Slow Home: Annie House from Bercy Chen Studio

"Suburban sprawl is like fast food; cheap and easy but also unsatisfying and boring." says the intro Slow Home, which says "takes its name from the slow food movement which arose as a reaction to the processed food industry. In the same ways that slow food helps people learn how to become more familiar and involved with the food they eat, Slow Home provides design focused information to empower individuals to step beyond the too fast world of cookie cutter housing. " The ten steps to better housing (listed below the fold) are an excellent guide to sustainable living. The Folio includes a lovely collection of houses that meet founder John Brown's criteria, all with good pictures and documentation. The Annie House in Austin, Texas by Bercy Chen Studio is a good example.

From Brown's description of the the house:

The house is located in South Austin on a small infill lot. It was built for two families and therefore is split into two living areas. The house consists of two pavilions connected by a glass hallway.

The house is a certified city of Austin green building project and scored 3 stars out of the highest possible 5 star rating. Sustainable principles of design are incorporated throughout.

The house is constructed of a modular steel frame. The frame is infilled with prefab thermasteel panels to minimize construction on site waste. The structural frame is exposed, showing the construction process and articulating the house’s facades. The repetitive modular method as well as the prefabrication allows for greater efficiency during construction. The 2nd floor in one of the pavilions is a viereendeel truss which acts like a bridge and minimizes the number of vertical structural supports in the 1st floor.

Annie House at ::Slow Home

Ten Steps:

1. GO INDEPENDENT

Avoid homes by big developers and large production builders. They are designed for profit not people. Work with independent designers and building contractors instead.

2. GO LOCAL

Avoid home finishing products from big box retailers. The standardized solutions they provide cannot fit the unique conditions of your home. Use local retailers, craftspeople, and manufacturers to get a locally appropriate response and support your community.

3. GO GREEN

Stop the conversion of nature into sprawl. Don’t buy in a new suburb. The environmental cost can no longer be justified. Re-invest in existing communities and use sustainable materials and technologies to reduce your environmental footprint.

4. GO NEAR

Reduce your commute. Driving is a waste of time and the new roads and services required to support low density development is a big contributor to climate change. Live close to where you work and play.

5. GO SMALL

Avoid the real estate game of bigger is always better. A properly designed smaller home can feel larger AND work better than a poorly designed big one. Spend your money on quality instead of quantity.

6. GO OPEN

Stop living in houses filled with little rooms. They are dark, inefficient, and don’t fit the complexity of our daily lives. Live in a flexible and adaptive open plan living space with great light and a connection to outdoors.

7. GO SIMPLE

Don’t buy a home that has space you won’t use and things you don’t need. Good design can reduce the clutter and confusion in your life. Create a home that fits the way you really want to live.

8. GO MODERN

Avoid fake materials and the re-creation of false historical styles. They are like advertising images and have little real depth. Create a home in which character comes from the quality of space, natural light and the careful use of good, sustainable materials.

9. GO HEALTHY

Avoid living in a public health concern. Houses built with cheap materials off gas noxious chemicals. Suburbs promote obesity because driving is the only option. Use natural, healthy home materials and building techniques. Live where you can walk to shop, school and work.

10. GO FOR IT

Stop procrastinating. The most important, and difficult, step in the slow home process is the first one that you take. Get informed and then get involved with your home. Every change, no matter how sma