The Most Innovative Houses of 2011

© Cook + Fox

We have not shown a lot of green houses on TreeHugger this year. Most of them cost a lot of money and are out in the exurbs and with the economy the way it is, I just was not in the mood to promote them; sometimes I wasn't even in the mood to look at them. We have been preoccupied with cities, with urbanity, with where one lives rather than what one lives in having priority.

However, Looking at Jetson Green, I realize that I was wrong; there was a lot going on that wasn't monster green houses in the suburbs. Preston has done a series of roundups of his best projects of the year, and many are urban, small and even passivhaus that I missed somehow. Of his 16 Leading LEED Platinum Projects of 2011 I like Cook + Fox's Live Work home the best; it is small, urban infill, only 1400 square feet for both living and working, and very modern. Big city star architects don't often do little houses in the rust belt; this is the same firm that did the giant green One Bryant Place Bank of America Tower. Preston also shows multifamily projects and even an affordable Ray Kappe by Living Homes. See them all here.

© Della Valle Bernheimer and Architecture Research Office

I did think that I was on top of the Passivhaus scene, having covered the R House and Terrahaus, but missed a few that Preston covers in his 7 Pioneer Passivhaus Projects of 2011. Some are too fugly to live, but missing The First Passive House in New York was a mistake.

© Nick Edwards

We have covered most of Preston's 15 Terrific Tiny House Projects of 2011, although some, like the the Taylor Smythe cabin on Lake Simcoe, were back in 2005. But even this, a category where I thought TreeHugger put up a good showing (although Kent Griswold of the Tiny House Blog and Alex Johnson of Shedworking own this category) Preston finds some gems I missed.

Enough. Back in March I confessed to a case of prefab ennui; in 2012 you are going to see it here first.

Tags: Living With Less | passive house

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