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1180 Fourth Street — Gateway to Mission Bay South, SF

By   /  September 17, 2013  /  Projects  /  No Comments

1180 Fourth Street, San Francisco

1180 Fourth Street marks the corner of 4th and Channel Streets as a gateway to San Francisco’s newest neighborhood, Mission Bay South. This setting carries civic obligations unusual for an affordable housing project; it demands a welcoming, well-made and richly articulated building to set the standard for development to follow on the surrounding blocks. As […]

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Ann’s Kitchen Remodel

By   /  February 19, 2013  /  Projects  /  No Comments

I’m all for longevity of finishes and not junking serviceable things before they’re shot, but I think 27 years is long enough to put up with ugly, cracked, avocado tile with hideous dark (and eroded) grout seams PLUS an equally horrid avocado sink. So now they’re gone. Hurray! Replaced by a white farmhouse sink (Villeroy […]

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Managing expectations: the 22½ rule

By   /  January 22, 2013  /  Projects  /  No Comments

So, you think you’re going to beat the odds. You think you’re going to build that house or add that bedroom or remodel that kitchen for less than everyone else, because you’re smart, you’ve planned carefully, you got good advice, you were disciplined in choosing all that stuff you have to choose, all those fixtures […]

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A Better Way of Building

By   /  December 21, 2012  /  Projects  /  2 Comments

For high-performance home enthusiasts, Green Home Builder magazine’s holiday issue includes “A Better Way of Building” (page 42) an article in which I offer some observations about what high-performance project teams can do to pave the way to more effective collaboration and improved project outcomes. Also see page 46 for a story on the ABC […]

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“The Greenest Modern Home in the World”

By   /  December 3, 2012  /  Projects  /  No Comments

When I was recently in Victoria, Canada, I had the pleasure of touring Ann and Gord Baird’s EcoSense home just outside of town. I was deeply impressed, as was Jason McLennan of the Living Building Challenge (and author of this blog’s title quote). Here are two lovely people who built their dream home — not […]

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ZNE Home Retrofit in Los Angeles

By   /  November 13, 2012  /  Projects  /  No Comments

The Green Idea House is one family’s project to affordably retrofit their house into a net zero energy, zero carbon case study. Says homeowner Robert Fortunato, “The building has surpassed all our net zero energy, zero carbon goals, is a joy to be in and won the 2012 Green Leadership Award for Los Angeles County, […]

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a roll in the hay — a modern straw bale home

By   /  November 3, 2012  /  Projects  /  No Comments

Straw bale buildings were first tried on the American plains 130 years ago, and have now spread all over the globe. Here’s a recent example from Dwell Magazine, featuring a Santa Cruz house by two of the best architects anywhere, David Arkin and Anni Tilt.

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A Shipping Container House

By   /  November 3, 2012  /  Projects  /  No Comments

Here’s a great example of “urban natural building” — I did the structural engineering for Leger Wanaselja Architects a few years ago to turn several retired shipping containers into a lovely home above the San Francisco Bay. This idea has legs!, and there are all sorts of similar buildings all over the world, upcycling a […]

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3D Print Your Next House?

By   /  October 13, 2012  /  Projects  /  No Comments

An old friend recently sent me this video about a 3D printer-generated house. How’s that for intriguing?! The idea was presented at a TEDx event in Ojai, by Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor from the University of Southern California. “Contour crafting,” he says, is basically a scaling up of 3D printing. He proposes this shelter solution […]

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Model Green House in Los Angeles

By   /  October 8, 2012  /  Projects  /  No Comments

a quick video tour from Ron Jones and GreenBuilder magazine: REEL Green Videos – GreenBuilder

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