Residential Architect's Half-Bridge House

October 29, 2010 · Posted in Architects, Modern Construction, Modern Design · Comment 

Form follows function. Right. But what inspires a building whose functions include simulated flight? Architect Warren Schwartz credits a sunrise visit to the rim of the Grand Canyon—and a later dream about the experience—as the seed for the Berkshire mountains summer house he shares with his wife, violinist Sheila Fiekowsky. Schwartz, who is in the habit of doodling while his wife fiddles, worked out the basic concept during Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts.

‘Nough said.  Read the whole article at Residential Architect’s website, and check out Mr. Schwartz’s website for more fantastic pictures.

Frank Gehry on the Walt Disney Concert Hall

We’ve all seen it a million times, but I just can’t get enough of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Passive House Windows Part II

October 13, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

I have some corrections to make about yesterday’s post.  Apparently, there are two ways to calculate the u-factor, and the values that I was looking at yesterday for AMSCO windows were calculated the easy way.  The U-factor in the graphs(taken from Energy Star’s website) above is also calculated using that method.  SO… some of the AMSCO windows would qualify to be Energy Star rated, but would not qualify for Passive House standards.  The U-value calculated using Btu’s has to be around .15, or so, to qualify for Passive Housing.  I did find two companies, and I’m sure there are more, that have windows that do qualify for Passive House standards: Serious Windows and Thermotech.  This is all a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo for most of us, tomorrow I promise to have pics of some pretty architecture.  But if you’re looking for more info check out this and this.

Passive House Windows

October 12, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

Recently, I’ve been wondering how hard it is to build a house that qualifies for Passive House standards.  I’m only looking at windows today, but the goal u-value is < .8.  So I looked at a local manufacturer of window’s website and that doesn’t seem too unreasonable.  In fact, AMSCO windows didn’t have one window above .5 (the lower the u-value the better).  I’ll have to keep checking the standards out (hopefully, I’m understanding all of the numbers right), but I’m encouraged that the Passive House standard might be possible to attain.  For a local Passive House here in SLC check out OurPassiveHouse.org.

Structural Insulated Panels Association

October 6, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

Here’s an introductory video to the concept of structural insulated panels from the Structural Insulated Panel Association (awesome music again).  Though I am not sure about costs, I am a huge fan of SIPs.

Encloture Glass Fences

October 5, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction, Modern Design · Comment 

I hate it when I build a pool with an amazing view of the Mediterranean and a normal railing obstructs the view.  The solution to my woes is the Encloture system. If you can get over the fear of kids pushing through the glass, I think this is one of the most amazing “modern” products out there.  It’s beautiful, its lines are very clean and it’s minimalist to the core.  Now the only problem is finding a worthy application.

Ballard Cut House of Prentiss Architects

October 4, 2010 · Posted in Architects, Modern Construction, Modern Design · Comment 

Happy Monday to everyone- I’d like to introduce you to the beautiful Ballard Cut House of Prentiss Architects.  It’s almost daily that I snoop around on architects’ websites to see projects that are out there, and about a week ago I started drooling over this house.  Located in Ballard, Seattle, Washington; it was designed for clients that had been living on a boat “for years.”  Prentiss tells me the site had very rigid regulations, and inexpensive finishing were used to keep the project economical.  I’m not sure how much I believe that last part, but whatever the program was it worked.  I like the house more and more every time I look at it.  Many thanks to Prentiss for being so nice to share pics and info.

Incandescent, Halogen, Compact Fluorescent and LED LIght Bulbs

September 29, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

Pictured is an LED light from SuperbrightLEDs.com.  Comparing incandescent bulbs with halogen bulbs, LED bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs can be a run around, but here’s some general stats that might help.

LED light bulbs can run up to 30,000 hours, use around 10 watts and can cost $40 or more.

Halogen light bulbs can run about 1,000 hours, use 28 watts and cost about $4.

Incandescent bulbs run about 1,500 hours, use 57 watts and cost about $1.

Compact fluorescent bulbs run about 8,000 hours, use 13 watts and cost about $5.

Of course, there are variables out there that can change some of those numbers, but I tried to compare apples to apples as best I could.  There are other issues too, such as light color, that can affect decision making.

Solar Power

September 28, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

“…on a bright, sunny day, the sun’s rays give off approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of the planet’s surface. If we could collect all of that energy, we could easily power our homes and offices for free.”   This quote is taken from HowStuffWorks.com, but where to start?  A simple Google search brings up several retailers, and they have tons of info on their websites.  Also, you can search for local, trusted contractors that would know your specific solar climate.  Here’s a list of a few online retailers if you need a jumpstart:

http://www.wholesalesolar.com/

http://www.affordable-solar.com/

http://www.mrsolar.com/

http://www.hardysolar.com/

http://www.cisolarsolutions.com/Home.aspx

Energy Star Products

September 27, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

Say you’ve got this hankering to buy a new washer, but you’re not quite sure where to start.  Head on over to the Energy Star website and look at the sidebar on the right.  It’s a little hidden, but you can click on the HTML link of the “Qualified Clothes Washers” category and you’re on your way.  The table that it pulls up lists different washers by brand and gives a lot of details about exactly how efficient they are, annual water use, volume, etc.  The same tactics can be used for all sorts of different products from refrigerators to ceiling fans.

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