The Trace – Building a Neighborhood

My updating has not kept up with the progress on The Trace. This is the 28-house Habitat for Humanity neighborhood that Kristen, Sam, Nadene, and I worked on from August through November of last year. Thanks to the effort Habitat has put in over the last nine months, the neighborhood is nearly complete. All it needs is some landscaping work and, of course, people! The certificates of occupancy have been delayed while Habitat waits for the City of Long Beach to approve the neighborhood plat, so nobody has moved in yet, but twelve families have already been selected for houses …

Going to Dallas

Jody, James, Nadene and I will be piling into Dora the Explorer today bound for Dallas, along with the rest of the GCCDS, for the Structures for Inclusion conference. We stop over tonight at the Blue Moon Guesthouse in Lafayette, Louisiana. This is always a great conference and this weekend should be very interesting.

A House for Carmen, 3

Carmen’s house has made immense progress in the past week. Two groups are currently working on it; Christian Aid Ministries, the group that framed the house, is currently building the ramp and finishing the siding and exterior, while Hope Force is sheetrocking the interior at a rapid pace. They expect to be painting the interior and exterior by next week.

Barry Schwartz on our loss of wisdom | TED.com

Barry Schwartz’s 2009 TED speech ties in with many of the discussions we have been having here at the GCCDS about values, ethics, service, and leadership. – – – About this talk Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for “practical wisdom” as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world. About Barry Schwartz Barry Schwartz studies the link between economics and psychology, offering startling insights into modern life. Lately, working with Ken Sharpe, he’s studying wisdom. Watch the video …

A Tale of Two Houses

Here’s a look at my two active house projects, one under construction and the other in the early design phase. The first, Carmen’s house, has finally been started by a wonderful volunteer group called Christian Aid Ministries. Their construction team has made quick progress; since the piles were driven about two weeks ago, they have already framed the floor, walls, and most of the roof. Carmen and her husband are thrilled to see their house going up after many months of delays.

Structures for Inclusion 9

SFI 9: GENERATE.ACTIVATE.MAINTAIN March 20-22, 2009 | Dallas, TX Announcing the 9th annual Structures for Inclusion (SFI) conference, presented by DESIGN CORPS, the buildingcommunity WORKSHOP and Texas Schools of Architecture. Entitled “GENERATE.ACTIVATE.MAINTAIN”, SFI 9 explores the process of community-based practice and, ultimately, how you insert yourself into the cycle of thought and action. Saturday’s panels explore the breadth of issues which community-based projects begin to address, the means through which to expand our knowledge and skills, and the environments within which we might continue to expand those skills. In addition to small-scale discussions following each of the panels, the conference …

Seminar #4: Design, ethics, and the naturalistic fallacy

Read more posts about architecture in Archispeak. [See the archive]. A wonderful thing about the Spring studio we have here is a weekly seminar in which the students (a mixed group from MSU, UT, and BAC) and many of the GCCDS staff talk about architecture. This year, we’re also carrying into the seminar some ideas from our conversations about values. The discussion is built around readings from this book: Thomas Fisher is dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, and in this book, he asks us to imagine a future in which the assumptions that our …

Sketchbook: 500 SF Houses

This week, I decided to try something fun as a way to practice my sketching and rendering. I decided to make some tiny, unusual houses that might be found tucked away in some corner of the world. These are my first three sketches, done in pencil, watercolor pencil, and pen: Light House: Hillside House: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was …

Dec. 2-6 Building at The Trace

Edit [12/26/08]: See these photos and more at my Flickr page. The main (only?) advantage of unemployment being the ability to do whatever you like, I spent last week building at The Trace. I worked on a 3-bedroom house called the Cypress. Thanks to the leadership of construction supervisors Bryce and Austin, an enthusiastic college group from Ohio, and a mix of other volunteers, we started from a slab and raised the walls, built the porch, and set about half of the roof trusses within the week. Here’s the Ohio group: The project is moving quickly. In the past 4-6 …