by Maggie Flickinger
Barrett Studio architects is proud to have been named “Best of Houzz 2013.” This honor goes to professionals with project images most often added to Houzzer’s Ideabooks. Since we first uploaded a few images six months ago, we’ve added more and more, and now our images have been added to over 10,000 Ideabooks!
Houzz is an amazing visual resource, with over a million photos of quality architectural & interior design spaces from all over the world. Feel free to browse our images below, and you can get even more involved by clicking through and asking us – or other designers – questions about their photos! Even though it sometimes means playing detective and digging through our archives, we really enjoy being connected with design enthusiasts this way…feel free to use us as an information resource, and we’ll do our best to find answers / solutions for you!
by Maggie Flickinger
Lush and radiant, Pantone’s Color of the Year, Emerald Green, is energizing but sophisticated. Deeply connected to nature, Emerald is a powerfully saturated accent color that manages to be vibrant, yet deep. It looks smashing with greys & blacks for drama, or with stark whites for sleek elegance - it’s a natural for any architect’s palette! If bright on bright on bright is your theme, pair Emerald Green with Dandelion and Turquoise for an exuberant jolt of summer. Here are a few emerald green faves making the rounds at our studio…
Dramatic Emerald Green Soapstone could easily take center stage in a modern kitchen, with understated blonde cabinetry, a crisp white backsplash, and neutral grey or white flooring. The movement in the stone’s surface could seem dated, but when balanced by clean detailing and larger field tiles, this colorpop countertop exudes contemporary luxury. Functionality doesn’t take a backseat: soapstone features excellent heat, and acid-resistance. Quarried in Brazil & offered in Colorado through Arizona Tile, sustainability points are higher than European or Asian quarried natural stones.
Classic form paired with innovative materials is a foolproof formula, and one taken advantage of in the Produzione Privata Acquamiki Lamp. Designed by renowned Italian architect Michele de Lucchi, the lamp juxtaposes a sumptuously curvaceous silhouette with delicate mouth-blown Murano glass, tinted with a hint of emerald. Illuminate the Acquamiki with a vintage-style filament bulb for a retro look, or with a high-tech LED bulb for energy savings and modern flair.
Hand thrown ceramic sinks lend an artisanal touch to the bathroom – reinforcing the art and ritual of bathing and ablution. Michael & Nancy Linsley helm Linsley Studios, bringing their unique aesthetic and years of experience to architectural ceramics. This particular matte finish sink features a double cascade and a fluid intermingling of vibrant greens and blues, reminiscent of tropical waterfalls. Inset in a glossy black granite countertop, the colors become even more striking. Click here for more on the Linsley’s home & studio.
Are you a color virgin who longs to bring in color but hesitates when it comes to permanent pops? The Bow Bin wastebasket brings in a modest amount of emerald green, making it the perfect accent for the color adverse. Its generous proportions means it could do double duty as a laundry collector or toy bin – this beauty shouldn’t be hidden in the mudroom! Storage with a social conscience, the Bow Bin is made by the indigenous Aeta people, preserving traditional rattan weaving techniques, and benefiting the people through the NGO Preda.
by Maggie Flickinger
If you’re tapped into the Conscious Living community, you’ve heard of cottage living, microhousing, and the tiny house movement – driving square footages down and eco cred up. But how low can you go? Of course, you wouldn’t want to make any horrifyingly planet-killing mistakes like using unreclaimed nails, but otherwise, this intrepid new homeowner from Portland has our nano-living stamp of approval.
Well, now that we’ve seen this shining example, we’re embarrassed that the smallest homes we’ve designed clock in at just around 1,000 square feet. Always up for a challenge, Barrett Studio is now exploring space and energy saving solutions for our clients such as:
- A living moss wall Murphy bed does double duty purifying your air and softening your sleep!
- Install Kinetic Power Harnessing Treadmills for your pets: They run all day so your electric meter doesn’t!
- The “Vertebrae:” a swiss army knife bathroom!
- Invest in a pair of binoculars and scrap your space & energy hogging flat screen TV – we bet your neighbors have cable!
- Why waste all that counter space while you’re sleeping? Grab an Ostrich pillow to turn your kitchen into a bedroom!
- Aggressive scheduling of your kids’ sleepovers eliminates the need for bedrooms at your house!
And the ultimate idea from David Barrett himself: Net Zero energy = Net Zero Square Footage: Socially acceptable couch surfing means you stay with friends and family eschewing a home all together.
Funnily Yours in Commitment to Our Planet,
The Barrett Studio Gang
David’s 35-year practice, rooted in deep listening to both people and our ecology, has been recognized with his being named as a 2013 inductee into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. Less than 4% of AIA members hold this distinguished honor, one of the highest of the profession.
Fellowship honors architects who have not only achieved a standard of excellence in the profession individually, but who also have made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level. While assembling the submission package, David had the opportunity to reflect on the past 35 years of his career, and what he’s passionate about moving forward. Two patterns arose: design for people – a keen interest in humanism that is sometimes professionally devalued in favor of “capital-A” architecture – and a deeply flowing biophilia paired with ecological patterning as a design tool.
David’s practice has revolved around embodying the architect as approachable collaborator and provocateur, bringing playfulness to the process and meaning to the results. Through projects as diverse as the Holiday Urban Neighborhood and the Twin Buttes Ecovillage, the Dushanbe Friendship Center, the Eagle Rock School, and myriad green homes, David has spread his strong belief that we can sustain a healthy planet by listening to her cues.
Energizing alignments with like-minded builders, landscape architects, engineers, and visionary clients deserve recognition also – it takes a village!
Following the honor of being named a Fellow, David looks forward to continuing this bright path of bringing people into experiences of natural wonder through the built environment.
The design publication Western Art & Architecture has profiled David Barrett as “One to Watch” in their Illuminations section. Featuring Barrett Studio’s Home on the Range – which graces the magazine’s cover as well – David’s work is described as “at once striking, beautiful, and humble.”
David speaks to his philosophy of “architecture as relationship: between structure & earth, client & architect, materials & space, and even time. For David, architecture is not about the way something looks, but rather how it came to be and how it continues to unfold.“
For the complete article, head to Western Art & Architecture’s website, or pick up a copy on newsstands through November.
by Maggie Flickinger
Amidst a set of sizzling summer days, the Colorado Green Building Guild Green Playhouse auction was a welcome relief with cooler temps and even a brief afternoon shower. All the better for spending the afternoon outside, admiring the green playhouses and chatting with the architect + builder teams.
It was amazing to see our team’s contribution – the WonkyPlay – in action! BW Construction did a phenomenal job bringing David’s concept sketch to life. Kids stooped low under the top half of the dutch door, clambered up and down through the windows, and whooshed out the back via the slide. The also admired the hand painted gecko on the door, and were curious about the rain chains and covered garden. A few of them even found the secret “Hidey Hole” and fun stuff inside. Parents asked lots of questions about the bright green upcycled carpet tubes that made up the upper half of WonkyPlay’s walls.
Our team was thrilled when WonkyPlay secured the highest bid in the live auction! In the “People’s Choice” round, whoever bid the highest got to pick whichever playhouse they wanted: after a feverish bidding war, the victor, Grandma Linda chose WonkyPlay! She wanted WonkyPlay to bring hours of fun to her grandchildren, and her daughter & son-in-law had just bought a home with a great yard in Niwot. It was truly a special moment to see all of our work and love being rewarded by the huge smiles on the winning family’s faces!
But WonkyPlay certainly wasn’t alone in this adventure. Many other playhouses from local architect + builder teams kept everyone entertained throughout the afternoon. From charred trees to reusable shopping bags woven together with thrift store belts, the creative material use was inspiring. Each playhouse was auctioned off to a loving family, raising over $12,000 total for the Growing Gardens.
We so appreciated being a part of this incredible community effort along with so many other talented folks from the Boulder area. And…our cogs are definitely spinning, devising more child-geared fun for next year!
by Maggie Flickinger
What happens when 19 architect + builder teams are charged with creating green playhouses to benefit a local non-profit? That’s just what the Colorado Green Building Guild’s Green Playhouse Design Competition – and our team, Barrett Studio architects & BW Construction – aims to find out.
David’s design for the WonkyPlay House is simple and fun – designed with kids in mind – while bringing in a host of reclaimed and upcycled materials. Discarded carpet tubes stand in for logs in this updated “cabin.” Kids can go through the front door, peek up at the sky through the periscope, jump out the window (via a rope ladder!) or whiz down the slide, encouraging active play. A starter garden patch hugs the side of the playhouse to allow these little green thumbs to grow!
Our friends Donna & Randy, of BW Construction, diligently scalvaged – scavenged + salvaged, Randy’s term – across the city of Boulder to bring David’s design sketch to life! Generous donations of time and materials from local businesses and neighbors helped to make it all possible. In the long run, 99.5%* of the playhouse is recycled, reused, or upcycled! *Okay, we did end up buying 2 gallons of paint. This photo is the playhouse coming down the home stretch of construction.
Join us at the Hawthorn Community Garden’s outpost of Growing Gardens on Saturday, June 14th from 3-6 pm as our finished WonkyPlay House, and the other 18 playhouses are auctioned off! You can bid of course, or just stop by to get some ideas for your own special Green Playhouse. Even better, like Colorado Green Building Guild’s Green Playhouse Facebook Page for a chance to win one of the playhouses on Saturday!
by Maggie Flickinger
Factory Made celebrated their official opening just down the street from our studio last Friday. Purveyors of locally produced modern / artsy furniture, home goods, and jewelry, the shop also boasts “factory” space for woodworking, pottery throwing, digital media, and clothes making. For now, their website is actually a Tumblr feed, so online shopping isn’t an option. However, if you’re in the neighborhood, head into the shop for a healthy dose of inspiration – and maybe something new and handmade for your home! Welcome to the neighborhood!
In less temperate climes, building sustainably often revolves around the heating / cooling conundrum. In Japan, where many homes lack central heating, the priority shifts from heating the space to heating the person inhabiting the space. Enter the Kotatsu, an ingenious low table with integrated efficient electric heater. The thick overhanging blanket traps the heat, keeping those sitting on cushions or legless chairs around the kotatsu nice and cozy. Working, eating, and socializing can all occur at the kotatsu, making it somewhat akin to the ancient concept of “hearth as heart.”
Terra Cotta floor tile is warm underfoot and effective as a passive solar thermal sink, 100% organic & natural in makeup, highly water resistant, and its handcrafted living finish patinas over time. However, the traditionally florid ochre and orange colorways are often at odds with modern homes. Not so with Allicante black terra cotta floor tiles, available in a variety of sizes and naturally colored with dark earth. If they weren’t manufactured in Spain – greatly expanding their carbon footprint – these modern interpretations of a traditional tile would be even higher on our wish list.
David Trubridge, an English designer who has made New Zealand his home for the past 20 years, creates kinetically evocative lighting and furniture with cultural underpinnings and DIY appeal. The “Free Design” section on his website offers designs for lighting and a birdfeeder that you can make yourself out of scrap paper or other easy to find materials. Test your origami skills with the birdfeeder and create a warm welcome back to our feathered friends as spring approaches!
by David Barrett, AIA
The idea that design can be a part of the healing process has been termed “restorative” or “regenerative” design. The cycle of life, death, and rebirth is one that nature models for us in homeostasis, and cultures celebrate in seasonal rituals that remind us of the spiritual message found in impermanence and even of death itself. When the Four Mile Fire raged through the foothills west of Boulder last Labor Day, 6,000 acres of mountain landscape were suddenly and drastically transformed. In its wake, 169 homes were destroyed and those who had lived in them were left with the challenge of reconstructing their lives, their dreams, their homes, and the precious landscapes they had inhabited.
Over this past year, as Architects, we have been invited into four projects that are engaged in this process. With each, we have the opportunity to touch the essence of restorative design in both human and ecological terms. This is Part Three of a four-part series, wherein we’ll be sharing the story of each of these homes, families, and individuals: their experience, the co-creative process, and the unfolding of the built form as a tool for creating positive energy, opportunity, and with it, a quality of healing.
Andi O’Conor knows the loss that fire can bring. Her family home burned to the ground when Andi was just a girl. Then, decades later, she lost her home again as the Four Mile Fire swept through the foothills outside of Boulder.
For Andi, the rebuilding process contains the seeds for re-creation. As a gifted writer, speech coach, and professor, she has turned this experience of loss into an opportunity to explore the internal world of such devastation.
In her blog, “Burning Down the House: Essays on the Poetry of Loss” she has made accessible her feelings and lessons, and she has also created a forum for others to share how loss, in its many parallel forms, can be confronted, deeply felt, and eventually utilized for creation. The blog has become so noteworthy that it has been featured in the New York Times and was recognized as the Westword Best Personal Blog of 2010. Fostering community is just one aspect of Andi’s ability to bring together a concert of connection, as her gatherings to ritualize and celebrate new beginnings on the site of her former home can attest. The groundbreaking of her new home both blessed the land that will soon be home again, and also served to bring new friends together in a spirit of thanks and excitement.
Pushing Today’s Solar Technology & Architecture
Built in 1976, the house Andi lost in the Four Mile Fire was an early interpretation of passive solar design. Sited to take in the abundant sun and views, it was at times hard to control temperature fluctuations representative of these first generation solar homes. With a commitment to raising the bar on energy responsive, sustainable design, Andi asked us at Barrett Studio to help her once again bring forth the connection to the natural setting that she has so loved, but to also take advantage of lessons we’ve learned over the past 30 years of approaching net-zero-energy home design.
With ongoing council from mutual friends and long-term solar advocate Maureen McIntyre, we have conceived of a long, thin house that stretches east-west to capture both views and the sun. To balance dramatic diurnal temperature swings that are part of high country living, the home will have significant thermal mass, high insulation, and deep overhangs for sun control.
The central living space is a gabled volume that unites living, dining, kitchen, and music: a social center for Andi and friends. This space, reminiscent of a country cabin, spills out to a large, elevated deck that radiates out to the distant views from the plains and Bear Mountain to the east to Sugarloaf to the west. This social space is flanked with bedrooms at opposite ends.
One of the most effective decisions that Andi made in her conservation ethic was, simply, “Build less space, of quality!” This response is often the missing piece as we try to change the home building paradigm. With a new energy efficient home that “lives large,” Andi can feel comfortable sitting by a fire, at home with her trusty dog, Nellie, or in an exuberant celebration with her extended family of friends.
Aging in Place
Another driving force that informed Andi’s home is the concept of “aging in place.” More than ever, the concept of having our homes designed in a way that allows an ease of access and flow – as our bodies perhaps become less nimble – becomes a forethought, rather than an afterthought. In the case of Andi’s home, the house is a single story with wide openings and easy access halls. Bathrooms are generous and curbless. A bedroom anchors each end of the home, allowing for live-in care if eventually needed while preserving a sense of privacy and easy access to the commons. With low maintenance materials and extreme energy efficiency, she can sail her little mountain boat into whatever her future holds!
In her blog, Andi writes, ” When I move in, I will have a gorgeous, energy-efficient house to live in, for the rest of my life….A house I can live in, gracefully, as I age. A house that is run by the power of the sun, and that is filled with the love of friends, who will sit on the big, curved deck and dream their own dreams – of houses, and oceans, and pirate treasure, buried deep. A house to die in – a house to live in..”
In the end, it is how we react and learn from our experiences. Andi O’Conor is a model of resiliency and optimism. These are lessons we can all take to heart as we create the future.
Join us soon for the conclusion of the series in Part Four.
by Maggie Flickinger
Going on now and running through Saturday, Yale School of Architecture is holding an intriguing symposium titled, “Is Drawing Dead?” While the architectural profession was established with hand drawing as a foundation for communicating design ideas, today many architects rarely put pen to paper. In the face of rapid progression and adoption of digital drafting, modeling, and rendering tools, hand crafted mapping of space, volume, and scale has been relegated to a romantic anachronism – or at worst, obsolete. Yet, as rumblings of a post-digital age foment, a return to the hand’s value is spreading: as slow food gains traction, why not slow architecture?
At our studio, trays of jumbled colored pencils and a veritable riot of Prismacolors lie beside our computer keyboards and mouses. Sheets of trace paper crumple and layer, building a tangible memory of design evolution. Microns, Maylines, charcoal, Sharpies, Sign Pens, and even the humble #2: these are tools of our trade. In a studio that encourages drawing, it remains an indefatigable tool for quick communication, conveyance of emotion, and evocation of experience. One reason for this is that drawing is simply common. Each and every person in the world, regardless of training, knows the capability of picking up a pencil and making an idea known. When an architect presents ideas in hand drawings, the communication tool is commonly held: inherently relatable, approachable, and understandable to all. When an architect presents ideas in digital renderings, that common ground is lost. The tool itself is precious, and at times intimidating.
As we move through a design, we inevitably transition to the digital realm and see value there for technical drawings and interprofessional communication. Prior to that, the value of the hand lies across the spectrum of process.
Below, each studio member shares one of their hand drawings, along with musings on why hand drawing is – assuredly and decidedly – not dead.
by Maggie Flickinger
While salvaged railroad tie furniture is on the verge of feeling trite, Railyard Studios prove that there still exists opportunity for ingenuity. Their simple Cafe Stool employs both the unadorned mass of a solid white oak mainline tie and an industrial section of rail, which functions as a footrest. Rail Yard Studio’s commitment to source, design, and craft their pieces in the US isn’t just lip service – founded by a railroad maintenance tech, these gents are honestly close to their source material.
Biomimetic design solutions are more accessible than ever with the launch of Asknature.org. Billed as a wiki-style compendium of Biomimicry Taxonomy, the site will serve to cross-pollinate technical biology and beautiful design. One example is the Thorny Devil’s capillary-spurred circulatory cutaneous system, which enables it to collect and convey water to its mouth. Envisioning engineered rooftop runnels that channel rainwater using this natural inspiration is just one small example of nature leading environmentally sensitive design.
Many cyclists think of their bike as a work of art, to be enjoyed and appreciated as such. Now, Knife & Saw’s Bike Shelf ends the days of relegating the bike to the garage and enters it into that realm of artistic display. Crafted by hand and endlessly customisable (for those of you with super wide cruiser handlebars, don’t worry, he’s got you covered too), the Bike Shelf is functional too: just toss the day’s mail above. I can’t help but think that a small, well-designed hook on the shelf’s underside would be a functional addition – we need somewhere to hang our equally artful helmets, no?
Artist and mathematician Nikki Graziano’s Found Functions series beautifully marries complex mathematical formulas with natural form, from sand dunes to clouds, trees to mountains. I’m always partial to the artistic merging of nature and science, since this is an inherent relationship, but is rarely visualized. The overt pairing of the two is both beautiful to behold and an inspiring reminder of the potentials of design influence by omnipresent natural order.
by Maggie Flickinger
In late March, the Barrett Studio master-planned Twin Buttes Ecovillage received unanimous Final Plan approval from the Durango City Council. This marks the culmination of a four year approval process, the finalization of the property’s annexation into the City, and the official dedication of 290 acres of open space from the land owners to the City and People of Durango. This open space includes much of the upper reaches of the property, including the iconic Buttes themselves. From the beginning, we knew this wasn’t development as usual. We were thrilled to partner with a land owner active in the land preservation community, a developer with a wild-west meets zen attitude who had recently fallen hard for sustainable living, and a prescient Planning Director interested in smart growth. Our hallmark process of listening to the land resulted in multiple on-site charrettes and site walks, as well as sophisticated GIS layering maps. Ultimately, the developer himself has taken up residence at the future site of the Artisan Core, directing the nascent Twin Buttes Farms and Ranch from his home.
With approvals in hand, what are the next steps for this new Durango community?
The solar gas station recently opened at the Twin Buttes Eastern Entrance on Highway 160. Industry leading sustainability features result in 45% less energy consumption than neighboring stations, daylighting creates an inviting interior environment, the organic exterior materials palette feature wood & stone from the site, and innovative water treatment recycles 70% of the water used in car washes. The store’s features were recently profiled in the Durango Herald.
by Maggie Flickinger
Last week Nicole Delmage, Barrett Studio associate, was elected to serve on the Board of the Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center. She’s been building her relationship with Wild Bear for the past five years, first acting as Project Manager designing a state-of-the-art Nature Center at their property at Mud Lake (rendering below), then volunteering design time for their new downtown Nederland Headquarters.
Of her involvement with Wild Bear, Nicole says, “Since living and working here in Colorado I have fallen in love with the high alpine region that is the focus of Wild Bear’s programs. Combined with an ongoing relationship and a growing connection with the people and mission, Wild Bear is a perfect venue for me to impact my community.”