Frank Harmon's Prairie Ridge Ecostation is a simple, screened classroom overlooking a nature reserve, but it also teaches lessons about sustainability, siting, orentation, forms, materials and construction methods. "One of my missions" says Harmon, "is to get people out of their air-conditioned cocoons". Dimensions were chosen to reduced waste- the roof required no cutting at all. Local renewable southern pine is used, deep, overhangs are designed to control the sun, and care was taken to disturb as little of the ground as possible.
From the article:
Screened in on three sides, the classroom catches southwesterly breezes all year. Its deep south-facing overhang maximizes sun exposure in winter and shade in summer.
Nearly everything about this rustic, unpretentious building appears in full view—joints, lumber members, and for the bathroom, a cistern with a pipe from the roof gutter—all forming part of the overall composition. Soon, photovoltaic panels, set in a field, will take Prairie Ridge off the grid. ::Architectural Record