Image Credit: Sears. Why don't we show more houses that look like this?
I have never considered the Record Houses at Architectural Record to be the most cutting edge stuff around, but the editors evidently get a lot of flak for their choices. They note that "not everyone is swept away by their sex appeal." It is an issue that I have had to deal with many times, as readers complain that I ignore more traditional green houses in favour of the more edgy. The Record editors respond:
Over the years we have been called out on the houses we publish and the preponderance of high-maintenance material choices and big budgets. We have been taken to task about context and a lack of conformity.....We have been asked how occupants perform such pedestrian duties as putting away groceries, making the bed, and cleaning..... We have been called overindulgent. And we have been lambasted, again and again and again, for acknowledging houses with handrail-less stairs. In a nutshell, some readers tell us, the projects we highlight are too expensive, too different, too impractical -- too dangerous!
Ah, those handrail-less stairs! Been there, done that. The editors also admit that they do like code compliance and value functionality, but that the purpose of their work was to challenge:
The houses here are ones that set forth a vision -- not ones that illustrate tried and tested design and construction methods that have resolved yesterday's challenges and refined last decade's ideas.
I have always believed that my job is to challenge as well; to make the point that good green architecture has to be gorgeous too. And I happen to like sexy and dangerous.
Then, of course, is my recent obsession with community vs architecture, with multifamily vs single family, where I rarely show anything in the country anymore because of the carbon footprint of getting there. Throw in an economic crisis and it is getting hard to find any houses on TreeHugger anymore.
Send Us Your Stuff
I think it is time to revisit this. It's time to also change from having the same stuff whip from design site to design site. I would like TreeHugger to show the best of green design and green building, whether it is sexy, dangerous, or whatever. I invite architects, designers and anyone interested in green design to submit ideas through our Design and Architecture Tips.
And not just houses; send in your green tips, materials, interiors, standing desks, small spaces, questions, whatever you think will interest our readers. I cannot promise that I will publish everything, but I do promise to be more broad-minded and open to things that are not so sexy or dangerous. Well....I will try.