Friday, September 24, 2010

Okay, So it's Fall!

It's the best time of year... well, it's supposed to be!

Finally, the sunshine is out in the Pacific Northwest. It's football season, the leaves are starting to think about changing color, temperatures are cooling (if not a bit tooo much this fall). I keep looking for those warm days and brisk evenings, kind of hoping we get some of that to make up for the summer we didn't quite get.

Lot's going on this fall!

First, last week I was fortunate to participate as a speaker at the Residential Design Forum and as a juror for Futureshack, both events presented by the AIA Seattle. It was an interesting discussion about housing. What will it be. How is it being done now, in an era of challenged financing (construction/development financing & home buyer lending). Is home ownership the big thing it's supposed to be? Or will it become a service product - something to use and move on from - suggesting perhaps ownership isn't as important as livability and portability.... kind of paralleling new models of employment and stability. Is all this a discussion of now, as we approach the end of this challenged economic environment, and will we just return to "normalcy" later?

Futureshack was fun, and compelling, in its second year of existence. To me, any opportunity architects can have to have a public discourse with their community is a cool thing. The fact Futureshack focuses on housing, something everyone can relate to, is the perfect subject matter. AIA Seattle staff and their participating co-chairs did a terrific job organizing the competition and creating public discourse public. During the live public jury presentation at Seattle Center, we were positioned on a brightly lit elevated stage in front of seemingly hundreds of people. Me being gallant and polite, got stuck with this huge modern (very cool) winged chair thing that you sat back inside. Now, I'm not a big guy, so this big chair kind of consumed me, which while very cool for watching football, is not so cool for sitting in front of a bunch of a few hundred people on an elevated stage with bright lights! (Everybody else had practical chairs). It did give me an air of authority however, assuming anyone in the audience could actually see me. It was fun!

I came away thinking housing will evolve more from the holdings of old to something more of a serviceable purpose... a kind of "make my life easier so I can go do stuff..." role. Size, we think, will diminish as we realize the enclosed space we actually use. And design hopefully will take a more prominent role as the concept of house becomes an identifier, kind of like cars, or computers, or the kinds of restaurants we eat at determine who and what we are. We think lives will become simpler, more focused on experiences than acquisition. 

What do you think? We, ideabox, just want our houses to be a part of a fun lifestyle. We want our houses to do their part by embracing small footprints, be responsible in use of materials, use very little energy, and be a total blast to live in... and around!

If you're reading this, and in Portland, we'll be at the Street of Dreams house from 10 till noon or so tomorrow. Come by and say Hi!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Mini Street of ideabox Dreams!

It's a mini "OPEN HOUSE" of the ideabox Street of Dreams house this weekend. The fortino house is still on location at 95th & Cornell, in NW Portland. We're thinking from 10AM till 4 PM. It's at the Arbor Vista development, who are very cool in allowing us to keep the house there for a little while. 

This is the first blog post since we had started the Street of Dreams - which - was amazing. Thousands of people came by, most quite surprised with what they saw. We followed the "big house" of the street, quite a transition from almost 6,000 SF and a $1.7 million price tag to the 1,200 SF $225,000 ish (installed w/ typical lot cost). We were quite pleased with their reaction. The modern design, the clarity of spaces and materials, the idea that houses can live beyond their walls with creatively designed outdoor "rooms" - most were delightfully suprised.

We liked the smiles. (And all those who thought it was the best house on "the Street.")

Special and continued thanks goes to Hip Furniture for their incredibly well received furnishings so elegantly designed by Unleash Design Studio that really showcased how the the house can live. When we designed the fortino, we were going for simple and cool lifestyle, and really got that! 

To get in the house, you had to get up to it. And with the incredible landscape design by Schultz & Long that was so quickly and professionally installed by Aspen Creek Landscaping and decks by "Bob-the-deck-Guy" (our name for him). the house truly was an indoor/outdoor experience.

And it's all still there for all to see - free - through the middle of October. Call for an appointment, or come by on the next few weekends!