Reintroducing the 4 and 6 unit apartment building and placing them in a new neighborhood is a great concept for building housing with the character of lovely turn of the century streetcar neighborhoods with the realities of the modern mega-financing world.
This is a great model to create vibrant, community fostering, walkable places instead of soulless apartment buildings. Thoughtful design goes a really long way.
Attached housing is a really smart way to increase density and provide affordable, small housing in walkable neighborhoods, but it is illegal in most places. Duplexes don’t have to be ugly! This is a gallery of lovely examples where attached housing not only fit well into an existing neighborhood, but is also really attractive. Help normalize and re-legalize missing middle housing by adding your pictures to and sharing galleries like these!
Put a Friendly Face on Gentle Density
In case you missed it, we can now create new buildings that are so efficient that they can create most of the power they need onsite and it can be done at a very small or even no premium to standard buildings.
There are a few big challenges to widespread adoption:
1. We need to take Bold action.
2. Everyone involved needs to buy into the idea (Owners, builders, designers)
3. We need Simple, elegant, low cost tools to use to guide the infinite possibilities of a building design in the right direction. The Zero code is a straightforward set of code style rules that gets a new building on the path to zero-net-carbon without having to pay for a plaque.
Categories: Architecture, Design, Energy Efficiency, Technology
Tags: architecture, Easy, Energy, Green, Net Zero, Passive solar building design, Resilience, Technology, Zero Code
I can’t say enough about this book. When I first read A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander it completely changed my outlook about what the built environment should strive for. The introductory book The Timeless Way of Building highlights the fact that humans are emotional creatures and that architecture should recognize this and be built to enhance the lives of the people that inhabit the places created. “A Pattern Language” takes that fuzzy concept of happiness, comfort and wholeness and details how to achieve it in the built environment with a scope that no book before or since has replicated. This books should be required reading for every architect, urban planner, engineer, and social activist.
Just a few blocks from Crozet’s downtown district is a little one acre parcel of land that was once the home to part of a much larger apple orchard. A few of the old apple trees remain and a tenacious grove of bamboo has colonized the stream bank. Today this plot is completely surrounded by houses, has public water, sewer and electricity, and is an easy walk from coffee shops, post office, a new Library, restaurants, stores and loads of small town charm.
The concept for this one acre parcel just north of the intersection of Jarman’s Gap Rd and Orchard Dr (two lots) in Crozet is to build two houses that have attached accessory units that even though they are attached, feel like their own completely separate houses. This is done by clever house and window placement, utilizing the existing topography as an advantage. The houses are designed to be net-zero ready, using such
Entrance from Orchard Dr
little energy that a few solar panels on the roof or mounted remotely can power them while providing superior indoor air quality and comfort for the residents. The houses are placed on the site to capture their outdoor spaces, making them comfortable and loved. The grounds will be planted with native plants as well as non-invasive food producing orchard trees. The existing street will be lined with shade trees and rain gardens. The houses are also designed to fit in with the existing neighborhood’s one and two story ranches in scale, color and texture.
See the full designs here and contact me if you would like to buy one or design something like this for somewhere else!
Categories: Architecture, Design, Tiny Housing
Tags: Affordable housing, architecture, Charlottesville Virginia, Conservation, craftsmanship, Crozet, detail, greenhouse, low impact, Neighborhood
Check out the latest and greatest plans for the buildings of Ecovillage Charlottesville designed in collaboration with Øesch Environmental Design featuring compact, energy efficient living spaces in the form of flats and townhouses with a large indoor/outdoor shared kitchen and dining area spaces on the rooftop and the utmost attention to livability, natural light, privacy, energy efficiency, and functionality.
See the latest designs here:
Categories: Announcements, Architecture, Communities, Design
Tags: 480 Rio Rd, architecture, community, Ecovillage, Energy, environment, Passive solar building design, Sustainability
Earth Sheltered Greenhouses use the fact that the earth is a stable temperature all year round to greatly extend the growing season. These were known to native people as walipini or “place of warmth”
There are so many different types of greenhouses and clever adaptations that books upon books have been written on the subject. Has anyone seen really clever designs in action?
Two great classes are coming up in the charlottesville area, both are donation funded and located at the Ivy Creek natural area. The first is an introduction to Underground Housing on Sunday, April 20, 2014 from 11am – 7pm. If you’d like to get a little background before you go, look up Malcolm Wells in google!
The second is an introduction on shaping the landscape to build soil, improve fertility, and make food for yourself! Sunday, May 4, 2014 from 11am – 7pm in the Ivy Creek Natural Area Educational Building. If you’d like to get a little background before you go, look up Permaculture Earthworks in google!
Categories: Announcements, Architecture, Design, Gardening, Resilience
Tags: architecture, Gardening, greenhouse, low impact, Passive solar building design, Permaculture, Resilience, Swales, Underground Housing
The latest version of the Ecovillage Charlottesville site plan is finally here! The project has picked up a ton of traction lately, so keep checking www.facebook.com/EcovillageCharlottesville for status updates.
Here are some renderings for one idea of what could be built… House designs inspired by http://www.rosschapin.com/ and http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/
If you feel like drawing your own idea for what the Ecovillage could look like, here are some 8.5×11 printable sketches that make it easy for the ideas to flow onto paper. Please share your ideas!