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Creating Affordable, Walkable Neighbourhoods

 

Creating Affordable, Walkable Neighbourhoods

 

 

According to Australia’s 2011 Census, 88.9 per cent of Australians live in urban areas. Those areas are defined as the built-up areas of towns and cities of more than 1,000 people.

The Australian Capital Territory leads the pack, at 99.5 per cent urbanised, while the Northern Territory ranks at 73.8 per cent.

Growth over the coming decades is predicted to be robust, says the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with all major cities forecast to double in population by mid-century. The total population is expected to top 60 million by 2101.

Read more here.

Green Building Megatrends

10 Green Building Megatrends from the “Godfather of Green”

Jerry Yudelson, the “Godfather of Green”

 

Green building is facing a number of changes, according to “The Godfather of Green,” Jerry Yudelson. A LEED fellow and former president of the Green Globes rating system, Yudelson has recently written a book, Reinventing Green Building, in which he identifies 10 “megatrends” he believes will impact certification systems, markets, government rules, and green building technologies through 2020 and beyond.

Read more here.

A visit to Taliesin West

Taliesin West is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Like the original Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Taliesin West is both a home and a laboratory for Frank Lloyd Wright’s building concepts. It’s also a home for the School of Architecture, which FLW organized with a hands-on, apprenticeship type of approach.

The surrounding landscape is, to be blunt, brutal. The number of plants that can cause serious pain is stunning. The cholla cactus thrives and seems to stalk the unwary hiker. Thorns easily penetrate thick-soled running shoes.

The built environment, however, makes up for the nastiness of the natural environment. The property, with its multiple structures, is a testament to FLW’s genius for creating compelling spaces, and advancing the art of building. The use of indigenous materials, in this instance, was successful in tying the structures to the site, as well as being economical.

A visit to Taliesin West

The Wrights’ living room at Taliesin West.

A visit to Taliesin West

A sculpture at Taliesin West that FLW picked up during his travels.

A visit to Taliesin West

Another view of the Wright’s living room. The space has a dramatic feel, yet it’s still warm. Abundant windows draw your gaze to the outside.

A visit to Taliesin West

More Asian art from Frank Lloyd Wright’s collection.

A visit to Taliesin West

The Cabaret at Taliesin West displays a remarkable understanding of acoustics. Our tour guide could speak at conversational volume and be heard 20-30 feet away.

A visit to Arcosanti

Paolo Soleri, architect and urban planning visionary, created Arcosanti as an “urban laboratory.” His vision included many factors society has had to rediscover over the past few decades, such as local food production, increased walkability in the built environment, and passive heating and cooling systems.

Soleri’s concept of arcology is a blend of architecture and ecology, an “urban system that can function as a hyper-organism.” The seven design principles behind the practice are meant to guide planners and designers in creating cities that are small, dense, complex, and self-sustaining, thus minimizing human effects on our environment.

While building Arcosanti with the help of thousands of volunteers, Soleri financed the project by making and selling wind bells and ceramic tiles.

More info at Paolo Soleri’s Vision of Sustainable Cities and Arcosanti.

A visit to Arcosanti

Arcosanti employs huge quantities of concrete, but also lots of hand work.

A visit to Arcosanti.

A model of Arcosanti. So far, only the dark gray structures are complete.

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The bell “factory” is located in one apse. The bells are silt formed here, then cast in the foundry.

A visit to Arcosanti

The apse is a common form in Soleri’s work.

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Arcosanti includes structures for all daily uses, including apartment-style housing.

Tiny homes in Portland

Tiny homes in Portland are attracting everyone from millennials to retirees. While at the Build Small, Live Large Summit, I toured a few tiny homes set up on the Portland State University campus. The two best designs were the Escape Traveler and the container from Modern Dwellings.

Tiny homes in Portland

A container project from Modern Dwellings, with excellent design and execution. The charred cedar siding is a traditional Japanese technique called “Shou Sugi Ban.”

Tiny homes in Portland

This container from Modern Dwellings has a great exterior stairway to the roof.

Tiny homes in Portland

The Escape Traveler is among the best designs I’ve seen.

Tiny homes in Portland

The Escape Traveler’s huge window brightens the entire place.

ADX maker-space in Portland

ADX is a maker-space in Portland, Oregon. They offer shop rental, tool rental, and the chance to mingle with creative people.

More info here.

ADX

ADX shop

ADX is a maker space in Portland. They have space for all kinds of projects, such as woodworking, metalwork, and sewing.

globe at ADX Portland

Funky globe at ADX in Portland.

The ADX woodshop is impressive.

The ADX woodshop is impressive.

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny houses are prominent in Portland

I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon, to attend the Build Small, Live Large Summit, aka the Tiny House Summit. I stayed at Caravan, the Tiny House Hotel, and experienced a lot of the Portland magic. This city has a focus on boosting affordable housing, as evidenced by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales speaking to the crowd.

A neat little parklet in the Alberta Arts District.

A neat little parklet in the Alberta Arts District, near the Tiny House Hotel.

Caravan Tiny House Hotel

We stayed one night at Caravan, the Tiny House Hotel. The Skyline was quite pleasant.

Caravan gate

Funky gate at the Tiny House Hotel.

flower pot

Creative flower pot

tiny house courtyard

Courtyard at the Tiny House Hotel

Caravan Tiny House Hotel

Does Architecture Still Inspire?

 

Does Architecture Still Inspire?

Architecture is losing its ability to inspire people, according to architects Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer.

In a recent article in Metropolis, they claimed that a focus on “the bottom line” is driven by the education system, with the result that, “Buildings are no longer the medium through which people imagine new worlds or cultural movements.”

Read more here.

Waste and Renewables Make for Better Bricks

image bricks; Waste and Renewables Make for Better Bricks

Waste and recycled materials can create high-performance bricks that don’t need energy-intensive kiln firing.

Waste and Renewables Make for Better Bricks

Brick is one of the most commonly used building materials worldwide.

Typically made of a clay mixture and then kiln fired, brick is usually made from local resources and requires straightforward building techniques which have, in most cases, gone unchanged for generations. Kiln firing of bricks greatly strengthens them, but uses vast quantities of wood, coal, natural gas, and other fuels. Brick-making also pumps an average of 1.4 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere per brick, and creates air pollution in developing countries such as India and China.

Alternative options for materials can address these issues, however, while also making use of waste materials.

Read more here.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

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