The (mostly) top ten green architecture posts of 2014

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These Top Ten posts are based on the numbers of page views by readers, and as an editor I often don't understand what makes one post popular and another not. As a writer I find it frustrating that the posts that I lovingly crafted scrape along and don't get noticed. As an architect I find that my tastes are often very different from our audiences. In this category it gets very personal.

10. In praise of the Dumb Home

© Harrison Architects build a dumb house and forget the furnace.

OK, I am cheating here a bit, this was really about number 14 of the year, but it is my favorite post and I'm editor so I get to do it. Because I think it is a really important issue, to look at what our so-called wired and smart homes are supposed to be doing. Because in a properly designed and built house, a smart thermostat like the Nest is going to be bored stupid. More in TreeHugger

9. And the International Highrise Award for 2014 goes to the Bosco Verticale

© Paolo Rosselli

It's the building that everyone has been talking about; four years ago some critics called it "the most exciting new tower in the world." I have some real doubts, and commenters call me negative and always a downer. I am not; there are real questions whether this can be " model for the development of densely populated urban areas in other European countries" More in TreeHugger

8. This house will generate more energy than it takes to build it, operate it, and charge the car in the garage

© Bruce Damonte via Designboom

This is the first house built according to a really tough new energy standard, where the designers have to account for all of the embodied energy in the house and pay it back over its lifetime. Here is the first post and here is the finished product.

7. More on why Japanese houses are so weird: They are almost worthless soon after they are built

When I first asked Why are Japanese houses so weird? a lot of readers objected to the title and thought I was being a xenophobic American, when I am neither. Then the Guardian looked more closely at the same issue and found that they think about architecture and housing very differently in Japan. More in TreeHugger

6. What is a smart home anyway?

Temagami Nativeweb/CC BY 2.0

At a lecture about smart homes, three architects all come up and talk about how dumb homes are better. Two of them look at the same drawing of a native wigwam and call that the smartest home of all. More in TreeHugger

5. Compact Karst House looks like the locals from the outside, totally modern inside

© Janez Marolt

A nice project that works hard to fit into its local context, with a great modern interior and an interesting alternating tread stair that's a bookcase from the other side! More in TreeHugger

4. This prefab sauna is absolutely extraordinary on so many levels.

© Partisans

Absolutely my favorite project of the year, combining prefabrication, digital manufacturing, lovely materials and amazing design, all magnificently photographed. I can't say enough about it. Some readers complained that about the probable cost (zillions per square foot for sure) but we can still admire beauty and talent. This young firm is going to go far. More in TreeHugger.

3. What would our homes look like if designed around how we use them?

© J. Arnold

A really interesting look at what spaces people actually use in a house, based on a study of 32 families, who evidently spend most of their time stuffing their faces or watching television. More in TreeHugger

2. Skinny micro-housing designs lets you live between buildings

© Mateusz Mastalski and Ole Robin Storjohann

Really, you never know why a post goes viral. This one has 32 comments complaining that "It's cute, it's trendy, it's hip, and it's utterly ridiculous." But it is an interesting concept. More in TreeHugger

1. 70-year old shack turned into surreal half-invisible solar-powered 'Lucid Stead'

© Steven King, Phillip K Smith, III, courtesy of royale projects : contemporary art

Clearly I have to broaden my horizons. As an architect who really hates mirrored glass, I took a pass on writing about this project. Mike picked it up and it was the most popular green architecture post of the year. More in TreeHugger

Tags: Green Building

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