The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design
May 20, 2006 - June 24, 2007
© Gretchen Franti / Hoachlander Davis Photograph
Because buildings consume enormous quantities of the Earth’s resources in their construction and daily operation, they represent tremendous opportunities for innovative eco-friendly design as well as cost savings. The Green House exhibition demonstrated the emerging collaboration between stylish architecture, interior design, and environmental responsibility. Home is where going green begins—where we as individuals have the power to set a new course for a more sustainable future.
A Green House
The Green House exhibition was introduced by a full-scale replica of a green house, architect Michelle Kaufmann's Glidehouse, which visitors could explore and try out a variety of green features including finish materials like bamboo floors and recycled glass tile, furniture made from organic, recycled, and repurposed materials, and energy-efficient appliances. The house also included cutaway sections so that visitors could glimpse the structure and systems of this prefabricated house. "Quick Tips" were placed strategically throughout the house to give visitors helpful ideas for reducing waste of natural resources, like water and electricity, in the home. "Buzzwords" on colorful decals defined commonly-used green design terminology. Click here for more information about the Glidehouse replica at the National Building Museum.
The Green House exhibition also discussed 5 Green Principles that underlie sustainably-designed houses:
Whether building, renovating, or choosing new interior finishes and materials, the exhibition encouraged visitors to consider actions and measures that incorporate these principles for more efficient, sustainable, and healthier homes. Click here for more information about 5 Green Principles.
For decades cutting-edge architecture and sustainable design have, to a large extent, existed in separate camps, with little dialogue among the leaders in the each field. In the world of contemporary residential design, sustainability often ranked well below considerations of style and cost. Many sophisticated designers seemed resigned to the notion that aesthetics would be compromised if environmental issues or energy efficiency took precedence. The environmental movement, for its part, was suspicious of the world of “star” architects, interior designers, and their style-conscious patrons. Green builders tended to concentrate their energies either on tinkering with their own residences or putting up experimental structures that many architects and critics dismissed as unsophisticated and unattractive. In the 1990s, however, avant-garde designers and the leaders of the sustainability movement began to move away from their insular thinking and toward common ground.
The Green House exhibition featured images and architectural models of an array of houses located around the world. This sample showed visitors the diverse range and quality of sustainable dwellings being designed today. In creating green residences, builders, architects, and designers respond to the environmental conditions of different regions and climates. These single- and multi-family houses were organized in the exhibition by geographic region--such as mountainside, waterside, tropics, and desert--to demonstrate the distinct building assets and challenges of each area. Click here for more information about Contemporary Green Residences.
With the mainstreaming of sustainable design has come a dramatic increase in new green materials and products. Such green materials contribute to houses that are good for their occupants’ health and bank accounts, as well as the environment. Whether building a new house or apartment or renovating an existing one, green materials are essential. By building, renovating, and equipping your home with green materials, you can help preserve natural resources such as old-growth forests and fresh water systems. Selecting green materials typically involves an assessment of a product’s environmental impact over its life cycle. This process tracks the raw materials used to make a product; its manufacturing process; its transportation; its performance when it is used; and its disposal, reuse, or recycling options. Download the exhibition's Green Resource Guide and start going green at home today!
The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design is presented by The Home Depot Foundation with generous support from the ASID Foundation of the American Society of Interior Designers, Bosch home appliances, Portland Cement Association, Benjamin Moore® Paints, EPA/Energy Star, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, Band Inc., Global Green, James G. Davis Construction Corporation, The American Institute of Architects, National Association of Home Builders, Smith & Fong Plyboo®, U.S. Green Building Council, 3form Inc., Andersen Corporation, Brighton Cabinetry, Inc., Goldman, Sachs & Co., Hardwood Manufacturers Association, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC, MBCI, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, and The Tower Companies. Dwell is the exclusive media partner.