Leslie Smith

When Scientific Research And Legos Collide

When Scientific Research And Legos Collide

To some children, Legos are a first primer to serious architecture. Though in the fun guise of play, most of us don’t recall the strategy, composing and hours of constructing, erecting and regrouping to begin again, that was involved in a serious afternoon of Lego assembly. Science, who is no stranger to hours of constructive exploration, often strays from the ordinary to investigate and find answers, and when searching for a solution to fill a laboratory need one team did just that. Researchers at Iowa State University wanted to investigate what effects the environment has on plant development. In order to… read more

I Am Not Afraid Of Color Said The Beach House

I Am Not Afraid Of Color Said The Beach House

Getting to have a stay in a beach house is probably an ideal way to spend some hours. The following are a few relaxing and refreshing looks into waterfront living. From Fábio Galeazzo of G’zzo Galeazzo Design, this bright and unexpected residence is located shore side in Brazil. This reconstructed beach house received an update, both on the exterior and interior. First, it got a lift from inserting bamboo beams to provide necessary structural support that was lacking in the original. The roof was modernized with thermal tiles which adds to the energy efficiency of the already economy minded build…. read more

This Residence Is A Curved Retreat

This Residence Is A Curved Retreat

From architect Robert Harvey Oshatz, the Wilkinson Residence is a uniquely designed space. The construction was completed over a decade ago, but this refuse-to-be-a-ranch-style home still deserves attention. An original presentation, the home is nestled into a slope which accentuates the outdoor backdrop. A nod to a tree house, the primary living area looks out to a treetop lined skyscape. Made to blend in with the surrounding landscape, the structure was formed with natural woods, copper plated framing and glass. The substantial use of glass all through is used to reflect much of the direct sunlight, adding to the internal… read more

Getting Kids Into Gardening

Getting Kids In The Garden

Teaching kids where their food comes from is a valuable lesson that will stay with them forever. Gardening fosters a sense of independence, models sustainability and encourages healthy eating. Match kid’s creativity by rethinking what a garden plot should be. If space is an issue, container gardens or vertical varieties are easier to maintain and can be done to scale in order to fit the child’s abilities and growing plans. A simple planter concept that also reuses plastic bottles can be seen in a product called the Petomato. By taking an ordinary empty water bottle and fitting on the special cap that contains… read more

The Lure Of A Courtyard

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Courtyards have been used in residences and businesses worldwide throughout history. Along with their inviting appeal, they can also be energy efficient spaces. One study examined how the use of courtyards in the Mediterranean area also serves a functional purpose as passive energy systems. The walls, placement and size of courtyards can lend to considerably cooler temperatures in warmer weather. Courtyards are popular in many regions where the weather is accommodating to outdoor living. From Klopf Architecture, this Eichler style remodel incorporated existing gables and a centrally located garden turning the home into an open and inviting place. The new enclosed courtyard… read more

Bringing In The Trees

Bringing In The Trees

Apartment and office spaces are not usually known for the trees in their landscaping. However, Vo Trong Nghia Architects has found a unique way to incorporate this often overlooked aspect into some of their projects. One of their residential designs called House For Trees includes amazing views of a vertical treetop canopy. House for Trees is a prototype that seeks to reforest Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which due to increases in population, traffic congestion and city bustle has reportedly lost much of its original tree lined areas. The plan for the residential area adhered to a budget. The design idea… read more

It’s About Time – An Awaited Arrival

It’s About Time – An Awaited Arrival

Electric motorcycles are nothing new, but to one iconic brand their introduction of a prototype is fresh on their inventory list. The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is the new electric kid on the block, and many are surprised at the arrival. Many are also waiting to see how the performance compares to the traditional rides, which are known for their fine-tuned craftsmanship. This e-bike is actually a concept design, which was hand built and looks markedly different than other Harley models. The prototype has not yet been formally named, but is being called Project LiveWire. Specifics about production are still not publicized,… read more

Solar Powered Cookout

Solar Powered Cookout

Teaching kids about renewable resources doesn’t always have to be a lecture or a lesson on paper. For example, all ages can appreciate a sun-cooked food festival, and the solar process makes for good dinner conversation. Getting outside and providing some hands-on explanation of how the sun’s energy can be applied is useful, teaches self-reliance and sustainability, and is fun for kids. Campfires and hot dog roasts are a rite of passage in some childhood circles. Instead of building a fire, build a solar hot dog cooker. Host an activity and have kids bring their own cardboard box. Gather a… read more

Plastic, Plastic Everywhere!

Are We Getting Better?

100’s of years ago, there were no plastic bottles to recycle, no campaigns to tell us to recycle them and common sense reusing was often out of necessity. Now we think we are doing the environment a favor if we make an effort to recycle our paper and aluminum cans. While recycling is of course a modern day must, we have to ask if we truly need to have so much stuff that needs to be recycled in the first place. According to a survey on PowerSourceOnline, among the technological gadgets that are not used but piled up in our homes anyway… read more

The Quest for a Chemical Free Garden

The Quest for a Chemical Free Garden

A few summers back, I tried to have a completely organic garden…and failed. Miserably. My garden was free of all pesticides and chemicals, and the only protection was fencing to keep the wildlife out. Good cultivated earth, nutrient-rich topsoil, seeds, sun and water only. It’s amazing how these simple ingredients can invite a whole slew of little things, overnight even, that will take over your entire carefully tendered space. My organic experience ended up looking like, well, a science fiction experiment. Several strange creatures swarmed my garden, and at times my entire yard. The party had started, and it lasted… read more