The Design for Business 21st Century-wise~

Can’t see the forest for the trees?

I think we forget that this is the new century.  The new time.  We operate in so many ways that are just extensions of “this is the way it’s always been” way.  But you know, look at the date: 2010! Wow!  How did that happen?  Remember 2001, A Space Odyssey?  Here we are almost ten years past “Hal”… and it feels in many ways as if we are still waiting for the computer to give us all the answers.

Well, in many ways, I suppose the computer HAS given us all most of the answers… some of them anyway for this new revolution in modern life called ‘social networking’.  While we would have loved to have been this ‘connected’ as kids ourselves, it is our kids who are growing so naturally into the well networked society — and bringing us along for the ride.

The fastest growing segment of Facebook subscribers is women in their mid-50’s…(if you take a minute and watch that video I posted in my LinkedIn page a few days ago you will catch the scope of this revolution. Click on my name below, or Search: LinkedIN: Alexis Wittman, Portland, OR)Alexis Wittman, Portland, OR

What’s that got to do with anything? There are the rumblings out there that this social/computer/networking thing is as much a revolution as the cotton gin and the industrial revolution, as the automobile and the portable society, as the desktop computer and the end of secretarial help.  This invention, these innovations, of social content in networked context will do more to change the way we find information, the way we consider news, the way we buy products and choose media to watch and listen to.

Are you a designer?  Are you in business?

I just finished listening to an exciting video presentation by Roger Martin the author of “The Design of Business”.  He spoke here in Portland at the Ziba Auditorium earlier this year.  See the full video about innovation here.  Roger wanted to solve the business mystery about why companies are not more innovative.  Corporations want to be innovative, but avoid risk.  Designers create risk because that’s what innovation involves.  I’ve captured some of his material below to lure you into watching the video yourself!

Roger explores the classic dilemma of: the “prove it” objective model of thinking vs. “I just feel it” intuitive thinking model.   The problem is that you can’t prove a new idea.  Yet, if you don’t, you can’t advance knowledge.   Roger’s example from the corporate entertainment industry is Harvey Weinstein of Miramax who gave the green light to movies which everyone else turned down: Pulp Fiction, Million Dollar Baby, etc.  This is called, going with the “golden gutt”.  Miramax couldn’t sustain the edge once it let Weinstein go…But the ultimate goal?  Mix reliability and validity with design thinking to achieve great long term consistency in innovation.

You can mix reliability with innovation.  Follow these tips —

*my paraphrasing of Mr. Martin’s ideas are in parenthesis.

For Designers:

Designing in Hostile Territory: 5 Productive Steps

1.  Take ‘design unfriendliness’ as a design challenge. (why not?  The ultimate problem for the ultimate problem solver: the designer, how to get along with ‘the suits’.)

2.  Emphasize with the ‘design unfriendly’ elements. (Emphasizing builds bonds and increases understanding for each others’ role in innovation…remember too, YOU don’t have to report to shareholders, and boards of directors who are looking at bottom lines)

3.  Speak the language of reliabilty.  “Best Demonstrated Practices”, “Business Models”, “Consistency”, “Certainty”; (ie:  Get into their heads and stay there.)

4.  Use analogies and stories. (Come close, reassure the corporate decider with similar case studies, examples from other industries or markets.)

“The designers job is using objective knowledge to invent a future that’s different than the past. So it’s not an extrapolation from the past, and the problem is you cannot prove it [the future] in advance.  While the ‘reliability people’ will want proof in advance before doing something because they need to be able to declare something as true…you can’t provide that..but you can get stories and examples that are proof-like, close to proof…’no one’s done it before, but in another industry, or a different market…, or it’s not quite as big a leap as I thought”

5. Bite off as little a piece as possible to generate proof. (Find a part of the design that can go into a process that will provide proof, a test drive so to speak.)

“The future doesn’t matter to the reliability person who extrapolates the past, its proof that matters…  Six months is in the future, it doesn’t count until six months from now when it will be presto-chango— in the past.  The designer turns future into the past.  Bite a little piece off, predict what will happen, then in 6 months you will have proof, ie: rapid prototyping.”

Are you in corporate business?

Leveraging Design in Business: 5 Productive Steps

1.  Take [designer’s] inattention to reliability as a business challenge. (It’s just another ‘management challenge’ to understand designers and those who don’t use inductive reasoning but rather intuitive reasoning. Figure it out and make it work for you.)

2. Emphasize with the ‘reliability unfriendly’ elements. (Tit for tat: walk in the other guy’s/girls’ shoes for a change!)

3.  Speak the language of validity: “Fantastic”,” Best thing you’ve ever seen”, etc.” (There’s a reason designers get excited about new ideas..they are fun, creative and use a language corporate business rarely speaks.  But in these words lie the future!)

4.  Share data and reasoning not conclusions. (Don’t box out the designer by getting to the answer, but do share background and underpinnings so they can work with them too, to imagine the future.)

5.  Bite off as big a piece as possible to give innovation a chance. (Work out a big chance/big slice of the future that you’re willing to stake out and make real.)

If both sides of this equation, [innovation:proof] consistently turn mysteries into heuristic solutions and then into efficient algorithms, gaining the advantage of huge savings BUT then in turn, reinvesting them into solving the next mystery into the next, into the next…thus “design thinking for the 21st century”: “the ‘antidote’ to the way the dominate form of thinking takes shape in companies: stifling and preventing innovation from happening.

Marin’s fundamental thesis: “Design thinking is the next competitive advantage!”

Roger Martin is the Dean of the Rotman School of Management at The University of Toronto.


Cool Summers?

Here in Portland we’ve had a pretty cool summer. Cool in all ways! Besides the chilly evenings and great sleeping weather, there have been some terrific events going on.

But first I want to share this photo collection posted by Brian Libby on the blog ‘Portland Architecture’…

The AIA Center for Architecture has sponsered a few really interesting panels and presentations. I attended one on the design of photovoltaic solar panels, another on design competitions and how they are run, and another on mid-century modern architecture here in Portland.

Many of these events are open to the public. You can always enjoy the exhibits in the Center for Architecture Space located at 11th and Flanders in NW [the Pearl].


AIA Portland
403 NW 11th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
T 503.223.8757
F 503.220.0254

Creative License-Part One

This could come in handy, for me…for you?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

New Books Focus on a Place in the Sun~the article I wrote on passive solar design way back in the 1980’s!

from the July 09, 1982 edition
This article was on the cover of the book review pull-out section, with illustrations:
New books focus on a place in the sun; Sun Rhythm Form, by Ralph L. Knowles. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. 289 pp. $ 25. Solar Architecture: The Direct Gain Approach, by Timothy E. Johnson. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company. 218 pp. $21.50. Passive Solar Homes: 91 New Award-Winning, Energy-Conserving Single-Family Homes with Specific Suggestions for Design and Construction, by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in cooperation with the US Department of Energy. New York: Facts on File. 284 pp. $19.95 in hard cover. New York: Everest House. 284 pp. $12.95 in paperback.
By Alexis Wittman; Alexis Wittman is an architectural designer living in the Washington, D.C., area.

The principles of passive solar energy are so simple: like the little girl in the comics who sits in a pool of sunlight, carrying on a conversation with the sunbeam. Passive solar energy is like that; a continuing discourse with nature.
We all know it’s warmer to walk on the sunny side of the street on a crisp spring morning, just as in the hot summer we seek the breezeway or the cellar. Without much thought, we adjust our daily movement to natural rhythms. We are our own passive solar energy systems.
Buildings designed from a passive solar perspective have that same quality of moderation and movement. Like a choreographed dance, the building and its users move to these natural rhythms.
The sun rises, and up come the shades and night curtains that kept the evening chill away. Slowly the warmth of the day seeps into the floors, the walls, soaking in to be stored there, until night, with its chill, brings down the curtains. The dance repeats itself.
”Sun Rhythm Form” explores the relationships of man, habitat, and environment, showing us the architectural form that results from an understanding of the natural rhythm of the sun.
Ralph L. Knowles, an early proponent of design that allows access to sunlight , is the first to develop ways to predict the invisible envelope into which a building must fit in order to guarantee solar access to all adjacent buildings.
While developing land with consideration for the three-dimensional properties of its buildings is not new (most zoning regulates height and setback), doing so to protect solar access is quite new.
As local planning and zoning authorities adopt the principles of solar access , it will become less common for huge, out-of-scale buildings and the shade they create to invade areas that have sunny gardens to protect.
A whole new architectural context arises from the ideas Knowles presents here , one which frees the designer to employ energy-saving techniques safeguarded against the intrusions of future development.
The historical and legal background Knowles includes here gives a good foundation for readers who want to spearhead a solar policy in their own localities. The designs shown in the book illustrate the effect of such policy on single-family homes as well as large urban design projects. Quality of life, a concept often discussed but seldom pursued, becomes through Knowles’s writings a working strategy for the future of solar energy.
In ”Solar Architecture” Timothy Johnson teaches the ”direct gain” approach to passive solar design. Direct gain refers to the energy that enters the living spaces of a home and is then absorbed directly by the building materials, to be reradiated as surrounding air cools down. Getting the most from direct gain demands a sensitive balance of materials and building organization with climate. (”Indirect gain,” not discussed in this book, refers to the energy absorbed by a building’s exterior shell, which does not pass directly into the living spaces.)
Johnson’s book is a comprehensive guide that will interest the professional and the student of solar energy. It is indispensable to architects who may have missed a thorough training in environmental studies, so necessary to good design. It brings together reference materials and formulas in a step-by-step calculation to test the effectiveness of one building material over another, one design solution against its alternative. The inclusion of climatic data and programmable calculator codes simplifies the work.
The textbook-like approach lacks some of the spirit of other books on solar energy. However, the technically comprehensive information, once understood, helps give the designer a residual, intuitive feeling for solar design. If all buildings were designed with this intuitive, knowing response, not only would the world’s energy requirements be greatly reduced, but our homes and workplaces would give us greater comfort.
”Passive Solar Homes” is a compilation of 91 award-winning designs. It illustrates in a simple, clear way the basics of houses that soak up sunlight – what they can look like and how they work.
The range of homes is diverse. Many are quite conventional in appearance, and yet very special in their solar design. Several are complex and costly. These do not gain significantly from their complexity.
Good passive solar homes embrace a life style. The best exhibit careful concern for the way activities are related to spaces. Service spaces, kitchens, baths, and closets are placed as buffers to deter undesired temperature changes. Living spaces are placed to take advantage of energy gains as well as views.
”Passive Solar Homes” is part of the continuing effort of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Energy. This collection chronicles the use of solar energy technology in the marketplace. It proves that many home buyers do want to own a solar home. It is a tribute to the builders and developers willing to go forward – the beginnings of a movement.

Note:  The author now lives in Portland, OR

The Big Empty Room*

THE BIG EMPTY ROOM.  There’s a space here in the Portland area that I just crave.  It’s the exhibit room at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, lovingly called OCAC. Up on Barne’s Road in SW Portland…from downtown PDX  you just go West on Burnside till it turns into Barne’s.

It also features the BEST place to eat in all of Portland:  The Hand’s On Cafe, lunch and dinner [bring a check, they don’t take plastic]. Rustic ragouts on polenta with creme freche, that sort of thing; home breads and cake!  Oh, the cakes they bake!

It’s sort of like Cranbrook…if you know what I mean but with better food. Granted this is the really, really good art school which produces great conceptual pieces, including a lot of wild, exotic pottery I might add.  **Proudly I have to also have to add, that Taylor Schefstrom, my Ian’s girlfriend [now both traveling in Turkey], was accepted into their post-bacceloriate program in wood. She’s a very talented designer slash photo-journalist.

...And this exhibit space is about 24′ square, maybe 28′? [I need to zap it with my infrared room measurer from my real estate days to verify the dimensions.]  It’s big, but not too big.  It’s white, but not too white.  It echoes sound a bit, but not too much.  It’s just right.

It’s ceiling is very tall too… so the impression is that of being in a cube of space.  We hardly ever get to experience that perfect cube space.  Wood floors, all white, with a few specially placed windows.  This space is reached by a set of elegant wooden steps with an awesome carved wooded railing.  Entering the space you feel a bit processional.  It slows your breath.  It causes you to pay attention. [I forgot to mention the space is overlooked by the sales shop railing, so there is an aspect of previewing the space prior to entry – which works to build interest as well.]

I have always wanted such a space. Ask my kids.  The big empty room.  Well, maybe my baby grand goes there when it shows up.  Maybe there’s a wall of books – since they are pretty deserving of a grand space…with library ladder too.  But, still, it feels like ‘the big empty room’.  Can you dig it?  I want it.

This is the ultimate “public space”.  Where you / I could hold a yoga class, an art exhibit, a jazz gig, or host a poetry reading, or a prayer circle.  A coaching clinic? Yes.  Keeping it free of too much art, too much visual ‘distraction’ will be the challenge.  For me, anyway.  But the pure breathing room such a space offers may just be enough to offer the kind of holy respite from a busy world.  A meditation space.  A place to meditate on space.

I feel so bad I don’t have a sketch here….I will figure out how to scan the image and get them blogged in soon.  I promise.  The reason I am eager to show you all this, is that in addition, one exterior South facing wall of this space is a Trombe Wall.

A Trombe Wall is an old concept from the 60’s or could be 70’s when everyone was being really creative about passive solar.  I imagine this is a Mr./Ms. Trombe’s idea.  A Trombe Wall is a solid wall, probably made of CMU [concrete masonry units] which features a black surface on the South facing side, and here’s the trick…covered with a glazing surface [glass or plexi] which traps the air that’s heating up along the black surface and allows the heat to rise [through convection].  Here’s a graphic on convection from Wikipedia… [I think they should have shown more papers – like confetti.]   Live and learn.  It’s really important you understand convection because so much of passive solar relies on understanding it.   Don’t tune out, there’ll be more white space soon – like a DK book.  Or, an Osborne book [my preference].

Well, ….go ahead and tune out till my next post. The information that follows is for inquiring minds.   However, the Catch 22, is that inquiring minds probably know all this stuff anyway.  I am making up for lost time by inserting information rich clips from Wiki.  Chatty passive home design will continue tomorrow~

Natural convective heat transfer

Papers lifted on rising convective air current from warm radiator

When heat is transferred by the circulation of fluids due to buoyancy from the density changes induced by heating itself, then the process is known as natural convection or free convection.  [Air is a fluid too.  Alexis]

Familiar examples are the upward flow of air due to a fire or hot object and the circulation of water in a pot that is heated from below.

For a visual experience of natural convection, a glass that is full of hot water filled with red food dye may be placed inside a fish tank with cold, clear water. The convection currents of the red liquid will be seen to rise and also fall, then eventually settle, illustrating the process as heat gradients are dissipated.


The ‘Truth’ about the Trombe Wall: is there a scandal brewing?  Or, is Alexis trying to trick you into reading in depth about one of the prime sources of heat generation/storage in her design?  You decide!

Trombe wall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Question book-new.svg
This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2009)

Passive solar design using an unvented trombe wall and summer shading

A Trombe wall is a sun-facing wall patented in 1881 by its inventor, Edward Morse, and popularized in 1964 by French engineer Félix Trombe and architect Jacques Michel. It is a massive wall separated from the outdoors by glazing and an air space, which absorbs solar energy and releases it selectively towards the interior at night.

Even single pane glass worked for this process because glass is transparent to visible light but less so to infra-red radiation (heat). Modern variations include insulating glass to retain more of the stored solar heat and high and low, sometimes operable, vents to allow convective heat transfer to the indoors.




[edit] Current basic design

A Trombe wall

Rammed earth trombe wall built by the University of Utah‘s Design Build Bluff project

Modern Trombe walls have vents added to the top and bottom of the air gap between the glazing and the thermal mass. Heated air flows via convection into the building interior. The vents have one-way flaps which prevent convection at night, thereby making heat flow strongly directional. This kind of design is an indirect passive thermal collector. By moving the heat away from the collection surface, it greatly reduces thermal losses at night and improves net heat gain. Generally, the vents to the interior are closed in summer months when heat gain is not wanted.[citation needed]

Because temperature variations tend to propagate through dense masonry materials (thermal diffusion) at a rate of approximately 1 inch per hour, daytime heat gain will be available at the interior surface of the thermal mass in the early evening when it’s needed. This time lag property of thermal mass, combined with its thermal decrement (dampening of temperature variations), allows the use of fluctuating daytime solar energy as a more uniform night-time heat source.

[edit] Common variations

Common modifications to the Trombe wall include:[citation needed]

  • Exhaust vent near the top that is opened to vent to the outside during the summer. Such venting makes the Trombe wall act as a solar chimney pumping fresh air through the house during the day, even if there is no breeze.
  • Windows in the trombe wall. This lowers the efficiency but may be done for natural lighting or aesthetic reasons. If the outer glazing has high ultraviolet transmittance, and the window in the trombe wall is normal glass, this allows efficient use of the ultraviolet light for heating. At the same time, it protects people and furnishings from ultraviolet radiation more than do windows with high ultraviolet transmittance.
  • Electric blowers controlled by thermostats, to improve air and heat flow.
  • Fixed or movable shades, which can reduce night-time heat losses.
  • Trellises to shade the solar collector during summer months.
  • Insulating covering used at night on the glazing surface.
  • Tubes or water tanks as part of a solar hot water system.
  • Fish tanks as thermal mass.
  • Using a selective surface to increase the absorption of solar radiation by the thermal mass.

[edit] Application in developing regions

In Ladakh, India, the Ladakh Project is designing Trombe walls that complement Ladakh’s beautiful traditional architecture

and has promoted building them in Ladakhi homes. This has shown Ladhakis a clean, reliable alternative to fire as a source of heat. The traditional fuel, dung, burns poorly and offers poor relief from the bitter winter temperatures. The smoldering dung produces significant amounts of smoke that fouls the air and causes many health problems. Trombe walls offer relief from both the cold and the smoke. Ladakh receives about 320 days of sun annually, and the traditional building materials – stone and mud brick – provide the thermal mass needed for heat collection in a Trombe wall.[1]The Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh uses Trombe walls[2] and as part of “a model of appropriate design and development”.[3]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Hales, Carolyn (1986). The Ladakh Project. Cultural Survival, 10.3 (Fall 1986) Mountain Peoples. Retrieved from
  2. ^ Drukpa Trust (2008). Sustainable Design Examples page. Retrieved from
  3. ^ Drukpa Trust (2008). Overview of Awards page. Retrieved from

[edit] External links

thank you for reading so far into this post.  You deserve a prize!  Remember this key word: “CAKES”.  It may help you win a prize a little later on…..write it down somewhere.  There will be prizes!

What to do with hot and sunny?

Sitting comfortably in my living room, the living room with the wonderful 14′ ceilings….the blinds closed and windows shut tight to keep the heat out and the ‘coolth’ in, this blog begins.  It is early July and after two days of 100 degree heat, I shelter either indoors or in the Willamette River with my dog, Bear. Today, laptopping, I am at home.

While I currently live in a comfortable manor house built c. 1903, turned into officers quarters during WWI, with thick walls and shady trees surrounding us, I dream of the day I’ll be building my own passive solar home!


A friend of mine, let’s call him, Jeff, is an engineer I know in North Carolina.  As a curious attempt to get to know each other better [we are pen-pals from the same high school], we decided to design a house together.  Long distance.  Chatting via Facebook.  Is this a first, do you think? He’s currently gracing a high school as their architecture/engineering/CAD instructor.  So when he has a free moment, we chat about home design.  I’ll try to recap what we’ve learned together so far….

I suggest we aim for a passive solar home.  To me it just makes sense, to make a home work within its environmental ‘window’…besides the obvious advantage to both the planet earth, and the planet ‘wallet’.  Jeff says: “Yeah, but…” “Yeah, but what?”, “Yeah, but usually homes designed to be energy-efficient are usually ‘butt ugly’.  [If he didn’t use that exact expression, it is certainly within range of his typical colloquial voicing.]

Reassuringly I emphasize that this house will be BEAUTIFUL, LOVELY, SPIRITUAL, and more…. anything less would be a waste of time. I can feel it, more than picture it.  I can sense the way light will move around the space, how a breeze will flow coolly from room to room, how the feel of the floor on my bare-feet will be….waxing poetic already about space; holy home space.

I also wrote an article on passive solar homes way back in 1983 for The Christian Science Monitor. So my expertise goes way back…It was on the cover of their book review section, and I got paid $400 at the time for the story.  My architecture degree is from the University of Michgan’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning, now called Taubman College, and in the late 70’s, early 80’s we were ALL about solar architecture – having all lived through the oil embargo during Jimmy Carter’s administration and having to line up for gas on odd/even days.  Are you old enough to remember that? Or, does that seem like a fanciful imagination to you younger types?  IT HAPPENED!  So, if seems appropriate after all these years to focus on green design.  I am also LEED-AP accredited, since March 2009, which means I am a design professional with special studies in sustainable, energy efficient practices based on standards set by the USGBC, the United States Green Building Counsel.

This is getting boring, back to the house….

CONCEPT:  Jeff starts the ball rolling one day by asking ‘What room is most important to you?”  A simple question, no?  Well, I respond, “It’s not even a room that matters most to me, it’s a piece of furniture.  I need to have a harvest table.”  What’s that?  Jeff doesn’t know either…  It’s a rather long, skinny table that seats a lot of people.  I fantasize about dinner parties with 12 or more all gathered around this table.  I don’t own one yet of course…it takes quite a room to have such a table.

I follow with a: “and YOU?  What do you most need in this house?”  “A really fantastic kitchen! ” He says… “great appliances, 6 burner stove, lots of room for a pottery collection, lots of space in a walk-in pantry”.  Jeff loves to cook, and although I haven’t had the privilege of tasting his cooking, he does like to write about food. So he’s hitting all my buttons as well.  [Although I do caution him that when angry I have been known to break pottery.  So we quickly agree on locked cabinets.] Other features burst out like outdoor showers, a big empty room [more about that later], a library, a lap-pool and and hammock for my dog, ‘Bear’, etc.  Some of these ideas are highlighted with post-it notes that accompany a couple of architectural digest magazines that Jeff takes the time to review and ship all the way cross county to me.  Sweet.

SITE: Of course, we haven’t really identified a site for this home.  Neither of us owns any land yet.  Number one mistake! Since a passive solar home depends so directly on its orientation for heating and cooling features.  So, in my mind, it’s in North Carolina because that’s where he is.  But I plan to retire to Northern Michigan, so in the back of my mind, it’s there too.  So, this is yet to be determined.  : )

DESIGN PROCESS:  More than thirty years in design have taught me a little bit about my own process of designing something.  Typically, I start by working with words and images to find the context for the project.  I bought a new little sketchbook for this project.  Of course.  It’s small enough to take everywhere because you want to think about your design just about every day it seems.  I’ll write down word associations, write down things like: “What does home represent to me?”  “What does home mean on a neighborhood level, to family, to friends, to posterity, to time and place….”  Pretty much the goal is to unearth, the ‘philosophy of home’ as Alexis see’s it.  I had just barely started this part of the work when…

I am driving one Saturday down to Eugene, OR where my sons were living at the time.  This is a somewhat grueling drive – consider that I HATE highway driving, especially I-5 through the flat, flat Willamette Valley.  Sure there are hills, mountains, orchards, vineyards around…but the road is mind numbingly flat.  [I did this 2-hr drive often last year because Hayes was playing rugby, and there were matches to attend on a weekly basis it seemed.  Hayes is son number 3, soon to start at the University of Portland.  If he plays rugby in Portland, and I hope he will, it will be a lot easier to get to his matches]  Sorry for the sideroad here, but this is meant to be a chatty blog about architecture.  It’s life….

So one trip down to Eugene, this idea for the home comes straight to mind….it unfolds like someone is handing me the plans.  Ideas are streaming in to my thought.  Features, like a forecourt with an asphalt surface covering water tubes to heat the reflecting/lap pool….how about that?  Jeff is also the tennis coach, so this court would have a wall to hit balls against.  [Maybe my swing will improve too?  Or, is that just a golf term???]

It’s all mental.  I can’t sketch while driving…I may read while driving occasionally [shhhhh].  So it is showing up as complete mental images.  This is a first for me because usually the pencil has to be in my hand for my thought to engage fully.  Very cool experience driving down I-5 that day.  Hayes’ team won too, barely.

I did a sketch once I got to a good place to draw…just in case the idea flew away as quickly as it flew in…

This idea, call it, Solar Home FMJ, is really wonderful.  It has a lot of uniqueness to it.  But I think perhaps I have said enough for now…more to follow, and I promise to include more graphics as well.  Number 2 son, Ian, has left his large laptop for me to use and I am learning to work in 3-d graphics on his Rhinoceros program.  Ian is a product design major at the University of Oregon.  I know CAD to a pretty decent degree, but want to study up on my Revitt and Rhino skills.

Although I have to say, I really prefer working on my hand sketches of various rooms within this house.  I have been visualizing how one moves through the space and that of course brings to mind more detailed features.  I also scored a bunch of foam-core board from a frame shop in the Pearl that was recycling them, so I hope to complete a study model in the next week or so and include photos of that as well. 

The main thing to me, is to make this a house of light— a place where the outdoor magic of the sun moving across the face of the planet spills into the house and onto the rough cut surface of my new harvest table.

Now, to finish unpacking – did I mention I just moved in here two weeks ago? And have to clean and cook ’cause I am having Fran and Milt, Brice’s folks over for brunch after church.  [Salad with grilled chicken breast [for them, I am the vegan] and goat cheese rounds and blackberries.]  Did I mention yet, that I need lots of counter space and outlets for uncooking in my dream house…as my mostly raw food diet continues.  That will have to be another blog- unless I decide to post a recipe now and again…hummm.

Hello world!

Welcome to This is my first post.  I am blogging about architecture, solar energy, design ideas, great new things!

%d bloggers like this: