Dec 302013


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Coordinates: 50.713333°N 2.465278°W

Dorset poundbury 01.jpg
Brownsword Hall in Poundbury, designed by architect John Simpson and based on earlier traditional designs, particularly the one in Tetbury

Poundbury is located in Dorset


 Poundbury shown within Dorset

OS grid reference SY671549
District West Dorset
Shire county Dorset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DT1
Dialling code 01305
Police Dorset
Fire Dorset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament West Dorset
List of places

Poundbury is an experimental new town or urban extension on the outskirts of Dorchester in the county of Dorset, England.

The development is built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. It is built according to the principles of Prince Charles, who is known for holding strong views challenging the post-war trends in town planning that were suburban in character.

 Posted by at 9:57 pm
Jan 102013


M2 Cabin

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Portland HOMB arrives at site



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 Posted by at 7:39 am
Jan 102013


January 3, 2013

I recently heard from owner-builder Marvin McConoughey of Corvalis, Oregon, who with his wife built their own house in the 1980s. I was impressed by their ambition (the house is about 2,500 sf), and by their dedication (it took six years). My wife and I spent three years building our own house—which I thought was seriously pushing the limits of both our sanity and our conjugal well-being.

Oh, and the McConoughey house is circular in plan! What is it about round houses that fascinates people? Inigo Jones designed several octagonal houses (although as far as we know he did not build any) and Jefferson built a famous octagonal house at Poplar Forest. McKim Mead & White designed a shingled round house in Jamestown, R.I. One version of Bucky Fuller’s Dymaxion House was hexagonal, another was circular, as were the D-I-Y yurts and dome houses of the 1960s. Today, circular houses are making a small comeback.

The power of the circle is apparent in a perfectly round space, as architects since Palladio have known. The best round buildings—the Pantheon, the British Museum Reading Room, the Guggenheim Museum—contain such spaces. The challenge of designing a circular house is that once the circle is subdivided into rooms it loses its special quality, and one ends up with awkward spaces that are either pie-shaped or segments of a circle. Wright understood that, which is why he never tried to squeeze a house into a circle, although he used circular shapes (see the Sol Friedman house, two intersecting circles, one subdivided, the other open).


Friedman House, Pleasantville, NY (1948)

Friedman House, Pleasantville, NY (1948)

In 1967, I, too, had a go. Fresh out of school I designed a circular (20-foot diameter) summer cottage for my parents in Vermont. The solution was prompted by a nearby silo; I planned to use similar curved concrete silo blocks to build the walls. In fact, the two-storey house resembled a silo—or a lighthouse. The lower floor contained the dining area, kitchen, and bathroom, and the upper floor was one big room, with 360-degree views. I never quite figured out the roof—flat or peaked? By then I had realized that since my mother had had polio as a child, a house with a stair was a big mistake. Reluctantly I gave up on the silo and designed a house on one level. It had the shape of a sensible shoebox, and served my parents well for many years.

Ground Floor ……………………..First Floor

 Posted by at 7:32 am
Jan 092013

Green Building Megatrends for 2013 From Jerry Yudelson

Jerry Yudelson/Promo image

Nate Berg called Jerry Yudelson the “godfather of green building” in in Wired. Now Jerry has listed the top ten megatrends in Green building for 2013 in Sustainable Industries. It’s an interesting and very positive list; I am not sure I agree with all of them, and notwithstanding the risk of ending up with the head of a horse in my bed, they are worth looking at. Read them all at the source; here are the ones I have comments about.

1. Green building in North America will rebound strongly in 2013, using LEED project registrations as a proxy for this growth.

The USGBC is coming off a very tough year, with the LEED program under serious attack at State and Federal governments, thanks to pressure from the lumber and plastics industry. I hope that Jerry is right, but even though we just avoided the worst of a fiscal cliff, we are still seeing pressure on spending. I worry that we will see more buildings “designed to LEED” but that are not certified because of costs. There are also so many other trends that are going to dampen the demand for more commercial buildings; I think a rebound call is overly optimistic. This is my response to his megatrend 9, Local and state governments will step up their mandates for green buildings for both themselves and the private sector– I don’t think it will happen under these circumstances.

2. The focus of the green building industry will continue to switch from new building design and construction to greening existing buildings.

Agreed; there is a continuing trend to urban development, and that favours renovation over new building. The creative classes like old buildings, and they are the businesses that are expanding.

4. Awareness of the coming crisis in fresh water supply, both globally and in the U.S., will increase, leading building designers, owners and managers to take further steps to reduce water consumption in buildings by using more conserving fixtures, rainwater recovery systems and innovative onsite water technologies.

I’m not convinced that there is so much awareness, or that the changes in fixtures and recovery systems are making that much of a difference. We need seriously radical change here, and what we are getting is incremental. Composting toilets anyone?

6. Zero-net-energy buildings will become increasingly commonplace.

Well, I hope they are better than this one.

7. Performance disclosure will be the fastest emerging trend.

Yes! This is key and it is happening, legislated in New York City and I hope following everywhere.

8 Transparency and “Red List” chemicals will become a subject of contention

That is putting it mildly, this is going to be the big issue of the next few years. The chemical and plastics industry are putting all of their resources into fighting this and they make the NRA look like a bake sale.

10 Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow.

Perhaps. But I wish there would be more concentration on reducing demand through use of insulation and better design than increasing supply through green gizmos on the roof.

Tags: Green Building | Solar Power

 Posted by at 6:31 am