31 May 2011

Alexey Titarenko

Alexey Titarenko
Some of his works are really haunting. The time lapse is just fast enough to register moving people, but slow enough that they appear as ghosts, captured in perhaps a momentary hang in their movement through spaces. Meanwhile, the surrounding buildings are fixed monuments, indifferent to our presence.

30 May 2011

Michelle Hagewood

Michelle Hagewood
I love these images. They are detailed and nuanced. They are also fun, made up of the recognizable pieces of our modern built environment. They work at once as a purely formal experiment and as comment.

29 May 2011

Heaven and Hell

Watching commercial television in a community that is probably the most representative of America, I am struck by the number of advertisements for oil, coal, and natural gas. Even on the news programs, there is almost no discussion of viable renewable alternatives, and little discussion of climate change. Advertisement works, otherwise corporations wouldn't engage in it. This is what substitutes for education in this culture, a kind of saturation bombing of thought. Meanwhile there is no alternate voice. This distorts the issue. Instead of rational planning, it comes down to a matter of opinion, a war won by those with the money to put their viewpoint across.

A couple of thoughts...
I am an advocate of free speech. I would not want to place a gag on anyone. But in this case, the concentration of money effectively silences the voice of the majority. A gag on advertisement appears to have been effective in reducing smoking. Packages of cigarettes are likewise required to sport very visible information on the health consequences of use. Could such a gag be mandated for products that produce greenhouse gases? Since they have potential health consequences for many people.

Heaven and Hell have been effective tools used by the church to influence behavior successfully for two millennia. Could simple heaven and hell ads be effective at describing the alternatives? The anti-smoking ads appear effective. Why shouldn't we scare the crap out of people? It seems that the population is not nearly worried enough.

06 May 2011

Build, LLC

Build LLC is a design/build company in Seattle. They have a lot of good information and they communicate it well. Their top ten reasons Why Design/Build is so Good is pretty informative. They have a very clean modern aesthetic. There's nothing ground-breaking about it, but you can tell that they can deliver for a good price point. They have developed a system. I do have some issues with the suburban nature of the projects, but that isn't really about their work as the environment in which they do their work in general. Clearly they have their own cabinet shop. Their cabinet work is very tidy, and it really makes the projects. The horizontal grain bamboo looks great.

03 May 2011

Passive House - more observations

Passive House is a pretty rigorous system:
-annual energy consumption for heating and cooling is limited to 4,755 Btu per square foot;
-air infiltration is set at a maximum of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of pressure;
-annual primary energy usage (energy consumed by appliances, lighting, and other devices not directly related to heating and cooling) is capped at 11.1 kilowatt hours per square foot.

There are also stringent standards regarding what is considered square footage. Only living space is considered in the calculation. Thus, larger houses with wasted space don't get to consider that waste in their energy budget.

A house in Maine (built by my cousins-in-law, actually) has R-49 walls, R-57 roof, and R-74 beneath the concrete-slab floors. I don't quite know structurally how you float a building on 16" of foam, but I'll talk to the engineers about that. I suppose that the conductivity of direct earth is a significant heat loss. It seems counter-intuitive somehow, since the ground can be a significant source of heat if the freezing can be isolated. In this case, the mass of the slab is being used to maintain the interior temperatures. I believe they indicated that there was no mechanical plant in the building.

02 May 2011

PV Roof

I know that the patterning is purely accidental - the product of the existing equipment on the roof. But it starts to resemble some of my drawings in an odd way. With the right tweek, it could actually have a really powerful effect.