Monday, September 28, 2009

Local Lore

I live in a part of Kansas City know for it's mix of modern architecture, historic Kansas City fabric, and mostly hispanic population. Aside from some freakin' awesome food, sometimes universes collide...

Update: The urban chicken movement (fad) is hot in Kansas City. Been going on in the Westside though for a long time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's 9-11 All Over Again

Mystery of the Urinal Deuce
Original Air Date: 10.11.06
The world's biggest conspiracy of all time is finally uncovered when Eric Cartman exposes the true culprit behind the September 11th attacks. Kyle and Stan come face-to-face with the masterminds who pulled of the most elaborate, intricate and flawlessly executed operation in American history.

Season 10. Episode 6. Link here. Or click the image above. Or bittorrent. Or better yet, just buy the DVD's. The director's commentary alone is worth it.

Please (really, please) somebody needs to take all the seasons of South Park thus far - along with "Bigger, Longer and Uncut" (and while you're at it "Team America: World Police") and put them alongside the plant specimens in the recently completed UN sponsored Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Arctic.

Hopefully in one-thousand years people won’t think this part of history was only full of exploitative talk shows and *reality* TV jackasses.

And if you've never seen "Your Studio and You" (comedic homage 1950s-ish educational films commissioned when Seagrams bought Universal Studios) ch-ch-check it out. Link here and wiki here. (NSFW). This was Parker and Stone's first "real" gig in Hollywood and contains some fantastic cameos.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

So about 18 months ago, Brad Nies and I wrote a book called Green BIM which discussed how to use Revit to maximize sustainable design. We went into detail on energy, water, LEED, etc. Well, come to find out the book is being translated to Korean.

Maybe I can be the Hoff of Korea. I can't sing though to save my life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ug, more LEED

If the USGBC really means to push sustainability and wants to support innovation, could they not increase their threshold and award points for BIM? You can save time and resources communicating via model sharing and they could require model submissions to validate those points (and many others).

So far in the documentation process, I've dropped from Gold to Silver. Not because the design is not up to par, but largely due to imprecise documentation at the time of construction or the lack of clarity on the part of the LEED for Homes docs. (for what and how to document).
If it were a commercial building project, I could see where it's my own fault (architect) for not being more diligent in my documentation process. However, this is residential and the residential building process is a very different animal.

How does creating a workflow help the home owner become more sustainable and how does that help green the planet?

Thursday, September 17, 2009


the rant continues.......
Background: 1250 sq ft house. LEED Homes without compromise to design. Sustainability is part of the design (except for the fridge - duly noted). LEED without adding to the budget for the sake of having LEED. Electric bill: $50/ mo (summer). Water bill $23 for 3 mo.

One of my biggest problems with this experiment was how convoluted the documentation process is. It's actually so convoluted that it borders on inaccessible. If the goal of LEED is to promote sustainability, why not make it easy to document a building design and it's level of sustainability? After 200+ hours of documentation, I'm still not finished. I'm not looking for it to be easy, but it needs to be accessible to the common home owner.

If the goal is a better world and homes are some of the largest consumers of energy and resources, make it viable for a home owner to take part. If you have to go through the effort of hiring a consultant to design a LEED home, it's not promoting sustainability it's fostering a level elitism. For which you have to pay to play.

oh and PS. I did the whole house in Revit (2010. before the greatful ribbon hack). Many of the points are available for documentation directly from the model. Areas. Volumes. Material Take-offs. LEED is asking for people to invest in new technologies and methods, so why don't they use BIM as a documentation resource? My cost of LEED so far (in cash, not time) - $150.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


For the record, I believe in global warming and if I knew how to save each individual polar bear, I'd do it in a heart beat. I think designing sustainably is one (of many) critical aspects to design. Not only for the sake of the environment, but also as a steward of your client's resources. They deserve a building that not only looks pretty, functions well, but also performs well environmentally.
For the record, I think LEED is a great idea. It has helped to promote the notion of sustainability within architecture, has brought it to the attention of many clients, and has created a system to help achieve a higher level of design.

But I have two problems with LEED. It's caters to elitism in it's execution and the very process of documenting LEED is unsustainable.

Enter my house: Our goal was to design a good, solid home that took sustainability into account and see how far we could go with LEED AT NO ADDITIONAL COST. LEED on a dime was how we discussed it. Could we make smart decisions and do the documentation without compromise to the home for the sake of the LEED documentation. I've just finished over 200 hours of documentation for LEED for Homes. This is where my story begins.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Water Water Everywhere...

I know everyone touts energy as one of the big things to be mindful of when designing sustainably. While that is certainly true, WATER is a resource that people tend to overlook in design. It's cheap for most of us in the US and easy to get to a clean supply and because of this, we tend to overlook conserving water when we can.
For the rest of the world and parts of the US, this isn't the case. Lake Mead in Nevada for instance is at an all time low. That ring represents the water level we used to have.

The guys who invented the Segway (for whatever you think of that motion device for the non-walking) are working on a water purification tool. The Slingshot. incredible. especially at $2k a unit. Water becomes a commodity.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wall and Piece

If you're not yet familiar with Banksy this would be a good place to start. Careful if you venture further MBNSFW.

Recent art book here. I picked up the soft cover at Urban Outfitters for $20 and promptly gave it to the kids.

"Love Poem"
Beyond watching eyes
With sweet and tender kisses
Our souls reached out to each other
In breathless wonder

And when I awoke
From a vast and smiling peace
I found you bathed in morning light
Quietly studying
All the messages on my phone


"Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think."
Jean de La Bruyère

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


"As for the future, it's tempting to view Snow Leopard as the "tick" in a new Intel-style "tick-tock" release strategy for Mac OS X: radical new features in version 10.7 followed by more Snow-Leopard-style refinements in 10.8, and so on, alternating between "feature" and "refinement" releases. Apple has not even hinted that they're considering this type of plan, but I think there's a lot to recommend it." - MacRumors

boy, wouldn't that be nice.

Slip Sliding Away....

The timing in the U.S. could also be right to end the exclusivity deal with AT&T as Congress, the Department of Justice, and regulators at the Federal Communications Commission look into the fairness of such exclusive deals. Opening the device up to other carriers could help score points with regulators and potentially end some of these investigations.