Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 Here We Come

The Hustle and bustle of Christmas is finally finished. With one last push toward the New Year, we are off to 2012. I hope this year has been full of laughter, learning, productivity, and enriched relationships, since that is where “gifts” really come from. Time moves fast, so take a moment to recognize how far you have made it this year and where you are going next. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and let us all have a happy New Year!

It is amazing what we can accomplish! I hope you enjoy this video...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The First Vertical Forest

In Milan trendsetting not only applies to fashion, but architecture. Stefano Boeri the Milan-based architect, created “Bosco Verticale” the world’s first vertical forest. This modern 27 story high apartment building has the beautiful view of Milan with the serenity of a forest. Each balcony has its own mini ecosystem with planted trees and vegetation absorbing CO2, dust, and pollution in exchange for oxygen. The outside oasis will change with the seasons, allowing shade to be provided in the summer, and letting sunshine show through the bare trees in the winter.  The building will have a plant irrigation system which will be supported through the filtering and reuse of the grey water produced by the building. 

Two buildings are underway (one 365-foot, the other 260-foot).  These two towers will have 730 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 ground plants, totaling about one acre of forest. This project is expected to be completed in 2012 and will be the home of human inhabitants, as well as insects and birds. 

 The “Living Architecture” movement has made progress in recent years, in response to urban sprawl and the disconnect between people and nature. The collaboration between architects, engineers and botanist possess the key to bringing nature back into the concrete jungle.

Integrating outside space into everyday life is essential for healthy living and critical for the “going green” campaigns. Stefano Boeri is putting action behind voice. 

We at ideabox are excited to see how practical and functional these spaces are when lived in.  If successful, I imagine a new generation of city high rises will be on the horizon.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Living In Tin Can

There is something enchanting about nontraditional homes. I found a picture of a home made from an old grain silo and loved the idea! People have some amazing stories of how they have turned abandoned metal silos into homes, guest apartments, green houses, vacation rentals, and offices. Whatever the use, be assured it is creative and unique.  You would now have a canned answer for the typical icebreaker, “tell us something interesting about yourself”…  

People’s interest in nontraditional homes often correlate with desire to focus on eco-friendly construction, so naturally, a grain silo home is “sustainable”. Used silos can be found for reasonable prices, and can be recycled when finished with them.

Constructing a grain silo home is relatively fast and simple. Since the structure already exists, all that is needed is a foundation. Special attention does need to be paid to the designing of windows, doors, and cabinets because of the round structure.

Low maintenance is also a benefit of grain silo homes. Many owners choose not to paint because they like the natural color of the silo. Made from steel, the silos hold up well to the environment.  The round structure allows for less surface area exposure to the elements compared to traditional rectangular styles. Less exposure means less volatility from weather and improves the overall durability and energy efficiency of the home. The greatest benefit of all is the mystique. Living in a silo home is taking the road less traveled in a big way. 

Below are some examples of how people who have re-purposed grain silos.

Pictures from Louise and Vance Ehmke who created an office/apartment on their farm in western Kansas

GrueneHomestead Inn, in New Braunfels Texas offers night accommodations in this converted silo home.  These pictures show just how comfy you can make it! 

This grain silo was actually converted into a storage area for animal feed and a great example of the use for general storage as well.