GRAHAM BLACK AND BRAD KHOURI have written a comprehensive article about designing residential developments in Seattle.
Town homes don’t have to be ugly and dampen the human spirit. But so many of them are eyesores that town homes have become a lighting rod in the local debate over housing. They’ve been blamed for the decline of community and called a threat to single-family neighborhoods. Their rapid proliferation has even prompted recent City Council-led community forums.
Town homes aren’t the problem. A critical part of the housing stock, they allow the city to create more urban density, reduce our carbon footprint and provide an affordable housing option for local families.
Bad design and laziness are the real problem. Badly designed, shoddily built, cookie-cutter town homes that don’t fit or build the character of our city’s neighborhoods isolate residents from one another and discourage open space. Bad design is the result of a formula-driven approach, where generic plans are slapped onto every lot, regardless of site or neighborhood.
Seattle has an opportunity to shape neighborhoods for the future. The city needs to take charge of its permitting and design process, eliminate the loopholes that allow some builders to avoid design review and give an incentive for opting into that process. Design review, when done right, can ensure projects that make the city a more interesting place.
Read more @ the SOURCE: Seattlepi.com – Good design requires innovation.
The Heinz Endowments has given $2 million to Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture to endow a directorship and diversify students in urban design.
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – CMU gets $2 million gift for architecture school –
The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), in collaboration with the Cities Programme of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), announces the winner of the third international competition for the James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City. The jury awarded the prize to Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray, the 2008-2009 Stirling Lecturers for their proposal entitled CAOCHANGDI Urban Rural Conundrums: Off Center People’s Space in the Early 21st-Century Republic of China – A Model for the Momentous Project of the New Socialist Village
SOURCE: canadianarchitect.com – Canadian Architect .
Other companies are trying to save on gas by buying hybrids. Rana Creek Habitat Restoration, a Carmel Valley, Calif., landscape-architecture and ecological-design firm with 32 employees, traded in four of its 10-auto fleet for various hybrids. They altogether cost about $130,000, but each uses only about $25 a week in fuel, compared with $100 for the traditional autos — an annual savings of about $3,900 per hybrid.
SOURCE: Read more @ the Wall Street Journal – Tackling the Energy Monster
The green build wave is rising, and right now general contractors have the opportunity to ride its crest. It is fast becoming expected that professionals in the building trades are ready, willing and able to work green — and that means understanding the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
Contractor’s LEEDing Role
In the chain of events that leads up to LEED certification, general contractors have a special “watchdog” role. It is the general contractor’s responsibility to keep accurate records on all materials used that are required to meet LEED standards. Consequently, it is imperative that not only the general contractor but also sub-contractors understand LEED certification, its requirements and its growing importance in winning bids.
Once the SSI guidelines are published in spring 2009, general contractors, landscape architects, developers, builders, and maintenance crews who are prepared to take advantage of them stand to see interest in obtaining their services rising.
Read more @ the SOURCE: Texas Contractor – Going Green From The Ground Up – 6/16/2008 Author of the SOURCE article is Jo Ann Jarreau call (713) 682–5299