Archive for April, 2009

Ugly AND Unfulfilling – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

April 16, 2009
Architect Kyu Sung Woo designed the three modernist metal and wood houses which allowed his family to live together in Vermont. © Tim Hursley/The Arkansas Office

Architect Kyu Sung Woo designed the three modernist metal and wood houses which allowed his family to live together in Vermont. © Tim Hursley/The Arkansas Office

I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/) called “An extended family’s modernist, off-the-grid retreat”. They make a big deal about how “Architect Kyu Sung Woo fulfilled a decades-old promise to create a place for his family to live together when he completed a compound of three homes in Vermont last summer. It blends architectural traditions of New England and Korea.”

What can I say but not very impressive. Stacked double-wide mobile home comes to mind. As you can see in this blog, I have some previous postings on some truly unique solutions such as the houses created by Living Homes (although I prefer earth sheltered homes as the ultimate design challenge). This home has some solar and a generator. No geothermal, no wind-nada. Big deal. Oh and did I mention that all the living modules are all only 15 feet wide so they get maximum exposure on the North side for maximum energy loss?

“In 2003, Kyu Sung Woo bought 250 acres of virgin forest near Putney, a rural town of 2,600 in Vermont.” So this guy wipes out all the virgin timber and erects a modern eyesore in the middle of a pristine wilderness. A shelter that was one with nature would have been more appropriate and less an insult (think about American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer home, Taliesin, near Spring Green, Wisconsin). Perhaps a home that was integrated into the countryside like an underground house or earth bermed shelter nestled into the virgin forest would have been fitting. Now that would have been an impressive feat. This is neither impressive nor unique. Since the structures are only 15 feet wide they would have been perfectly suited for a much more impressive endeavor. Being underground or earth bermed would have made this house an energy efficient architectural marvel. There is nothing really new or unique about this structure. This thing can be tossed in with all the rest of the average modernist house designs.

Come on Wall Street Journal, I expect better from you… slow news day? Don’t worry, just kidding, I love the giant wine tunnel article- “A Family’s Adventures Underground -The Palmazes dreamed of a 100,000-square-foot wine cave. The neighbors weren’t happy.”

(see: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123085057130947469-search.html?KEYWORDS=wine+cave&COLLECTION=wsjie/6month).

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Same old poop, different day…

April 7, 2009

 

 

stinky-coal-and-the-earth

 

If you have been watching any public television at all over the last several months you’d think that the oil companies are single-handedly saving the world.  Exxon, BP, Chevron and probably others, have their own little infomercials at the beginning of many PBS programs.  They claim to the working on all sorts of new alternative energy programs and conservation programs.  They also claim to be concerned about global warming and claim to be doing something about it. 

Today, however, I read in the New York Times that these ads (about solar, wind, etc) are mostly lip service.  All the big oil guys are still spending most of their money on the old stinky fossil fuels that will increase global warming, raise ocean levels and basically destroy the planet.  Thanks guys!  I’m so happy you’re doing your part to insure that we have an interesting future, to say the least.

In addition, the article states that big oil companies are just not ready to invest in these new technologies.  But it did say that the big oil companies will invest much more into these new technologies (probably, maybe) in the next 10 years.  It will be too little too late.  Again, we’re setting a great example for India and China (and we’ll be the first ones to complain about it). 

To read the entire New York Times article see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/business/energy-environment/08greenoil.html?hp

 

 

JCE