POWERPORCH_1 is designed and being developed as an add-on shade canopy or entry porch as a covered extension to a home.  It can provide solar power, natural cooling and shade, as well as protect the structure from heat and glare.  Conceived as a structure that a homeowner can easily assemble on week-ends and without employing contractors, parts are quickly assembled using locally available and affordable materials purchased from Home Depot or similar home improvement centers.  Constructed of Unistrut and galvanized telescoping steel framing set into pre-cast concrete footings or simply attached to the adjacent building, the superstructure is bolted together like an Erector set for ease of assembly and dis-assembly.  Shade material, such as shade cloth or perforated metal sheets is then bolted on and solar panels attached, as required.  In addition, cost-effective evaporative cooling misting kits can be easily attached to the steel framing.

SHARD_1 is designed and being developed as a studio or gazebo for use as an accessory structure on an urban or suburban residential lot.  The structure is 120 SF and uses an 8’ modular layout in all dimensions in order to use and transport 8’ long framing and decking materials locally available at home improvement centers.  A light structure, shard_1 is both physically light as well as light-filled.  Using modular, galvanized telescoping tubing (used to support highway signs) that are bolted together and set into pre-cast or concrete Sonotubes,  standard 2x wood framing, Trex decking and sliding, light-weight 4’ x 8’ polycarbonate sheets a strong and lightweight structure can be quickly erected.  The sliding panels then act as windows to allow natural ventilation and open onto views, while bringing in natural daylight. Low-voltage, landscape lighting is affordable and exposed wiring easy to install onto the steel framework.

ISOCOOLKIT_1 is designed (copywrited) and being developed as a down-draft evaporative cool tower by retrofitting a 40’ ISO container that is set vertically.  Based on an ancient cooling technique developed in the middle-east over 2,000 years ago, the principle is based on simple physics and natural convection.  Air entering at the top of the tower flows through a water-saturated membrane and becoming heavier, falls to the bottom creating a smooth and silent flow of air through openings into adjacent outside or inside spaces.  There are no fans or motors and only enough electricity is required to move water to the top of the tower. The principal was investigated and tested at the University of Arizona during the 1980’s and proven to be most effective in areas with low humidity such as the Mojave Desert.

ARTISTCLUSTER_1 was designed and conceived as a kit-of-parts cluster of pre-fabricated steel components organized to create studio space for working artists in Joshua Tree, CA.  The building components consist of: (2) 20’ ISO containers for a cool-tower and an office, a powerporch shade canopy for shaded, outdoor work space, a recycled 30’ steel module from the Port of L.A. for artist studio space, a steel access culvert and a gravity fed water storage tank.  Earth berms are pushed into place to provide natural cooling for the container office module and to bury the earth-cooling tubes, as well as block the wind and protect the outdoor work spaces.

JTECH_1 is being developed by ecotechr+d as a way to use 20’ ISO containers organized in clusters to provide low-cost, flexible and attractive office space for lease.  Multiple 20’ units are connected at nodes, which then become covered entries or outdoor sitting areas.  In addition they provide natural daylight and ventilation to the office modules.  Containers are covered with a hard or soft shade canopy, depending on budget constraints.  For example, a steel framing and perforated metal shade canopy, similar to that used in the hybridhouse can be bolted onto the container or a perforated fabric, such as Sunbrella can be stretched over the steel surfaces and can easily be removed, cleaned and replaced.

ECOEXPO_1 was a prototype environmental house developed for the Eco-Expo Exposition at the L.A. Convention Center during the 1990’s.  The design constraints were budget and time.  The budget was $10,000. and the house had to be erected in 24 hours on the convention floor.  In addition, it needed to incorporate many environmental features including:

  • carport with a solar p.v. panel array.
  • evaporative downdraft cooling tower.
  • radiant floor heating and gas stove.
  • fire-proof structural panel system.
  • low-voltage appliances.
  • water-saving plumbing fixtures.
  • non-toxic paints, materials, finishes and furnishings.
  • drip irrigation and drought tolerant, edible plant material.
  • straw-bale garden wall.

A home office was incorporated into the design program to demonstrate the cost and energy savings of living and working at home.  In order to contain construction costs and expedite erection, 8’ modular SIPS insulated roof, wall and floor panels, the cool tower assembly, as well as a complete kitchen and bathroom were fabricated in Oakland and shipped by truck overnight to the convention center.  Strawbale walls were built on-site and passed a fire test conducted by an L.A. fire official on the convention floor.

After the convention the City of Pasadena purchased the house for use as a demonstration and educational facility for the Pasadena school system. It was dis-assembled and re-installed on an urban parcel near the downtown light-rail station.  The Environmental House, as it was known as, was featured on Good Morning America, the L.A. Times and many publications.