Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Where does your energy go?

We recently read an article in EDC (the official magazine for the LEED professional) that discussed how the efficiency of our electronics and appliances has become much more energy friendly, but our use of these devices has grown.

It is interesting that despite the great lengths we've gone to construct our homes including better materials, tighter standards, and increased efficiency of appliances and equipment, our total energy usage still continues to increase, with the largest portion now going towards appliances, electronics, and lighting. Is this because of the ever increasing electronic devices that we gather, from the desire for convenience (some people have washers and dryers on both floors for ease of use), or has the population just grown faster than the technological improvements?

To read the full article, please click here!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Confessions of a Charrette Junkie by JV DeSousa

Our friend and colleague JV DeSousa recently posted a blog about the design charrette that our principal, Paul Brady, participated in this past year. We hope that you find this article as interesting as we did! Enjoy!!!

To read other blogs by JV DeSousa please visit their blog by clicking here.

I’ll come right out and admit it. . . . . I’m a charrette-aholic.
What’s a charrette you ask? Well, the word really means “cart” in French and its relationship to architecture stems from the use of a cart to collect final projects in the design studios at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, but if you look it up on Wikipedia it says:
A charrette (pronounced [shuh-ret]), is often Anglicized to charette and sometimes called a design charrette. . . . In fields of design such as architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, interior design, interaction design, or graphic design, the term charrette may refer to an intense period of work by one person or a group of people prior to a deadline. The period of a charrette typically involves both focused and sustained effort. The word “charrette” may also be used as a verb, as in, for example, “I am charretting” or “I am on charrette [or: en charrette],” simply meaning I am working long nights, intensively toward a deadline.
Much to the dismay of many people around me—starting with my wife and kids and ending with my business partners—I love working all sorts of weird hours of the night. I find that my most creative period of the day is between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. And I love the craziness, intensity—and yes, stress—of having a very short period of time to complete a lot of design work. I can’t say exactly why I like this—it’s just the way I’m wired. So there it is—I’m an admitted charrette-aholic.
Last October I got a big fix at the Housing Colorado Now! Conference. I was given the opportunity to lead a great group of people through a charrette to design a project for the Estes Park Housing Authority. The team consisted of co-leader Paul Brady of Godden | Sudik Architects, Ulla Lange of WORKSHOP8, Elena Scott of Norris Design, Matt Heiser and Steve Lane of Basis Architecture, Matt Seewald of Palace Construction, Rita Kurelja of the Estes Park Housing Authority, Elicia Ratajczyk of Housing Colorado, several other design and development professionals and six amazing students from UC Denver.
The charrette was two days and two nights of non-stop designing, drawing, discussing, thinking and laughing (there may have been some crying and complaining too). In the end the design concept was distilled to “everyone wants their own little cabin in the woods.” I’ve never worked on any other project where large ungulates (aka elk) and how they walk across the site received more design discussion than cars and parking. And by the middle of the second night things got a little strange when one of the students took it upon himself to make up names for all of the team members. Swale Sister and Berm Bot make sense for landscape architects, but why one young female architecture student was named Tebow was lost on me.
In forty-eight mostly sleepless hours we went from a blank page to this:
And then to this: