What does “green” mean to an architect?

What does “green” mean to an architect? You’ve heard the real estate mantra, location, location location…well, “green” means thoughtful and responsive design and it’s all about location. No matter what synonym you use — “sustainable design”, “green building”, “passive design” “LEED”, “environmentally friendly” It’s about relative location – where you put the house on the.. read more →

13 Jun 2009
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How to Pick Your Architect

How hard can it be to pick an architect? Gee, they are a dime-a-dozen with similar education, internship and licensing credentials so you open a phone book or search engine and browse for names you’ve heard or that appeal to you. Then you call the list, set appointments and pick the one who has the best pedigree, is most attractive or is the cheapest. If it’s a tie, you can draw names from a hat. You can’t go wrong. That sounds simple enough, but the problem is architecture is a creative service and you need a partner who can get to know you and bring your idea to life, but how do you find that person? read more →

24 May 2009
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Why do architects talk funny?

Why do architects talk funny? You’re referring to the affliction called archispeak. It is the architect’s dialect peppered with phrases such as functional hierarchy, concept continuity, urban fabric, structural rhythm and juxtaposition to name a few. We don’t talk that way to impress or intimidate others. Archispeak is a byproduct of education, strategy and passion… read more →

23 May 2009
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How Green is my Granite?

Do you like a challenge? Do you tackle the daily crossword or sudoku puzzle and celebrate a triumphant victory? I love challenges but few puzzles parallel the thrill or complexity of a residential design/construction project. Like the client who calls and says, “Hello, I am interviewing architects and I need an architect who can make my 3,000 square foot house respond to my every lifestyle whim, on my steep and heavily forested lot, with top of the line appliances and finishes and full perimeter porches and all within my budget of $80/SF. Oh, and while you are at it, make my house ultra-green.” I waited a moment and asked, “Is that all?” It is challenging to create a personalized home that blends with the environment, but the green buzz adds a new dimension to design and construction that is difficult to quantify and integrate. read more →

30 Apr 2009
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Sir Caulks-Alot — One Beer Project

You may remember the wall, the closet organizer, the garage storage shelves and the towel bar trauma 1 through 3. Well, I’m at it again. Despite multiple home-improvement debacles, I still believe I can repair home ills. I think it’s my dad’s fault because he can repair anything and I believed I inherited that talent. Not so. I know exactly what I want and I have an idea for repairing it, but plans and result rarely align. Regardless the perpetual and frequent setbacks, I pursue an idea and invent a project. This time it was a caulk job – the garage door. read more →

01 Apr 2009
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Green Business — Distinguishing Hype from Help

I’m a proud small business owner and join millions of small business owners who employ 99.7% of Americans and account for 50.1% of the non-farm gross domestic product. As a contingent we’re anything but small and our actions have a profound impact on our economy and environment. When small businesses decide to operate a green business, it makes a big difference; however, running a green business might not be for everyone – at least not today. Deciding to live green at home and live green at work are mutually exclusive decisions because decisions you make at home reflect your desires but decisions you make in your business should reflect your business strategy. read more →

31 Mar 2009
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Why Does My Home Cost So Much?

Inquiring clients want to know, “Hey, Mr. Architect. If you’re so smart, then tell me why my home costs so much! It’s only natural to wonder why your home costs so much. That’s the same thing I wondered when I built my home. I saw the signs advertising “Build on your lot for $60/SF” and “Homes from the $100s” but when I built my personalized home, no one offered to build on my lot for $60/SF and no one could build my humble home for $100k. Are builders telling the truth? read more →

26 Feb 2009
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Crazy Inquiry — Questions Architects Ask

What do a reporter, therapist and architect have in common? It’s not salary because reporters get paid by the word, therapists by the hour and architects by the grace of God. It’s not approach because reporters put you on the spot, therapists put you on the clock and architects put you on a pedestal. It’s not vocabulary because reporters write at fifth grade level, therapist dialog with $50 words and architects draw diagrams. It’s not curiosity because reporters want to know where you were and who you talked to, therapists want to know about your family and architects want to know it all. read more →

09 Feb 2009
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