over...But the planners are busy scheeming. Muah ha ha ha....

Before I plan the HECK out of it...Voice your thoughts. What do you want to see here in place of the beloved Roofless Building? Sorry, I think it will have to go...Unless popular outcry demands "No!". This is your last chance to say so!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

inspiration 1

Luminato's Silent Dance Party in Toronto.

Canadians get into these things...We need some of that.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Environmentally friendly the old fashioned way


We need to understand not just environmental but LOCAL. It favors a return to Carolina regionalism in our area, as Frank Harmon advocates. Folks a long time ago knew how to work with our climate and environmental resources...We need to rekindle that old wisdom and integrate it for modern life. In effect, we can have a vision for integrating the best of both eras. Now that's thinking!

Permeable Pavers (materials/construction)

This is an idea for our parking area:

ISFA installed the largest parking lot made of Unilock's permeable pavers for the US Cellular Field in Chicago. ISFA is claiming it "achieved a $400,000 cost savings compared with what it would have cost to install and maintain traditional asphalt paving...Not only does installation and maintenance of permeable pavement typically cost less than it would for poured-in-place concrete and bituminous asphalt, but it is highly durable and stronger that those materials and it lasts twice as long as traditional paving, according to an ISFA press statement." (hat tip: Philip Proefrock)

Another solution is to use an Ecogrid, which not only keeps gravel in place but helps distribute weight evenly on the parking surface. It assures filtration while preventing problems with pooling/gravel dispersement. An ecogrid can also be used for a green roof.

A less effective solution is the Eco Stone or other such pavers. It seems to me the permeability of the concrete itself is the major benefit of Unilock's paver, which will allow easy adoption by more commercial applications...and help lower landscaping costs associated with open cell systems.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

How this princess is saving the world

princess, originally uploaded by Tatiana Cardeal.

A carbon footprint study concludes that even the homeless and the most carbon efficient lifestyles in America leave a carbon footprint twice the international average.

The study concludes:

In general, spending money on travel or on goods that have substantial energy costs in their manufacture and delivery adds to a person's carbon footprint, while expenditures on locally based labor-intensive services--whether it's going to a therapist, taking an art class, or getting a massage--leads to a smaller footprint.

But the biggest factors in most people's lives were the obvious energy-users: housing, transportation and food. "The simple way you get people's carbon use down is to tax it," Gutowski says. "That's a hard pill to swallow--politicians don't like to step up" to support such measures. Absent such national actions, he says, it is important to study "what role consumer choices can play" in lowering the nation's carbon emissions.

Thomas Friedman, incidentally, recently concluded similarly...blaming Congress, so the last hope is changing consumer habits.

All this makes me wonder, can we truly make an impact if our economy fundamentally is tied to consumptive lifestyles? Steering Americans to local choices would be a start. Can we learn from Africans? David Ajaye thinks we can...Look at the energy resilient nature of African cities he points. We might try to save Africans, but maybe they can also save us. ')

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Westbeth Thoughts

Westbeth Courtyard II, originally uploaded by R. Duke.

Thanks everyone for your input last night!

Here is a short "my take" on comments received last night for an artist-supportive development (above is the precedent of Westbeth suggested by Phillip). While the Parkwood development is not necessarily an "artist community" per se, a starting point for programming and creative development is a concept. Concepts are not pristine things you order online. They grow organically from ideas that get batted around. So let's just engage "artist community" and see where that gets us next.

Big Take:

1) honor the disciplines - sound-proof walls for music/performance, expansive floor area for dance, kiln and arable messy room for throwing clay, as examples.

2) insulate the artists from each other -- related to this: privacy; security; ability to shrink into one's oyster shell; escape; meditation; light; water; serenity; quiet; meditative space; secret escape hatch/back door access away from public areas.

3) affordability: shared living space, shared kitchen for economy units

4) artist condos: basic; adaptable; light everywhere; well-ventilated; concrete floor; "spacy"; no need to finish (except for perhaps bamboo cabinetry); will be partitioned/finished by owner

5) courtyards: one public, one for residents only - an atrium garden

6) water as a special feature

7) green roof (w/ amenities)

8) flexible common area for producing work w/ tool shop, etc

9) no need for designated ground floor "gallery space", focus on sustainable retail like coffee/deli shop and office space

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Power of Design

A wonderful essay by KT Meaney has been posted over at Design Observer.
This piece very nicely points toward a behavioral economics approach to influencing buyer's choices (at the buying point - in supermarket aisles) with the powerful aide of design.
There's some powerful thinking here!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Everything they didn't teach me enough in college...

seastead[2], originally uploaded by bldgblog.

....I get brom BLDGBLOG:

The declarative/constitutionalizing architecture of seasteading.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Innovation Circle

Geothermal Energy, originally uploaded by Alliat.

An MIT study is describing the amazing possibilities here...basically its a sheer untapped resource

Monday, May 19, 2008

Reusable Art

Art CUBE_graphic skin, originally uploaded by n:dL.

I found this essay by Maja and Reuben Fowkes compelling:

The Principles of Sustainability in Contemporary Art

They explain the need to transition from "Environmental Art" towards "Sustainable Art"...Artists have tended not to focus on the reuse of things, which is actually - next to energy innovation - is probably the single most important service anybody can do to advance the goals of sustainability. We need to focus here on process. And I don't think they are talking about adopting hippie lifestyles. I think we need to create recycling systems for everyone. We need to make on-site complete life-cycle process (like bamboo cultivation) both usable and attractive, culturally as well as economically. (The Art CUBE is a good example of a start.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beavers in Manhattan??

Don't think of it as housing for the homeless, but restoring the displaced to their original habitat.

Mobile roofing systems

Art_wodiczko, originally uploaded by MC Hammerheadshark.

I find the fact that the homeless are appearing in our "roofless" photo feed (on the right) quite interesting. It immediately brought to mind the homeless vehicle projects of my former art professor Krzystof Wodiczko.

How can our roofless project benefit the homeless? How can its rooflessness contribute to their "mobile conditions"....Can we create a mobile roofing system in place of a traditional roof? What if the roof was still put in...but in mobile capacities? A roof that reassembled in the evening or during dinnertimes...dispersed in the morning.

...I'm a student of Krzystof, what can I say? :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Green Building with trees Top in Vancouver British Columbia Canada

park and kudzu

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Nice detail

Parque da Cidade #16, originally uploaded by Isa Karps.

Not sure if RB Marx did this...but I thought this was a shining moment. Only a landscape artist can treat the water that way.

California Academy of Sciences

What lies beneath the bulge...intrigue

Here's a shot of Phillip's precedent project.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bamboo River

Bamboo River, originally uploaded by amirjina.

Uses bamboo for water conveyance.

Thought this was cool...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

bouça, alvaro siza

bouça, alvaro siza, originally uploaded by zeneize.

My precedent project. Sorry for the modernism...but I'm an architect.

What I really love about this housing typology is the way it addresses all the layers of habitation of the traditional row house and brings different possibilities to the foreground. Siza treats each layer as a unique habitation zone and plays with layers of privacy. He does this not only vertically but horizontally in subtle moves. I see similar play in Rome's older residential quarters - which is why I am infatuated with that city.

How can Siza's layered architecture inform our approach to green design? How can artists find refuge in it and work and commune in it?

Sites:Blogs for the Urban Warrior

There a lot of great blogs and resourced sites I've started to keep up with, here are a few. Nothing big, it's just nice to keep tabs on them through my Netvibes feed page (If you have not a Netvibes page going what kind of an urban warrior are you!):

Green Building Elements : a part of Green Options Media
Urbanworkbench : interesting husband-wife civil engineer team committed to green design
WorldChanging : my top resourced site overall

Inhabitat : green urban chic by some really hot & green urban chicks...(now is that doubly hot or wut - I'd take any one of them)

You can also just troll through my tabs, I tag all I find worthy.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Let the DREAMS begin...

So you are an artist...What would your ideal place to live, work and entertain look like?