sustainable architecture Archive

  • In 1974, architect Bengt Warne designed the prototype for a greenhouse home to deal with the cold winters in Sweden. Rather than converting an existing structure and moving inside it, he built a normal house -- and then encasing it in glass -- a Nature House (or "Naturhus" ). Inspired by these designs, a family has created a home near Stockholm integrated with the elements of earth, water, air, and fire. The electricity bills have been cut in half, heated by an eco-friendly wood-burning oven and a hot water masonry heater. The greenhouse also shelters Mediterranean-style gardens that couldn't survive the Swedish seasons -- figs, kiwi, peaches, wine grapes, etc.

    Passive-Solar Greenhouse-Wrapped Nature House in Sweden

    In 1974, architect Bengt Warne designed the prototype for a greenhouse home to deal with the cold winters in Sweden. Rather than converting an existing structure and moving inside it, he built a normal house -- and then encasing it in glass -- a Nature House (or "Naturhus" ). Inspired by these designs, a family has created a home near Stockholm integrated with the elements of earth, water, air, and fire. The electricity bills have been cut in half, heated by an eco-friendly wood-burning oven and a hot water masonry heater. The greenhouse also shelters Mediterranean-style gardens that couldn't survive the Swedish seasons -- figs, kiwi, peaches, wine grapes, etc.

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  • The Sonoma Valley in Northern California is known for it's world-class wine, gentle hills, and year-round temperate climate, where novelist-gentleman-farmer Jack London set up his ode to wild sustainability one hundred years before it became a thing. Flying over in a hot air balloon, hiking the protected hillsides to find a precious Pinot Noir at one of the 425 wineries, sailing off the coast, there are many ways to get lost in them hills.

    Wild Sonoma’s ‘Valley of the Moon’ – Living with the Land

    The Sonoma Valley in Northern California is known for it's world-class wine, gentle hills, and year-round temperate climate, where novelist-gentleman-farmer Jack London set up his ode to wild sustainability one hundred years before it became a thing. Flying over in a hot air balloon, hiking the protected hillsides to find a precious Pinot Noir at one of the 425 wineries, sailing off the coast, there are many ways to get lost in them hills.

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  • As the Western U.S. continues with massive wind-driven, high-intensity wildfires that often turn deadly, Naomi Pitcairn recommends retrofitting homes on the Wildland Urban Interface for fire-resistant resiliency. This is Part I of a three-part series.

    Defensible Space: My Wildfire-Appropriate Retrofit Journey – Part I

    As the Western U.S. continues with massive wind-driven, high-intensity wildfires that often turn deadly, Naomi Pitcairn recommends retrofitting homes on the Wildland Urban Interface for fire-resistant resiliency. This is Part I of a three-part series.

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  • The prefab Active House B10 prototype in Stuttgart can be built in a day, but its implications will be felt for years. Taking the passive house net zero concept one step further, this fully recyclable tiny house actively generates enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics.

    German Prefab House Generates Twice its Own Energy

    The prefab Active House B10 prototype in Stuttgart can be built in a day, but its implications will be felt for years. Taking the passive house net zero concept one step further, this fully recyclable tiny house actively generates enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics.

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  • Buckminster Fuller, architect, engineer, geometrician, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, put forth an original form of sustainable living for humanity. He posited that systems thinking helps us understand our connectedness and dependence on our local biome. Watch the 1974 film "The World of R. Buckminster Fuller."

    Buckminster Fuller’s World of Sustainable Design

    Buckminster Fuller, architect, engineer, geometrician, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, put forth an original form of sustainable living for humanity. He posited that systems thinking helps us understand our connectedness and dependence on our local biome. Watch the 1974 film "The World of R. Buckminster Fuller."

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  • In 2012, Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz quit their jobs for a time to build a West Virginia mountain hideaway cabin, a tiny summer house made with recycled windows. This is the result.

    Small Architecture: On Glass Houses Built Over Stone

    In 2012, Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz quit their jobs for a time to build a West Virginia mountain hideaway cabin, a tiny summer house made with recycled windows. This is the result.

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  • Tall buildings tend to use massive amounts of energy with big carbon footprints. One new Viennese project featured in Passive House Plus shows that high rise doesn’t have to mean high environmental impact.

    Austria: Energy-Efficient Office Tower Rises Over the Danube

    Tall buildings tend to use massive amounts of energy with big carbon footprints. One new Viennese project featured in Passive House Plus shows that high rise doesn’t have to mean high environmental impact.

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  • Earth Sheltered, energy-efficient houses are bright, airy, dry and quiet. Though popular now among advocates of passive solar and sustainable architecture, Earth Sheltering has been around for nearly as long as humans have constructed their homes.

    Earth Sheltered Homes: Energy-Efficient, Living With the Land

    Earth Sheltered, energy-efficient houses are bright, airy, dry and quiet. Though popular now among advocates of passive solar and sustainable architecture, Earth Sheltering has been around for nearly as long as humans have constructed their homes.

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